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Lobos Hit The Road For First and Only Time This Winter
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/02/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 2, 2006

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Husker\ Invitational\ Heat\ Sheets\ \(Friday\)

Husker\ Invitational\ Heat\ Sheets\ \(Saturday\)

UPCOMING

After an unprecedented five-meet homestand to open the 2006 indoor season, the University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field teams travel to Nebraska for the 31st annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational (Feb. 3-4) at the Devaney Center Indoor Track in Lincoln. The Husker Invitational is the first and only regular season road meet currently on the Lobos' indoor schedule. UNM competed on the road every week of the indoor season for 18 straight years before the City of Albuquerque purchased and installed its state-of-the-art indoor track facility at the downtown Convention Center.

THE HUSKER INVITATIONAL AT A GLANCE

Meet Information/Results: Complete meet information and results from the 31st Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational will be available on the men's and women's track & field page on www.huskers.com.

Schedule: The meet gets underway on Friday, Feb. 3 with the first event of the women's pentathlon at 11 a.m. (MST), followed by the men's heptatlon at 11:25. The long jump, weight throw, 5,000m run and prelims for the 60, 200, 400, and 60m hurdles will also be held on Friday evening, beginning at 5 p.m. The heptathlon and field events resume on Saturday at 9 a.m., followed by the rest of the running events at 12:15 p.m. The meet should wrap up by 5:45.

Teams Competing: Abilene Christian, Drake, East Carolina, Iowa (W), Johnson County, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri Kansas City, North Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Stanford, UTEP, Wichita State, Wyoming.

Lobos' Last Time: New Mexico is making its first trip to Lincoln since the 2003 season when the team competed in the Husker Invitational indoors and again outdoors at the first NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet.

ALL-COMER MEET ENTRY DEADLINES

Green Chile All-Comers
February 12, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 7, 2006
Only selected events will be contested.

First to Finish High School Invitational* February 18, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 10, 2006
All events contested.
*HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES ONLY

Entry fees are $10 per athlete per event.
All entries will be handled through www.directathletics.com. Please review the above entry deadlines for the meets that you wish to enter. Late entries will not be accepted. All entry deadlines will also be available on the Direct Athletics website. If you do not have a password and account with Direct Athletics, one will be provided to you when you begin the registration process. Please review your entries for accuracy.
**Important: It will take a day to get a new password and account set up--Do not wait until the deadline to set up your account!

MACKEL SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS

After enjoying a breakthrough year in 2005, senior Derek Mackel has established himself as one of the best pole vaulters in America this winter. Currently ranked No. 4 in the event by Trackwire.com, Mackel has cleared 17 feet in each of his three meets this year, including a lifetime best of 17-11.00 to tie top-ranked Robison Pratt of BYU at the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational (Jan. 21). The Albuquerque Sandia HS product owns the second-best mark in UNM history and is No. 3 on the NCAA qualifying list. On Jan. 24 he became the second Lobo ever and first since 2002 to be named Mountain West Conference Men's Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week.

The fifth-year senior has improved by more than five feet in the pole vault since joining the program as an unrecruited walk-on in 2001-02 and will likely become the first UNM men's vaulter to compete at the NCAA Championships since All-American Simon Arkell in 1991. Mackel also has his sights fixed on Arkell's 15-year-old indoor record of 18-01.50. He has attempted the height each of the last two weeks, just missing on Jan. 28 en route to a victory in the New Mexico Invitational.

TRACKWIRE NATIONAL "DANDY DOZEN" MEN'S POLE VAULT LIST
1. Robbie Pratt (BYU)
2. Tommy Skipper (Oregon)
3. John Russell (Akron)
4. Derek Mackel (New Mexico)
5. Brian Mondschein (Virginia Tech)
6. Keith Highman (Pittsburgh)
7. Chip Heuser (Oklahoma)
8. Tyson Byers (Washington State)
9. McKane Lee (Washington)
10. Mitch Greeley (Clemson)
11. Gabe Baldwin (Nebraska)
12. Andre Poljanec (Northern Iowa)

THE VAUNTED VAULTERS

Sixth-year assistant coach Scott Steffan has established one of the premier men's and women's pole vaulting programs in the nation at New Mexico. A former teammate of three-time All-American and school record holder Simon Arkell, Steffan rebuilt the vault crew from the ground up after returning to Albuquerque. Under his watch, New Mexico pole vaulters have earned all-MWC honors five times since 2003 and have had at least three athletes qualify for the NCAA Regional meet each of the past three years. Since 2002, UNM has boasted seven 16-foot vaulters on the men's side, including three that have cleared 17 feet. Four women have surpassed the 12 foot mark, including two over 13 feet. Three have also been nationally ranked in the event by Trackwire.com

Led by fourth-ranked Derek Mackel, the Lobo vaulters are off to a quick start in 2006. Mackel, junior Robert Caldwell (17-02.75) and sophomore Whitney Johnson (12-11.50) all surpassed the NCAA provisional qualifying standard during the first month of the season, competing in the friendly confines of the Albuquerque Convention Center. Meanwhile, sophomore Zach Graham has recorded his collegiate-best (16-02.75) and junior Stefany Setliff has cleared 11-06.00 in her first year of vaulting.

The group also maintains its own website for pole vaulting in New Mexico: www.nmpv.com

ALL-CONFERENCE CANDIDATES

The annual all-Mountain West Conference team is comprised of the top-3 finishers in each event at the MWC Championships meet. Since Matt Henry took over the track & field program in 2001, UNM athletes have earned all-MWC honors 90 times. The following are the athletes currently ranked among the league's top-3 in an indoor event:

WOMEN:
Sr. Timmie Murphy - 3,000 (2nd - 9:50.30), RS-Fr. Tiyana Peters - High Jump (1st - 5-08.00), Fr. Khristina Curtis - High Jump (T3rd - 5-06.00), So. Whitney Johnson - Pole Vault (2nd - 12-11.50), Fr. Hagit Salamon - Triple Jump (3rd - 39-01.00), Fr. Sandy Fortner - Pentathlon (3rd - 3,403).

MEN:
RS-Fr. Joseph Garcia - 5,000 (3rd - 15:21.86), Sr. Derek Mackel - Pole Vault (2nd - 17-11.00), Jr. Robert Caldwell - Pole Vault (3rd - 17-02.75).

LAST MEET - UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO INVITATIONAL (JAN. 28)

The UNM pole vaulters continued to thrive in the friendly confines of the Albuquerque Convention Center as Derek Mackel and Whitney Johnson combined for a UNM sweep of the men's and women's events in the New Mexico Invitational. Mackel surpassed the NCAA provisional standard for the second straight week with a mark of 17-07.25 and Johnson had a provisional qualifying vault of 12-11.50 to lead a strong effort by the Lobos in a 13-team field that included the No. 15 Texas Tech men.

Other highlights for New Mexico included redshirt freshman Tiyana Peters who matched her lifetime best with a mark of 5-08.00 to finish third in the high jump. Peters' jump was the highest by a Lobo indoors during head coach Matt Henry's six years, eclipsing current event coach Keren Bentzur's 2003 mark. True freshman teammate Khristina Curtis placed fifth in the event with a jump of 5-06.00. In the horizontal jumps, freshman Hagit Salamon recorded the best triple jump mark by a Lobo in four years (39-01.00 - 5th) and the best long jump since 2003 (18-04.25 - 11th).

The UNM men and women had their best performances of the early season on the track as well. Senior Timmie Murphy led the effort in the distance events, placing a strong third in the women's 3,000. Murphy surged down the final four laps, passing Oral Roberts All-American Faithy Kamangila en route to a career-best time of 9:50.30 (altitude-adjusted). In the sprints, sophomore Jarrin Solomon smashed his personal record in the 400, winning his heat and placing fifth overall with a time of 49.02. Fellow sophomore Kristan Matison had career-best time of 25.25 to finish seventh in the 200 after matching her PR with an altitude adjusted time of 7.77 in the 60 (9th).

LAST MEET - ZIA CLASSIC MULTIS (JAN. 26-27)

Senior Dan Feltman recorded a career-best score of 4,612 to finish sixth in the men's heptathlon on a the final day of the Zia Classic Multis at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Meanwhile, in the women's pentathlon, freshman Sandy Fortner placed sixth (3,403) in her collegiate debut.

After missing virtually all of the 2005 indoor season due to injury, Feltman turned in a solid performance over the two-day heptathlon, setting or matching his indoor personal bests in the high jump, pole vault and 1,000-meter run. Fortner, a rookie out of Fort Sumner, N.M., displayed outstanding promise in her first pentathlon. Her 3,403 points were the most by a Lobo since current coach Keren Bentzur had 3,845 to win the 2003 Mountain West Conference title.

LOBO TRACK & FIELD ALUMNI CLUB

Championship track and field programs are not built overnight. They are constructed gradually, built upon a strong foundation of pride, tradition and a commitment to excellence. The University of New Mexico track and field program has built its legacy with the same championship formula.

Since 1930, New Mexico athletes have earned All-America honors 69 times, won 11 NCAA Championship events and claimed 197 conference events. Perhaps the most exceptional group of athletes ever to compete in any sport at UNM were on legendary coach Hugh Hackett's track and field teams of the 1960s.

A large group of Lobo legends from that era, including coach Hackett and former national champions Adolph Plummer and Art Baxter, reunited in Albuquerque on Jan. 20 for a memorable evening spent sharing memories and reaffirming a commitment to New Mexico track and field excellence. That night, reunion organizer Rene Matison, a two-time All-American at UNM, announced the founding of the Lobo Track and Field Alumni Club.

The Alumni Club seeks to unite all the men and women from the 1960s, `70s, `80s, `90s and even the 2000s who have been part of New Mexico's proud track and field history. Its goals include celebrating and preserving the program's proud tradition while helping current and future generations of Lobo track and field athletes establish a championship legacy of their own through facility and equipment upgrades and donations to the track and field scholarship fund.

For more information on the Lobo Track and Field Alumni Club, contact Rene Matison via email at rpmatison@msn.com.

THE NATION'S BEST COMPETE HERE

After just one month of competition, the indoor track and field facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center has already established itself as the best new venue in America. Twelve top-25 men's and women's teams, 47 nationally ranked athletes and six of the nation's top relay teams have competed in Albuquerque in 2006. Ten NCAA automatic qualifying marks and 56 provisional marks have been recorded in the Convention Center this year, including seven of the top marks in the country. One of the seven was set by Texas' Trey Hardee who established a collegiate record of 6,208 points in the heptathlon during the Zia Classic Multis competition last week. In addition, five of the best marks in NCAA Division II were established last week in Albuquerque by visiting Adams State, Colorado School of Mines and Western State College.

INDOOR TRACK AT THE ALBUQUERQUE CONVENTION CENTER

Good timing, a proactive city government and an irresistible sale all contributed to the return of indoor track and field to the Albuquerque after nearly a 20-year absence. During the spring of 2004 Albuquerque city leaders learned of a $1 million unused and undamaged indoor track sitting in storage in Canada that could be purchased for a mere $500,000. The state-of-the-art Mondo track had originally been ordered, then later declined, for use in the Los Angeles Staples Center arena.

The track finally found a home inside the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque and made its debut on Jan. 15, 2005 for the inaugural Albuquerque All-Comers meet. Nearly identical to the track used by the University of Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Track Center, Albuquerque's new indoor facility received rave reviews from athletes, coaches and fans. Like the Arkansas facility, which has been the site of every NCAA Indoor Championship meet since 2000, the city of Albuquerque now has an indoor track that will be a destination for some of the nation's premier events.

The new indoor track is a 200-meter, 60-degree banked oval that has 60m straightaways running the entire length of the facility. It also includes men's and women's jumping runways and pits, as well as an areas for shot put, pole vault and high jump events. The surface of the track is red and white Mondo.

In the 1960s and `70s Albuquerque was one of the nation's elite indoor track and field locations, drawing top professional and collegiate talent to compete in front of the large crowds at the annual Jaycee meets. The 1966 AAU Indoor Nationals (now known as the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships) drew a two-day total of nearly 20,000 fans to Tingley Coliseum and was featured on the March 14 cover of Sports Illustrated. Albuquerque officials were able to lure the meet away from its regular home at Madison Square Garden in New York City that year. In the new Albuquerque Convention Center facility, city leaders and track and field enthusiasts have a reason to stand up and cheer once again.

GOT WIRELESS???

The Albuquerque Convention Center has added free, wireless internet "Hot Zones". These "Hot Zones" are located in the Center's public lobby areas and allow attendees with wireless enabled devices to access the internet and internet based email at no charge. Some laptop computers may be able access the wireless signal from their seat trackside in the arena.

NEW MEXICO'S LOBOS

Thanks to the leadership of sixth-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the University of New Mexico boasts one of the most improved track and field programs in the country. Built upon a foundation of elite in-state talent with a blend of premier national and international competitors, the Lobos continue to reach new heights each year. Under Henry's tutelage UNM athletes have gone to the NCAA Championship meet four years in a row, earned three All-America awards, won 21 MWC event titles and claimed all-MWC honors 90 times since 2001.

The 2006 UNM men's and women's roster features 76 in-state products, including 39 from the Duke City. Thirty-one men and women are former New Mexico state track champions.

Thursday, April 17
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Mt. SAC Relays
Friday, April 18
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Bryan Clay Invitational
Saturday, April 19
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Long Beach State Invitational
Friday, April 25
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Brutus Hamilton Invitational
Friday, May 02
All Day - 
Track & Field
vs. Don Kirby Tailwind Open
Sunday, May 04
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Payton Jordan Invitational
Thursday, May 08
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Air Force Twilight Invitational
Wednesday, May 14
All Day - 
Track & Field
at Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Championships
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