April 17, 2009
WALNUT, Calif. - Simply dominant. That's the only way to describe Lee Emanuel's performance at the 51st Mt. SAC Relays tonight. The University of New Mexico senior broke a 30-year old school record, 13-year old meet record, and ran the fastest 1,500-meter time in the nation, crossing the line in 3:37.99 - over three seconds ahead of the runner-up in the elite invitational section.
It was the first 1,500 of the season for Emanuel, who won the NCAA gold medal in the mile last month. Washington senior Austin Abott, who entered the meet as the national leader in the event, was the nearest collegiate runner, finishing third, nearly four seconds off the pace (3:41.70).
Emanuel's time was the second-fastest in Mountain West Conference history, trailing only former national champion Bryan Berryhill, who ran a 3:37.05 en route to the NCAA 1,500 title in 2001. The Hastings, England product smashed his previous best in the event by nearly three seconds and broke Lobo All-American Kip Koskei's record by 0.69 seconds.
Emanuel's Record-Setting Race (Flotrack.org):
Emanuel Postrace Interview (Flotrack.org):
Earlier in the day, junior Ashley Gibson moved into fourth place on the UNM all-time 1,500 performers list and became the first Lobo woman to qualify for the NCAA regional meet in the event with a time of 4:23.96 in her outdoor debut. The Loughborough, England product finished fifth in the Olympic development section, clocking the fastest time by a Lobo since 1991.
True freshman Ross Millington (Stockport, England) secured his spot in the NCAA regional field as well with a time of 3:45.04 - seventh on the UNM all-time performers list.
The action was fast and furious in the late night 5,000-meter races. Junior Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) became the third Lobo and third runner in MWC history to run under 13:40 in the 5K, clocking an NCAA regional qualifing and career-best time of 13:39.85 in the invitational section (18th). It was Fraser's first race since finishing 11th in the 5K at the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 13.
Fraser Postrace Interview (Flotrack.org):
Fellow junior Nicky Archer continued her stellar outdoor season with a regional qualifying time of 16:47.38 in the women's Olympic development race (!8th). Archer (Cheshire, England) moved into fourth on the UNM all-timer performers list in the 5K.
Three more UNM men joined Fraser in punching their NCAA regional tickets. Junior trasnfer Chris Barnicle clocked a career-best time of 14:00.16 - 8th on the Lobos' all-timer perfomers list - in the Olympic development race (15th). Senior Mat Ashton ran a career-best 14:05.66 - 10th all-time at UNM - in the open/university section (16th) and junior teammate Jacob Kirwa slipped under the regional qualifying standard with a time of 14:11.82 (21st).
Earlier in the day, redshirt freshman Alex Darling (Albuquerque, N.M.) clocked a season-best 4:32.52 - five seconds shy of the NCAA regional qualifying standard - in the university/open section of the 1,500m.