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MWC Champion Lobos Return Home For NCAA Mountain Regional
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/11/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 11, 2009

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UPCOMING

Fresh off their historic sweep of the Mountain West Conference titles, the 12th-ranked University of New Mexico men and No. 20 women open postseason action at home when they host the elite NCAA Mountain Region Championships on Saturday at the UNM North Golf Course. Team and individual bids to the NCAA Championship meet will be up for grabs when some of the top distance running schools in America clash on the looping, spectator-friendly course. The men will move up in distance to run a 10K (6.2 miles), starting at 10:45 a.m. (Mountain), followed by the women's 6K (3.7 miles) race at 11 a.m.

The top two teams at each regional meet automatically qualify for nationals and the first four individuals not on a qualifying team also earn an automatic berth. Generally, 2-3 teams from the Mountain Region have been selected for at-large bids to the NCAA Championships.

The New Mexico men ended their season with a fourth place finish at the 2008 NCAA Mountain Regional. UNM last qualified for the NCAA Championships in 2004 with a fourth place regional finish. Led by national runner-up Matt Gonzales, the `04 Lobos went on to place a program-best ninth at nationals.

The Lobo women were second at last year's regional meet and went on to finish 18th at the NCAA Championships - their first trip since 1985. UNM has never made back-to-back trips to the NCAA meet.

NEW MEXICO PROJECTED TOP-SEVEN

WOMEN:
Jr. Ruth Senior (Trans. from Loughborough (England) U...1st team all-MWC (2nd)...has led team in first 4 official races)
Sr. Nicky Archer (2x 1st tm. all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-reg. (17th)...has led the team 4x in 11 career races...NCAA 10K qual.)
So. Lacy Oeding (2x 1st tm. all-MWC...'08 MWC Fr. of the Yr. & NCAA all-reg (11th)...has scored in all 11 career races)
Sr. Ashley Gibson (`09 1st team all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-region (20th)...NCAA 1,500m qualifier in `09)
Jr. Vanessa Ortiz (`09 2nd team all-MWC (8th)...has scored in 13 of 15 races...RS all of 2008-09...39th at `07 Mtn. Reg'l.)
Sr. Carolyn Boosey (`08 1st tm. all-MWC, NCAA all-region (18th)...'09 2nd tm. all-MWC...has scored in 13 of 16 career races)
Jr. Delyth James (XC specialist trans. from Birmingham (England) Univ...2nd team all-MWC (13th))

MEN:
Sr. Jacob Kirwa (MWC Champion (3rd win of `09)...2x 1st tm. all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-reg. (22nd)...'09 NCAA Out. 5K qual.)
Sr. Chris Barnicle ('09 1st team all-MWC (4th)...'09 10K All-American (13th)...2x NCAA all-reg. at Arkansas)
Sr. David Bishop (`09 1st tm. all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-reg. (14th)...has led UNM 3x in 10 career races...'09 1,500m reg'l qual.)
Sr. Rory Fraser (2x 2nd tm. all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-reg. (23rd)...'09 NCAA indoor/outdoor 5K qual.)
Fr. Ross Millington (MWC Fr. of the Yr./2nd team all-MWC...enrolled at UNM in Jan. of `09...'09 NCAA reg'l 1,500m qual.)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (`09 2nd tm. all-MWC...'08 NCAA all-region (17th)...'09 NCAA mile champ/1,500 All-American (3rd))
Fr. Allen Pittman (Scored in 2 of 5 races...XC RS in `08...No. 1 runner for nat'lly ranked Los Alamos HS in `06 & `07)

NCAA MOUNTAIN REGIONAL AT A GLANCE

Course: UNM North Golf Course (5,085 feet; spectator friendly loops, short grass and dirt, some hills)

The UNM North Golf Course last hosted the NCAA Mountain Region Championships in 2006. It was also the site of the 2002 Mountain Regional and has hosted the MWC Championships three times.

Both men's individual regional champions in Albuquerque have gone on to capture the NCAA individual title. Colorado's Jorge Torres won both in `02, while BYU's Josh Rohatinsky swept regional and national titles in `06.

New Mexico has had four athletes earn all-region honors, running on the UNM North Course: Matt Gonzales (8th - `02), Juan Ortega (20th - `06), Timmie Murphy (5th - `06), and Leslie Luna (18th - `06). Murphy and Gonzales advanced on to the NCAA Championships after their top-10 finishes.

Schedule (Mountain Time):
Men's 10K Race - 10:45 a.m.
Women's 6K Race - 12 p.m.

Race Conditions: The weather forecast for Saturday calls for partly cloudy skies with highs in the mid-50s and light winds at 10 mph.

Nationally Ranked Teams:
Women's (4) - No. 6 Colorado, No. 8 Texas Tech, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 22 BYU.

Men's (4) - No. 4 Northern Arizona, No. 5 Colorado, No. 12 New Mexico, No. 14 BYU.

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from the 2009 NCAA Mountain Region Championships can be found on the official athletic department websites of the host University of New Mexico and NCAA:

www.GoLobos.com or www.NCAASports.com

DIRECTIONS: (the golf course is located near the corner of Yale Blvd. and Tucker Rd. on the UNM North Campus)

(from I-25 north) Take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

(from I-25 south) Take Lomas exit and turn left, heading east on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

(from I-40) Exit I-25 south then take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.

ABOUT THE UNM NORTH GOLF COURSE

University of New Mexico runners have the luxury of competing in one of the top cross country environments in the nation. Located 5,085 feet above sea level in the heart of Lobo country, the UNM North Golf Course has been the home of Lobo cross country since the 2000 season.

Over past nine years Albuquerque has been re-established as one of the premier cross country running locations in America. Blessed with excellent weather throughout much of the fall, the Duke City has been the site of three Mountain West Conference Cross Country Championships, three NCAA Mountain Region Championships (2002, `06, `09) as well as the biggest cross country meet in the state, the annual Lobo Invitational.

Each year thousands of vocal and knowledgeable New Mexico distance running enthusiasts pack the North Golf Course to see their Lobos compete against some of the finest teams in the region and the country. The spectator-friendly course winds its way over gentle grassy slopes, around majestic trees and through the cheering crowd several times, giving athletes a tremendous boost. And with its ideal location, less than a mile from the main campus, many UNM runners can simply jog home after competition.

In 2007, the UNM North Course began to offer another benefit to Lobo cross country runners. Head coach Joe Franklin has secured the course for team practices, giving New Mexico athletes exclusive access to the pristine training location.

Built in 1942, the nine-hole UNM North Golf Course is a picturesque urban oasis that has been called "Albuquerque's Central Park."

2009 MOUNTAIN REGIONAL PREVIEW

The NCAA Mountain Region Championships are annually one of the most competitive meets in the country. This year is no exception with four nationally ranked squads on both the men's and women's sides.

The men's field features four top-15 teams in No. 4 Northern Arizona, No. 5 and defending regional champion Colorado, No. 12 New Mexico, and No. 14 BYU. Only the West Region (four) has as many top-15 teams in its field. The Mountain Region also has two squads - UTEP and Utah State - currently receiving votes in the national poll.

The women's race features four top-25 squads in No. 6 Colorado, No. 8 and defending regional champion Texas Tech, No. 20 New Mexico, and No. 22 BYU. Northern Arizona and UTEP are receiving votes in the national poll.

Some of the top individual contenders in the men's race include: Northern Arizona junior David McNeill (Big Sky champion and `08 Mountain Region champion), New Mexico senior Jacob Kirwa (Mountain West champion), Utah State's Brian McKenna (WAC champion), and BYU sophomore Miles Batty (Mountain West runner-up).

On the women's side, the following runners are among those expected to challenge for the individual title: Colorado senior Jenny Barringer, BYU junior Cecily Lemmon-Lew (Mountain West champion), Northern Arizona senior Veronica Pohl (Big Sky champion), UTEP freshman Risper Kimaiyo (Conference USA champion), New Mexico State's Courtney Schultz (WAC champion), Texas Tech senior Lillian Badaru (`08 Mountain Region runner-up). Barringer is the American record holder in the 3,000 steeplechase and was a member of the 2008 USA Olympic Team.

NEW MEXICO MOUNTAIN REGION HISTORY

• Click on the PDF atop the page for complete UNM Mountain Region records

The current NCAA regional championship format began in 1997 and New Mexico has hosted the meet three times (2002, `06, `09) at the historic UNM North Golf Course.

After languishing near the bottom of the standings, the UNM men and women emerged as a factor in the region once again under former head coach Matt Henry (2000-06). Third-year head coach Joe Franklin, who was named Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year while at Butler, has expanded the Lobos' strong presence in the Mountain Region.

In 11 years of competition at the Mountain Region Championships, New Mexico has qualified two teams (`09 women, `04 men) and earned 8 individual bids (4 women, 4 men) to the NCAA Championship meet. In 2004, Matt Gonzales became the first and only Lobo to win a Mountain Region title.

The Lobo women have notched four straight top-10 finishes at the Mountain Region Championships, including a program record second place finish and 70-point score last fall.

The UNM men have finished among the top-10 six times - all since 2001 - and have three top-five finishes, including fourth place efforts last year and in `04. The men recorded their best score (98) at the `08 Mountain Regional, but were left out of the NCAA Championships.

2008 MOUNTAIN REGIONAL REWIND

It was a nearly perfect day for the New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams at the 2008 NCAA Mountain Region Championships in Fort Collins, Colo. The No. 23 UNM women finished second to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship meet - their first NCAA berth since 1985. The surprising Lobo men finished fourth - three spots above their regional ranking - but were on the outside looking in when the NCAA field was announced.

Both the men's and women's teams turned in record-setting performances at the Collindale Golf Course. The Lobo women put a school record six runners on the all-region team en route to a 70-point score - their lowest at the regional or district meet since 1981. The men, meanwhile, had four all-region honorees - doubling their previous best at the Mountain Region meet - and finished with a program best score of 93.

The women finished just 28 points behind No. 9 Texas Tech and 22 points ahead of No. 28 Northern Arizona. No. 26 BYU was fifth with a score of 152.

After its narrow loss to Air Force at the Mountain West Conference Championships two weeks earlier the men's team trounced the fifth place Falcons by 80 points and were less than 30 points behind No. 11 BYU and No. 7 Northern Arizona. Unranked Colorado was a surprising winner with a final score of 42.

Senior Michelle Corrigan led the tight Lobo pack, finishing fifth - matching Timmie Murphy (2006) for the highest finish by a UNM runner at the Mountain Region meet. Corrigan completed the 6,000-meter course in 20:44.8 - 1:03 behind the race winner, Texas Tech's defending national champion Sally Kipyego.

Rookie Lacey Oeding was the No. 2 freshman in the field, finishing 11th overall (20:55.9). Junior Nicky Archer then led an impressive parade of four straight UNM finishers. Archer finished 17th (21:06.3), followed by senior Carolyn Boosey (18th - 21:08.1), senior Leslie Luna (19th - 21:08.5) and junior Ashley Gibson (20th - 21:09.0).

On the men's side, juniors David Bishop and Lee Emanuel turned in their finest race of the season. Bishop, who was the Lobos' No. 4 runner two weeks earlier at the MWC Championships, led the team with a 14th place finish (30:06.0). Emanuel, meanwhile, crossed the line 17th (30:09.7) - 19 places above his 2007 regional finish.

Juniors Jacob Kirwa and Rory Fraser finished side-by-side in 22nd (30:20.6) and 23rd (30:21.1), respectively. Senior Mat Ashton capped the Lobo scoring by finishing 32nd (30:41.7).

LOBOS SWEEP 2009 MOUNTAIN WEST TITLES

It was all New Mexico on Oct. 31 in Orem, Utah as the Lobos swept the men's and women's Mountain West Conference Cross Country titles, defeating nationally-ranked hosts BYU in both races. Third-year head coach Joe Franklin led the 20th-ranked UNM women to their second straight MWC championship, while the No. 19 men stunned the seventh-ranked Cougars to win their first conference title since 1988.

Franklin was named both men's and women's MWC Coach of the Year as New Mexico swept conference crowns for the first time in school history.

The men's team put together its best performance of the year as each of the Lobos' five scoring runners defeated his Cougar counterpart en route to a 29-34 victory. New Mexico avenged a five-point loss to BYU two years earlier in Albuquerque, breaking through to win its first MWC title and sixth conference cross country championship overall.

Senior Jacob Kirwa outkicked BYU's Miles Batty to win the individual title and MWC Runner of the Year honors with an MWC record time of 23:34.5 over the 8K course. It was also the fastest 6K ever run by a Lobo at a conference championship meet.

Kirwa had plenty of help, however, as a record three Lobos earned first team all-MWC honors. Senior Chris Barnicle finished fourth with a time of 23:51.2 in his MWC cross country debut, while fellow senior David Bishop finished sixth with a time of 24:03.3. Bishop improved 13 spots on his 2008 performance.

Senior Rory Fraser turned in his best race of the year, placing eighth (24:14.6) to lead a trio of UNM runners on the all-MWC second team. True freshman Ross Millington continued his stellar season, passing several BYU runners over the final 2,000 meters to finish 10th (24:18.5). Millington capped the Lobo scoring with the best finish by a freshman in the field. The men's scoring five were separated by a season-low 44 seconds.

Senior Lee Emanuel was 14th (24:44.9) to earn all-MWC accolades for the first time in cross country. Redshirt freshman Allen Pittman (20th - 25:07.4), meanwhile, gave New Mexico seven runners in the top-20

The victory ended the Cougars' five-year MWC championship run as UNM joined Air Force (2003) as the only teams to defeat BYU in the league's 11-year history.

After the Lobos' narrow victory in 2008, the women's race was much less dramatic this year. UNM relied on its outstanding depth to calmly and patiently hand eight-time champion BYU its worst loss in Mountain West history, 24-45.

New Mexico went 2-3-4 and had a record four women finish among the top seven to earn first team all-MWC honors. The Lobos' five scoring runners were separated by a remarkable 25 seconds.

Junior transfer Ruth Senior (second - 21:10.7), senior Nicky Archer (third - 21:14.9) and sophomore Lacey Oeding (fourth - 21:17.8) finished within seven seconds of each other to lead the charge.

BYU's Cecily Lemmon Lew won with a time of 20:47.4, but the UNM trio finished 13 seconds ahead of the No. 2 Cougar and New Mexico put all five scoring runners ahead of BYU's No. 3 to win going away.

Senior Ashley Gibson improved a remarkable 17 spots from 2008 to finish seventh (21:31.7) and earn first team all-MWC honors in her breakthrough final season. Junior Vanessa Ortiz turned in her finest MWC performance as well, placing eighth (21:36.3) to lead a group of three Lobos on the all-MWC second team.

Senior Carolyn Boosey continued to work her way back from injury with a solid 12th place finish (21:56.2), while junior transfer Delyth James was 13th (22:02.7) in her MWC debut. True freshman Janna Mitsos (19th - 22:30.1) gave the Lobos eight runners in the top-20.

New Mexico Accolades At The 2009 MWC Championships
Joe Franklin - Men's & Women's Coach of the Year
Sr. Jacob Kirwa - Men's Runner of the Year
Fr. Ross Millington - Men's Freshman of the Year

Men's First Team All-MWC (3) Sr. Jacob Kirwa
Sr. Chris Barnicle
Sr. David Bishop

Women's First Team All-MWC (4)
Jr. Ruth Senior
Sr. Nicky Archer
So. Lacey Oeding
Sr. Ashley Gibson

Men's Second Team All-MWC (3)
Sr. Rory Fraser
Fr. Ross Millington
Sr. Lee Emanuel

Women's Second Team All-MWC (3)
Jr. Vanessa Ortiz
Sr. Carolyn Boosey
Jr. Delyth James

NATIONAL RANKINGS WATCH

The Mountain West Conference champion New Mexico men climbed seven spots to No. 12 in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll. It's the highest national ranking in program history. The previous best for the Lobo men was No. 14 to open the 1989 season. The UNM women maintained their No. 20 ranking after capturing their second straight MWC crown.

The previously 19th-ranked New Mexico men knocked off seventh-ranked hosts BYU, 29-34, while the women cruised past the 21st-ranked Cougars, 24-45, at the Oct. 31 MWC Championships in Orem, Utah. It was the men's sixth conference cross country title, but first since 1988 (Western Athletic Conference).

The UNM women debuted at No. 22 in the preseason poll, while the men's team opened at No. 26 in the preseason. The 2008 season marked the first time in school history that both the men's and women's cross country teams were ranked among the nation's top-30 in the same season.

Saturday, November 22
10:00 AM - 
Cross Country
at NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships
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