Sept. 24, 2008
UPCOMINGThe 2008 cross country season gets going in earnest on Saturday when the University of New Mexico sends its nationally ranked men's and women's teams to Minnesota for the elite Roy Griak Invitational. New Mexico enters the meet ranked 15th in the men's poll and receiving votes (unofficially 34th) in the women's poll.
The Roy Griak Invitational is the first meet of the season that will factor into NCAA Championship at-large bid consideration. UNM will be one of several powerful squads, including host Minnesota (No. 9 men/No. 9 women), Auburn (No. 25 men), Iowa State (No. 29 men), Duke (No. 20) and Mountain West Conference rival BYU (No. 30 men/No. 22 women), looking to bolster their national resumé with a strong performance.
NEW MEXICO TRAVEL SQUADWOMEN:
Jr. Nicky Archer (Transfer from U. of Birmingham (England)...wire-to-wire winner in debut at `08 Lobo Invite)
Sr. Michelle Corrigan (1st team all-MWC...led Lobos' in all 5 meets in `07...UNM indoor 5K record holder)
Sr. Carolyn Boosey (Scored in all 6 career races...'08 Lobo Invite runner-up...'08 team captain)
Fr. Lacey Oeding (2x class 3A all-state XC at Jasper (Ind.) HS...4th running unattached at `08 Lobo Invite)
So. Emma Reed (Transfer from Boston University...5th running unattached at `08 Lobo Invite)
Sr. Leslie Luna (2-time all-MWC & all-Mountain Region...medical redshirt in `07...9th at `08 Lobo Invite)
Jr. Ashley Gibson (Transfer from Loughborough University (England)...9th at `08 Lobo Invite)
Jr. Polina Ermoshina (3x All-American Nordic skier at UNM...has scored in 2 of 4 career XC races)
Sr. Mat Ashton (2nd team all-MWC...10th in the 10,000m at `08 NCAA Championships...'08 team captain)
Jr. Brock Hagerman (all-Mountain Region/all-Great Lakes Region...2nd team all-MWC)
Jr. Jacob Kirwa (Trans. from Diné College (Shiprock, N.M.)...2x USCAA nat'l XC champ...2nd at `08 Lobo Invite)
Jr. Rory Fraser (Trans. from Leeds Metropolitan U. (England)...member of G.B. Jr. Nat'l Team...6th at `08 Lobo Invite)
Jr. David Bishop (Trans. from U. of Wales Institute, Cardiff...British Univ. 3K champ...9th at `08 Lobo Invite)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (Scored 5x in 7 career races...MWC 1,500m champion/NCAA qualifier...'08 team captain)
Jr. Alex Willis (Scored 4x in 11 career races...top-7 in all 6 races in `07...10th running unattached at `08 Lobo Invite)
So. Jason Petty (Scored in all 7 career races...22nd at `08 Lobo Invite...redshirt in `07)
Fr. Patrick Ortiz (First meet out of the state of N.M...2 career races..26th at `08 Lobo Invite...redshirt in `07)
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSComplete information and results from the 2008 Roy Griak Invitational can be found on the official athletic department website of the Minnesota Golden Gophers:
FROM HEAD COACH Joe Franklin"Our objective on the men's side is to compete with Minnesota, Auburn, Iowa State and BYU. We may not be ready to beat a team like (No. 9) Minnesota yet, but I expect us to compete with them and be in contention. On the women's side, we want to be right there with Duke and UC-Santa Barbara. Duke is a very good and Santa Barbara has a history of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. We'll get to see BYU a couple more times this year, but this is an important meet in terms of building our NCAA qualifying resumé against some teams we may not face regularly."
"We've got a little bit of a flu going around, but I think we can have some strong performances this weekend. This is a relatively hilly course that should suit us very well coming down from altitude and having trained extensively in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains."
NEW LOBOS SWEEP ATHLETE OF THE WEEK AWARDSJunior transfers Jacob Kirwa and Nicky Archer were selected as the Mountain West Conference men's and women's cross country athletes of the week, respectively, the conference office announced on Sept. 8.
After winning the award three times in the first five years of the MWC, the UNM men have now been honored seven times since 2004. Archer is the first Lobo woman in three years to earn the MWC's weekly award.
It's New Mexico's first sweep of the award since 2004 when Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott and Jacquelyne Gallegos were both honored after the Lobo Invitational.
Kirwa finished second in his Lobo debut to pace New Mexico in the ninth-annual Lobo Invitational cross country meet at the UNM North Golf Course last Saturday. It was the best finish for a Lobo at the team's home meet since 2004. Kirwa, hailing from Eldoret, Kenya, covered the 8K course in 24:44.78, and was one of four New Mexico harriers to place among the top-10. Kirwa finished in the top-10 at the Lobos' home meet for the third-straight year. He was second in 2007 and 10th in 2006 while competing for Diné College.
Archer led from start to finish in the women's 5K race, finishing 16 seconds ahead of the runner-up with a time of 18:17.66 in her first race as a Lobo and first competition at high altitude. The transfer from the University of Birmingham (England) became the first New Mexico female student-athlete since 2005 to win the Lobo Invitational. Archer, a Cheshire, England native, competed against regional rivals New Mexico State and UTEP.
LAST TIME OUT: at the Kachina Classic (Sept. 20)New Mexico sent a group of young runners down to Las Cruces on Sept. 20 for New Mexico State's annual Kachina Classic meet. Redshirt freshman Patrick Ortiz (Pecos, N.M.) led the Lobo men with an 11th place finish, completing the 5,000-meter race in 16:58.7. Rookie Laura Lavezo (Albuquerque La Cueva), who is redshirting the 2008 season, paced the Lobo women in the unscored meet with a 9th place finish while running unattached. The 2007 New Mexico class 5A cross country champion completed the 5K in 20:17.7.
HOSTS DOMINATE LOBO INVITATIONALAlthough no official team scores were kept, the University of New Mexico men and women left little doubt which program was the class of the 2008 Lobo Invitational cross country meet on Sept. 6 at the UNM North Golf Course.
Junior transfer Nicky Archer (Cheshire, England) was a wire-to-wire winner in the women's 5,000-meter race while fellow junior transfer Jacob Kirwa (Eldoret, Kenya) finished a strong second in the men's 8K to pace New Mexico in front of a large crowd of several thousand spectators.
Kirwa (24:44.78) helped the new-look Lobos make a strong statement against a field that included national power UTEP - the two-time defending Conference USA champions and preseason C-USA favorites. Kirwa was one of four Lobos to place among the top-10 with No. 5 man Lee Emanuel (Hastings, England) a close 12th.
While it won't count officially, New Mexico's hand-tallied score of 39 was 15 points better than the Miners who had won back-to-back Lobo Invitational team titles.
UNM also received a strong performances from junior transfers Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) and David Bishop (Chippenham, England), who finished sixth and ninth, respectively, in their first race at high altitude. Junior Alex Willis (Leadville, Colo.) - who ran unattached - was 10th, while Emanuel was 12th.
On the women's side, Archer clocked a sizzling time of 18:17.66 - six seconds ahead of senior teammate and runner-up Carolyn Boosey (London, England) - in her first race at altitude. Archer and Boosey led a group of seven Lobo women in the top-11.
True freshman Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) and sophomore transfer Emma Reed (Clevedon, England) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while competing unattached. Senior Leslie Luna (Albuquerque, N.M.) made a solid return after taking a medical redshirt season in 2007, finishing ninth. Juniors Ashley Gibson (Newcastle, England) and Polina Ermoshina (Moscow, Russia) were 10th and 11th, respectively.
2008 LOBO CROSS COUNTRY SNEAK PEEKYear two of the Joe Franklin Era at the University of New Mexico should be an exciting one with a experienced talent and promising newcomers filling the men's and women's rosters. The Lobo men were picked to finish second in the preseason Mountain West Conference coaches poll - their highest projection since the league was formed in 1999 - while the women were tabbed for third place.
Both the men and women return five of their top-7 runners from 2007. The men's team lost All-American and MWC champion Jeremy Johnson to graduation, but return a trio of second team all-conference runners in senior Mat Ashton, junior Brock Hagerman and junior Brian Vallie from last year's MWC runner-up squad. Ashton went on to finish 10th in the 10,000 at the 2008 NCAA Track Championships, while Hagerman earned all-NCAA Mountain Region honors in cross country.
Talented junior transfers Jacob Kirwa - a two-time USCAA national champion at Diné College - Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) and David Bishop (Chippenham, England) were outstanding in their New Mexico debuts and should provide a scoring boost.
Senior Lee Emanuel should be a bigger factor this fall after an outstanding track season, highlighted by his MWC gold and NCAA appearance in the 1,500. The Lobos also return improving junior Alex Willis and sophomore Jason Petty, who should add excellent depth to the top-7.
Senior Michelle Corrigan - a first team all-MWC honoree who set the UNM indoor record in the 5,000 meters last winter - leads the UNM women. Corrigan is one of three senior starters back for the women, along with fellow captains Carolyn Boosey and Stasia Ploskonka. UNM should continue to get scoring points from junior Vanessa Ortiz as well.
Second-year head coach Joe Franklin has also added 10 newcomers to an increasingly deep and talented women's side, led by senior transfer Laura Bowerman - a two-time all-NCAA South Region selection and 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships qualifier at Florida State. Junior transfer Nicky Archer (Cheshire, England), sophomore transfer Emma Reed (Clevedon, England) and prep standout Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) should also make big impacts in their first Division I seasons.
A LOOK BACK AT 2007The 2007 UNM cross country season will go down as one of the more memorable campaigns in school history. Joe Franklin built upon the strong foundation laid down by retired head coach Matt Henry and gave the program a shot of energy in his first season at New Mexico.
Here are some of the highlights from the 2007 season:
Senior Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque Manzano) earned All-America honors with a 20th place finish in his NCAA Cross Country Championships debut...it was the fourth-highest finish in program history.
Johnson and sophomore Brock Hagerman both earned all-NCAA Mountain Region honors to help the men's team finish fifth - its best at the regional meet since 2004, but just shy of the NCAA qualifying cut...Johnson's third place finish was the second-highest in program history.
Johnson turned in a wire-to-wire victory at the Mountain West Conference Championship meet in Albuquerque to lead the UNM men to a second place finish (51 points) - just five points behind BYU - in its best conference performance since 1988...the men recorded their best score at the conference meet since 1965...Johnson became the first native New Mexican to win a conference cross country title for the Lobos since John Baker in 1964 and was the second UNM champion in the last 41 years...senior Mat Ashton and sophomores Brock Hagerman and Brian Vallie earned second team all-MWC honors.
Junior Michelle Corrigan finished fifth to help the women's team place third at the MWC Championships...New Mexico placed both its men's and women's team among the top-three at the conference meet for the first since `88...Corrigan gave the Lobos a first team all-conference runner for a fifth-straight season - the longest streak in program history...the women placed all five scoring runners in the top-30 at the conference championships for the first time since 1986.
Johnson took home back-to-back MWC Athlete of the Week awards on Oct. 3 and Oct. 17, becoming the first UNM men's runner to earn Athlete of the Week honors twice in the same season...Johnson and Jacquelyne Gallegos are the only New Mexico runners to win the award three times in a career.
The UNM women's team opened the season with a bang, winning the Lobo Invitational for the first time since it moved to campus in 2000...New Mexico matched the meet record set by Division II power Western State in 2000 with a score of 21 points - 24 ahead of runner-up UTEP.