Jan. 28, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico 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 today 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.
Both Mackel and Johnson bowed out after narrowly missing all three attempts at the UNM indoor records in their respective events. Coming off a career-best 17-11.00 clearance last week, Mackel ended his day after a valiant run at Simon Arkell's 1991 record of 18-01.50. Johnson, meanwhile, missed on all three attempts to surpass Bridgid Isworth's 2003 mark of 13-02.50. Mackel led a 1-2-3 finish for the Lobos in the men's vault as junior Robert Caldwell cleared 16-08.75 and sophomore Zach Graham recorded a collegiate best mark of 16-02.75.
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). Sophomore Domnick Meadows led the New Mexico men in the long jump with a career best leap of 22-07.00 (7th), while senior Mike Powdrell and freshman Josh Cosio tied for fourth in the high jump with a mark of 6-05.50.
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 behind Texas Tech standouts Violet Chemakwila and Irene Kimaiyo. 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). Freshmen Taylor Siemon and Phillip Merritt also showed solid promise in their third collegiate meet. Both men won their heat with Siemon clocking a 49.78 to finish eight overall in the 400 and Merritt coming in at 22.27 to place eighth in the 200. Siemon, Solomon, sophomore Kurt Henry and junior Randle McCain also combined to clock a time of 3:17.59 in the 4x400-meter relay (6th), the best by the Lobos since the 2004 season.
Overall, the University of New Mexico Invitational saw athletes record seven facility records, 11 provisional marks and one automatic qualifying mark for the NCAA Championships. Among the highlights were Texas Tech's Tori Polk long jumping 21-02.75 to grab an automatic berth to the national championships and the Oral Roberts' duo of Shaun Smith and Prince Mumba clocking altitude adjusted 800 times of 1:47.81 and 1:47.95, respectively. Andretti Bain of ORU scored the biggest upset of the meet, knocking off second-ranked Andrae Williams of Texas Tech to win the 400 with a time of 46.89.
New Mexico will take its first and only road trip of the winter next weekend, travelling to Lincoln, Neb. for the Sevigne Husker Invitational. The Lobos return home to the Convention Center on Saturday, Feb. 11 for the Albuquerque Invitational. The meet will feature another quality field, including Air Force, BYU, Houston, San Diego State, Abilene Christian and Adams State.