Feb. 5, 2005
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott has proven that he's not one for slow starts. A winner in his first career cross country race last September, the New Mexico freshman opened his collegiate track career in similar fashion with an impressive victory in the invitational mile race on Saturday at Northern Arizona's Mountain T's Invitational. Kiptoo-Biwott earned one of three gold medals as UNM wrapped up its 26th straight trip to the J.L. Walkup Skydome indoor track facility.
The cross country All-American and Mountain West Conference Runner of the Year, defeated Northern Arizona's Henrik Ahnstrom by just over a second, crossing the line in an unofficial altitude adjusted time of 4:06.10 (4:15.51 unconverted). Senior Nick Martinez was fourth (4:21.95), followed by sophomore Mike Smiel (4:23.31) and senior Cameron Clarke (4:28.77). Clarke went on to record the fastest indoor 800 time in fifth-year head coach Matt Henry's tenure, finishing second in the invitational field with a time of 1:53.54.
Two-time track All-American Matt Gonzales, who was slated to make his 2005 indoor debut in the invitational mile and 800-meter runs, was held out of the competition and will likely run next week when the Lobos travel to Arkansas.
Senior Ahmed Raji was successful in his first appearance on the track since the 2003 season, finishing second in the open 200 section with a time of 22.17. Junior transfer Brenton Laws was fifth with a time of 22.54, while Jarrin Solomon, Randle McCain and Isaac Burgener ran 7-8-9 in the event. Earlier in the day, McCain, freshman Kurt Henry and Burgener finished 3-4-5 for the Lobos in the open 400 race.
In other men's action, sophomore transfer Dylan Rose-Coss captured the open mile race in his Lobo debut, while sophomore Juan Ortega and redshirt freshman Jeremy Davis were the runners up in the open 3,000 and 800-meter runs, respectively. Freshman Derek McDonald finished second in the open long jump, fourth in the invitational high jump and clocked a season-best time of 8.59 to place seventh in the 60-meter hurdles finals. Junior Derek Mackel, meanwhile, finished tied for fifth in the pole vault with a mark of 16-07.00.
On the women's side, junior Jacquelyne Gallegos enjoyed a fine afternoon, finishing second in the invitational mile (5:16.08 unconverted) and third in the invitational 800 (2:15.42 unconverted). Sprinter Kimilia Davis, meanwhile, finished a strong fifth in the invitational 400 race (57.37), then came back to clock a personal best time of 25.21 to place a solid ninth in the invitational 200-meter field. Freshman Ariel Burr was impressive as well, placing third in the open section of the 200 with a time of 25.81. UNM sophomores Brandie Mills and KC Pritchard ran strong in the open 400, finishing first (58.63) and third (59.63), respectively. The foursome of Burr, Davis, Shakira Williams and Mills capped the afternoon by running the fastest 4x400m relay time under Henry, crossing the line in third place with a time of 3:54.31.
In the field events, freshman sensation Whitney Johnson paced New Mexico once again, upping her season-best with a mark of 12-07.50 en route to a fourth place finish in the pole vault. Arizona's Connie Jerz, the nation's top-ranked pole vaulter, won the event with a NCAA automatic qualifying height of 13-09.75. Sophomore Jai McBride, meanwhile, was solid in the triple jump, finishing second with a leap of 36-08.25.