April 25, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. - University of New Mexico junior Kim Perkins clocked an NCAA regional qualifying time of 59.88 in the 400-meter hurdles to lead a strong effort by the Lobos on day one of Cal's Brutus Hamilton Invitational meet yesterday. Senior Anthony Fairbanks had the top performance in the field, extending his Mountain West Conference lead in the javelin with a throw of 218' 4" (66.54m).
Perkins was the story of the day, however, as she finished second in the 400 hurdles and became the first woman in school history to advance to the regional championships in the event. New Mexico now has a program record 16 athletes qualified for the regional meet - already three more than last year's record-tying total.
The Clovis, N.M. product cut a remarkable 1.51 seconds off her previous best in the hurdles and clocked the third-fastest time in UNM history. It was the fastest time by a Lobo since 1986.
Fairbanks, meanwhile, added another two feet to his season-best and regional qualifying mark in the javelin in a second place finish.
Elsewhere, senior transfer Laura Bowerman ran her fastest 5,000m since 2005 with a time of 16:52.16 (3rd). Bowerman was just 0.16 seconds off the NCAA regional qualifying standard as she became the eighth woman in UNM history to run under 17 minutes in the event.
Redshirt freshman Alex Darling jumped into third on the Lobos' all-time performers list in the 3,000 steeplechase with a time of 11:06.09 (2nd) in her debut in the event. Senior teammates Stasia Ploskonka ran a career-best 11:13.96 (4th all-time) to finish third in the event.
One of the most surprising performance of the day came from junior Kelly Fortner, who smashed her previous best in the pole vault by over a foot with a jump of 11' 7 ¾" (3.55m) to finish tied for third in the section B competition. Fortner's effort moved her up to seventh on the UNM all-time performers list.
Other Friday highlights included:
-Sophomore Brock Hagerman's career-best time of 14:31.95 in the 5,000 (3rd)
-Junior Brian Vallie's victory in the section B 800 meters with a season-best time of 1:52.96
-Freshman Chad Clark's team-leading time of 53.76 in the 400 hurdles (7th)