Albuquerque The Track & Field Capital Of The Nation On Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/20/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 20, 2006

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Albuquerque has been proclaimed the track & field capital of the nation this weekend as the host University of New Mexico, in conjunction with the City of Albuquerque, welcomes 11 top-25 men's and women's teams and 34 nationally ranked athletes to the Convention Center for the inaugural Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational on Saturday. The Lobo Invitational is the second of eight meets being held this winter on the city's state-of-the-art indoor track inside the Convention Center. The meet opens with the field events at 8:30 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.

It's been 19 years since a collegiate-only indoor track meet was held in the Land of Enchantment. UNM's last indoor collegiate home meet was in 1987 when it hosted the Western Athletic Conference Championships at Tingley Coliseum on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds.

The action continues on Sunday with a community all-comers meet with the collegians returning next weekend for the three-day University of New Mexico Invitational (Jan. 26-28). UNM will host another meet, the Albuquerque Invitational, on Feb. 11, followed by the Green Chile All-Comers meet (Feb.12) and First to the Finish High School Invitational (Feb. 18). New Mexico caps the indoor home season when it hosts the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships for the first time, Feb. 23-25.

The Albuquerque-based Modrall Sperling law firm, which also has offices in Santa Fe, Las Cruces and Roswell is the sponsor of the meet.


8:30 • W - Long Jump
8:30 • M - High Jump
9:00 • W - Weight Throw
10:00 • M - Pole Vault
10:30 • W - 5,000m
10:55 • M - 5,000m
11:25 • W - 60m Hurdles
11:50 • M - 60m Hurdles
11:30• M - Long Jump
11:30 • M - Weight Throw
12:10 • W - 60m
12:30 • Bernie Rivers 60m Dash
12:50• W - Mile
1:00• W - Triple Jump
1:00 • W - Pole Vault
1:00 • M - Shot Put
1:05 • John Baker Mile
1:20 • W - 400m
1:30 • W - High Jump
1:40 • M - 400m
2:10 • W - 800m
2:20 • M - 800m
2:30 • W - Shot Put
2:30 • M - Triple Jump
2:30 • W - 200m
2:55 • M - 200m
3:20• W - 3,000m
3:40 • M - 3,000m
3:55 • W - 4x400m Relay
4:05 • M - 4x400m Relay


Complete information and results from the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational will be available at www.GoLobos.com immediately following the conclusion of the meet.


Green Chile All-Comers
February 12, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 7, 2006
Only selected events will be contested.

First to Finish High School Invitational*
February 18, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 10, 2006
All events contested.

Entry fees are $10 per athlete per event.
All entries will be handled through www.directathletics.com. Please review the above entry deadlines for the meets that you wish to enter. Late entries will not be accepted. All entry deadlines will also be available on the Direct Athletics website. If you do not have a password and account with Direct Athletics, one will be provided to you when you begin the registration process. Please review your entries for accuracy.
**Important: It will take a day to get a new password and account set up--Do not wait until the deadline to set up your account!


Seven of the 11 men's teams and four women's squads competing today are ranked among the top-20 in this week's Trackwire 25 national rankings (www.trackwire.com). Florida State boasts the top-ranked men's team at No. 2, while eighth-ranked USC leads the women's field.

Three men's and two women's teams will enter the meet ranked among the top-10 in the country, with No. 5 LSU and seventh-ranked Arizona joining Florida State on the men's side and the No. 10 California women along with USC. BYU (No. 18 women, No. 20 men), Texas A&M (No. 12 men, No. 13 women) and USC (No. 8 women, No. 20 men) have both men's and women's teams ranked among the top-25. UTEP features the 19th-ranked men's squad.

Thirty-four athletes and five 4x400-meter relay teams ranked among the top-12 in the nation in Trackwire's most recent Dandy Dozen list are entered in today's meet. USC's Virginia Powell (60m hurdles) and Jesse Williams (high jump), Ricardo Chambers (400m) and Rafeeq Curry (triple jump) of Florida State, Texas A&M's Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), LSU's Xavier Carter (200m) and the Tigers' mile relay team all enter the meet ranked No. 1 in their respective events.


While many of the athletes in today's meet are making their first visit to Albuquerque, several of the coaches are quite familiar with each other and the University of New Mexico.

Second-year Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry is a 1973 UNM graduate and the older brother of Lobo head coach Matt Henry and associate head coach Mark Henry. Before moving to the Lone Star State, Pat was the head coach at LSU for 17 years, leading the Tigers to 27 NCAA titles. Current LSU head man Dennis Shaver was an assistant for eight years under Henry before taking over in Baton Rouge.

Colorado State head coach Del Hessel, now in his seventh year at his alma mater, was the head men's coach at New Mexico for ten years (1980-90). Hessel's Lobos finished among the top-25 in the nation twice, including 10th place at the 1984 NCAA Indoor Championships. Current Lobo assistant Scott Steffan was coached by Hessel at UNM.

Cal assistant track coach and head cross country coach Tony Sandoval helped built the Lobo women's program into won of the best in the country in the late 1970s. Sandoval's UNM track team finished as high as ninth nationally, and he developed 10 All-Americans

Former New Mexico sprinter/middle-distance runner Jackie Richards is entering her fourth season as an assistant at Florida State. Richards competed for UNM from 1995-98, earning Western Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete honors each year.


Thanks to the leadership of sixth-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the University of New Mexico boasts one of the most improved track and field programs in the country. Built upon a foundation of elite in-state talent with a blend of premier national and international competitors, the Lobos continue to reach new heights each year. Under Henry's tutelage UNM athletes have gone to the NCAA Championship meet four years in a row, earned three All-America awards, won 21 MWC event titles and claimed all-MWC honors 90 times since 2001.

The 2006 UNM men's and women's roster features 75 in-state products, including 38 from the Duke City. Thirty-one men and women are former New Mexico state track champions.


Derek Mackel (Sr.) and Robert Caldwell (Jr.) - Pole Vault
Assistant coach Scott Steffan has built one of the top pole vaulting units in the country from scratch over the past three years. This year's squad is led by Mackel and Caldwell, who both cleared 17 feet last weekend in their indoor opener. Mackel, who has improved by more than six feet since joining the UNM program, earned all-MWC honors last year with a clearance of 17-05.50. Caldwell, meanwhile, established his indoor PR last week. Both men will look to challenge BYU senior Robison Pratt, the defending NCAA Outdoor Champion in the event. Pratt cleared 18 feet in his 2006 debut last weekend to earn an automatic berth in the national championship field.

Kristan Matison (So.) - 200m
One of the best young sprinters in the Mountain West, Matison earned all-conference honors in the 100 and 4x100m relay last year as a true freshman. She has been battling nagging injuries during the offseason, but won the 200 last weekend with a time of 25.51, just off her indoor PR. The daughter of former Lobo All-American René Matison, Kristan will take on a field that includes two of the nation's top-10 200-meter sprinters on Saturday.

Jarrin Solomon (So.) - 400m
The Lobos standout sophomore will make his indoor debut on Saturday racing against an elite field led by top-ranked Ricardo Chambers of Florida State. Solomon earned all-MWC honors in the event last spring as the runner-up at the outdoor championship meet and was an NCAA regional qualifier. The son of former UNM national indoor champion (600 yards) Mike Solomon, look for Jarrin to smash his PR and perhaps make a run at the NCAA provisional standard on Saturday.

Hagit Salamon (Fr.) - Long Jump/Triple Jump
Salamon will make her much anticipated collegiate debut on Saturday in both jump events. A former Israeli national triple jump champion and national silver medalist in the long jump, Salamon brings a PR of 41-09.75 into an outstanding triple jump field that includes two top-5 athletes. The long jump will be just as competitive with No. 4 Antonette Carter of Cal, LSU All-American Tina Harris and the defending Big Sky champion Kerry-Ann Blackwood of Portland State in the mix.