March 14, 2005
The 2005 season marks the fifth year of the Henry era, a period that has proven to be a track and field renaissance at the University of New Mexico. In the four years since head coach Matt Henry and his brother, associate head coach Mark Henry, took control of the dormant program, UNM has established itself once again as a force to be reckoned with on the track.
Fueled by the efforts of New Mexico's finest prep track and field athletes, the UNM men and women have combined to capture 17 Mountain West Conference event titles, earn all-conference honors 61 times, garner 10 MWC Athlete of the Week awards and set 20 school records since 2001. The Lobos have also sent a pair of athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships each of the past three seasons and qualified the first UNM woman to the national indoor meet in 2003. Under the Henry's, UNM has enjoyed national recognition both on the track and in the classroom with distance star Matt Gonzales earning All-America honors each of the past two years and decathlete Mark Johnson being named a first team Academic All-American in 2004.
As the accolades continue to pile up, Matt Henry has shown no signs of a letdown. Last fall, he led the UNM men's cross country team to a ninth place finish at the 2004 NCAA Cross Country Championships, the best national finish in program history. New Mexico, which was ranked 19th in the country entering the meet, knocked off nine higher ranked teams, including three top-10 squads en route to its historic finish.
Building off the excitement of the fall, the Lobo track and field program received a tremendous boost with the opening of the new state-of-the-art indoor track facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The facility made its debut in early January with a community all-comers meet, hosted by the University of New Mexico, which marked the return of indoor track to the Duke City for the first time in 18 years. New Mexico track and field fans will be treated to the annual Modrall Sperling Don Kirby Invitational home meet during the outdoor season and an opportunity to see some of the finest homegrown talent from the Land of Enchantment.
Henry has blended a large, talented group of newcomers into his dedicated core of returnees this spring. Led by its elite distance runners, UNM also boasts top-notch talent in the throws, sprints, pole vault, javelin and multi-event competitions. As the all-around depth improves each year, the Lobos continue to emerge as a rising force in the Mountain West Conference. The 2005 season promises to feature more outstanding performances by both veteran standouts and young up-and-coming talent, all eagerly awaiting the opportunity to add their names to the proud tradition of excellence of the UNM track and field program.