New Mexico Distance Stars Shine On Stanford's National Stage
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/26/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 26, 2005

STANFORD, Calif. -- Head coach Matt Henry's vaunted University of New Mexico distance crew was in mid-season form over the weekend at the 31st annual Stanford Invitational at Cobb Track and Angell Field. Seniors Matt Gonzales and freshman Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott each recorded Midwest Regional qualifying times, while senior Ben Ortega surpassed the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in the 10,000 in the outdoor season debut for all three men.

One of the most versatile distance runners in the nation, Gonzales flew to a third place time of 3:43.31 in the top section of the 1,500 meters on Saturday afternoon. The two-time 10,000-meter All-American missed the UNM school record by less than a second in the second-fastest 1,500 race of his career, and crossed the line just 0.62 seconds behind the winner, Jonah Maiyo of Arizona. Gonzales knocked off defending Mountain West Conference champion Nathan Robison for the first time in his career, beating the BYU standout by a full two seconds.

On Friday evening, Ortega ran the fastest 10K of his career, recording a time of 29:10.34 en route to a 24th place finish in the top section. The Taos native bested his previous personal record, set in 2002, by over a second to eclipse the provisional standard for the fourth time in his career.

After winning his collegiate cross country and indoor track debuts, Kiptoo-Biwott placed 15th in the elite section of the 5,000. His time of 14:03.32, however, was more than enough to secure his place in the NCAA Midwest Regional field. In section two of the 5K, teammate Nick Martinez ran his best time in two years, finishing in 14:36.49 (23rd).

On the women's side, senior Jacquelyne Gallegos just missed the regional qualifying mark in the 5,000, but blew away her personal record in the event with a time of 17:01.83, the fastest in Matt Henry's five-year tenure.

Wes Kittley Classic

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Lobos got the track competition started earlier in the week with standout throwers Amanda Barnes and Jamie Fishencord representing the cherry and silver at Texas Tech's Wes Kittley Classic on Thursday.

Fresh of her Mountain West record performance at Arizona, Barnes was victorious once again in the shot put. The Carlsbad, N.M. native had an easy time in the event, defeating the rest of the field by over six feet to notch her 10th career win in the shot put with a toss of 47-11.25.

Fishencord, meanwhile, picked up her first win of the year in the discus (149-05), outdistancing Barnes (142-08) by over six feet for the gold medal. Fishencord later placed second in the hammer, recording a throw of 165 feet even, one spot ahead of Barnes (135-11) once again.