June 14, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa - With the way Katie Coronado is throwing the javelin these days, don't be surprised to see her in Beijing later this summer.
The junior from Ruidoso, N.M. capped an outstanding performance for the University of New Mexico at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by finishing second in the javelin finals with a school record throw of 179' 6" (54.71m) this afternoon at Drake Stadium. Coronado, who will compete at the USA Olympic Trials in two weeks, recorded the highest NCAA Championship finish in UNM women's history.
After finishing 16th in her NCAA debut last year, Coronado improved thee spots on her seed to turn in the best finish by a Lobo - man or woman - at the NCAA Championships since 1985 when Gary Kinder finished second in the decathlon. Her eight points gave the UNM women their highest score at the NCAA Championships.
Women did not compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships until 1983. The AIAW organized the women's national championship meet prior to 1983. Susan Vigil had the highest finish the Lobos at the AIAW Championships with her victory in the 800 meters in 1979.
Coronado joined fellow New Mexicans Robert Caldwell (pole vault) and Jeremy Johnson (10,000 meters) to give the Lobos three All-Americans at the meet - the most for UNM since 1989 when three men were recognized. Coronado is the first women's All-American at New Mexico since 1996 and the fourth to earn NCAA All-America honors, joining Lavern Clarke (long jump/triple jump - 1990), Tangi Galloway (10,000m - 1996) and Sara Nicholson (javelin - 1996).
Coronado got off to a bit of a slow start, throwing under 160 feet on her opening attempt. Her third throw, however, propelled her into fourth place, where she remained until passing Nebraska senior Kayla Wilkinson (179' 3" - 54.60m) and SMU senior Andrea Kvetova (178' 8" - 54.47m) on her sixth and final attempt. Oregon junior Rachel Yurkovich won the gold medal with a throw of 185' 7" (56.58m) as she became the first collegiate athlete to defeat Coronado in 2008.
Coronado entered the finals round with a 9-0 head-to-head record against collegiate competitors, including Mountain West Conference and NCAA Midwest Regional Championship titles, and a 9-1 mark overall on the season. Former UTEP All-American Erma Gene Evans handed Coronado her only other loss in early May in Albuquerque.
Coronado broke her own school record for the fourth time in as many meets and will enter the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. as one of the hottest javelin throwers in the country.
Earlier in the day, junior Sandy Fortner's All-America push in the women's heptathlon came to an end when an injury forced her to drop out of the seventh and final event of the competition - the 800 meters. Fortner had moved up to 12th overall through five events, but was unable to complete the grueling two-day competition in her NCAA Outdoor Championship debut.