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Lobos To Battle NAU, UC-Irvine and Southern Utah In The Skydome
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/11/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 11, 2004

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UPCOMING

The University of New Mexico men's and women's indoor track teams will compete in their final tune-up meet before the Mountain West Conference Championships when they travel to Flagstaff, Ariz. to face host Northern Arizona, UC-Irvine and Southern Utah on Saturday. The action at the J.L. Walkup Skydome, which sits at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, gets underway at 9:30 a.m. (MST).

New Mexico has typically enjoyed its winter trips to Flagstaff, under head coach Matt Henry, recording some of its best marks of the year in the Skydome. Senior Matt Bishop earned his first indoor 800 victory at NAU last year, while junior Ben Ortega won the 3,000 as a true freshman in 2001. Junior Amber Nolte recorded her best indoor pole vault performance two years ago with a clearance of 11-11.75, which was an indoor record at the time.

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from Northern Arizona will be available at the official athletic department website of the Northern Arizona University:

NAU Athletics

LAST TIME

HOUSTON -- The University of New Mexico distance stars were big and bright deep in the heart of Texas last Saturday at the Houston Indoor Invitational. Jacquelyne Gallegos, Sarah Gonzales and Ben Ortega each came home with victories to pace the Lobos. The New Mexico men finished fifth in the 22-team field with 37 points, while the women placed sixth out of 21 squads with 37.5 points.

Gallegos continued her impressive winter by picking up her second straight 3,000-meter victory. The redshirt sophomore cruised to a five-second victory with a career-best time of 9:57.47. Gallegos also won the event last weekend at Texas Tech and was the runner-up at the Air Force Invite.

Gonzales and promising sophomore Timmie Murphy finished 1-2 in their first 5,000-meter race of the year as Gonzales clocked the fastest time of her career. The 5-1 senior blew away the field, crossing the line in 17:47.01, over 15 seconds ahead of Murphy, who recorded a time of 18:02.91.

Ortega, meanwhile, paced the men's team with a 12-second victory in the 5,000. The junior from Taos finished with a time of 15:06.59 for his first win of the year. Fellow junior Nick Martinez was the runner-up in the 3,000, clocking a time of 8:27.97, the team's fastest of the year. Senior Sean Flaherty was close behind, finishing fourth with a time of 8:32.64.

Back on the women's side, freshman Riann Lucy turned in a strong effort in her first collegiate mile race, recording a time of 5:10.45 to tie for fifth place. Senior Amanda Swann was 10th in the mile with a time of 5:13.25, her fastest of the season.

Junior Jamie Fishencord finished a strong second in the weight throw to the lead the UNM throwers. Fishencord increased her school record to 52-09.25 in her second straight runner-up finish.

In other men's event action, junior Cameron Clarke was eight in the mile (4:21.46), while senior heptathlete Mark Johnson matched his season-best with a mark of 15-07.00 (T5th) in the pole vault. Seniors Jordan Parker (49-03.75) and Jason Barkemeyer (48-06.00) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the weight throw, while Barkemeyer was sixth in the shot put (55-00.00).

Sophomores Kimilia Davis and Brandilyn Williams led the sprint efforts, recording the Lobos' fastest 400-meter times of the season in front of their hometown crowd. Davis clocked a time of 58.69 to finish second in her heat, while Williams' time of 59.52 was the best in her section.

HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM

Several UNM athletes were unable to compete at last Saturday's Houston Indoor Invitational due to a scheduling issue which left the Lobos scrambling to make their flight back to Albuquerque.

After booking his team's flight home, head coach Matt Henry learned that University of Houston officials had pushed the meet start time back a couple hours. The later schedule forced the Lobos to drop out of the mile and distance medley relays, the final events of the meet, before arriving in Houston.

However, things got worse for New Mexico after competition began as the meet schedule bogged down and event start times were delayed. In order to make their flight back to Albuquerque, several athletes had to drop out of their events later in the afternoon, including shot putter Amanda Barnes and the UNM 800 and 200-meter runners. Fortunately, the Lobos won't be running through any more airports any time soon as the team will be bussing to its next two meets.

GONZALES STANDS TALL AMONG NATION'S BEST

INDIANAPOLIS -- University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales finished 13th out of a field of 112 runners in last Saturday's 4,000-meter race at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships. Gonzales clocked a time of 11:42, just 20 seconds shy of earning a spot on the national team, in his first Cross Country Championships appearance. The top six finishers in the men's 4K and the 12,000-meter race were automatically selected for the USA national team.

Gonzales' time was also just 28 seconds behind the winner, Charlie Gruber, who was running for Nike Unattached. The Santa Fe native also finished 12 spots ahead of former Colorado State standout Bryan Berryhill, a former NCAA Champion and USA runner-up in the 1,500 last year.

"I really thought he could make that team," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He told me that he got off to a slow start and that it took him awhile to get used to the snow on the course, but he said that he passed at least 10 people on the final loop."

The 4,000-meter race is half the distance of most regular season collegiate cross country courses. The men move up to run a 10,000-meter race at NCAA regional and national championship competitions.

MWC WOMEN'S ATHLETE OF THE WEEK NOMINEE

Jacquelyne Gallegos, a sophomore in indoor eligibility, won her second straight 3,000-meter race last Saturday, cruising to a wire-to-wire victory at the Houston Indoor Invitational. Gallegos recorded a career-best time of 9:57.47, which is also the best in head coach Matt Henry's four-year tenure. Gallegos helped the UNM distance medley relay team earn all-MWC honors indoors as a true freshman in 2002. She missed all of the 2003 indoor season and much of the outdoor slate after a car accident in September of 2002 left her hospitalized with a broken back and pelvis.

LOBO NOTES

Head coach Matt Henry has decided to redshirt senior sprinter Ahmed Raji for the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons...Raji, an all-MWC honoree in the 200m and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, will return in 2005 for his final collegiate season...Ten women and 15 men are ranked among the MWC top-10 in their respective events...sophomore Jacquelyne Gallegos is third in both the mile and 3,000, while senior Sarah Gonzales owns the league's top 5,000 time...sophomore Timmie Murphy is ranked third in the 5K, while true freshman Riann Lucy is eighth in the 800 and seventh in the mile...junior Amanda Barnes is No. 5 in the shot put, while sophomore Suzanne Nguyen is seventh in the triple jump and eighth in the pentathlon...on the men's side, senior Chris Garofola ranks among the top-6 in the 60, 200 and 60-meter hurdles, while junior Ben Ortega is No. 3 in the 5,000...senior Jason Barkemeyer is the fifth-ranked shot putter, while junior Willie Yuen is No. 6 in the triple jump.

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