Jan. 24, 2006
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - University of New Mexico senior Derek Mackel has been named Mountain West Conference Men's Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week the league announced this afternoon. Mackel, who climbed to fourth in Trackwire.com's national pole vault rankings this morning, earned the award for the first time indoors and second time overall in his career. He is the first Lobo since 2002 to earn the Indoor Athlete of the Week award and the second UNM men's honoree indoors in conference history.
The Albuquerque Sandia High School product finished second in the pole vault at the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque last weekend, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the process. His career best vault of 17'-11.00" (5.46m), is tied for the second-best mark in MWC history and is currently the third best mark in the nation. Mackel cleared the same height as the 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion, Robison Pratt of BYU, who won the event by using fewer attempts.
Mackel has improved by more than five feet in the pole vault since joining the UNM program as an unrecruited walk-on in 2001-02. He was ranked as high as seventh in the country by Trackwire during the 2005 outdoor season and his current No. 4 ranking matches the highest by a Lobo during sixth-year head coach Matt Henry's tenure. All-American distance runner Matt Gonzales was ranked fourth in the 5,000 and 10,000 last spring.
Colorado State junior Janay DeLoach earned the MWC Women's Athlete of the Week award after winning the long jump and finishing sixth in the 60 at last weekend in Albuquerque.
Mackel and the Lobos return to action this weekend, hosting the University of New Mexico Multis (Jan. 26-27) and UNM Invitational (Jan. 28) at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The multi-event action gets underway at 11 a.m. on Thursday and 10:30 a.m. on Friday. Saturday's meet opens with the field events at 9 a.m., followed by the first event on the track at 10:30. Tickets are available at the door - $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under.