Jan. 31, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico added two more provisional qualifiers for the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships as the New Mexico Multis and Invitational wrapped up today at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Junior transfer Rory Fraser broke a 16-year-old record in the 3,000 meters with an altitude adjusted time of 8:03.75, while fifth-year senior Ariel Burr returned to the national 400 rankings with a time of 54.38.
Collegiate athletes turned in 20 provisional and two automatic qualifying performances, along with three facility records during the two-day meet.
Fraser got a big assist from senior teammate Lee Emanuel, the Lobos' middle distance standout who set an outstanding pace in the 3,000 before stepping aside midway through the race. After narrowly missing the NCAA provisional standard in winning the mile last week in his Lobo track debut Fraser poured it on over the last few laps to break Chip Smith's 1993 record by 3.25 seconds.
Burr, meanwhile, enjoyed an tremendous day on the oval. The Carrizozo, N.M. product edged Texas Tech's Trudeann Clarke by 0.02 seconds to pick up her first 400 victory of the year after redshirting during the winter of 2008.
Burr came back later in the afternoon to finish a strong second in the 200 with a career-best time of 24.43. She led all collegians and finished 0.19 seconds behind former Houston All-American and 2008 Olympian (400m) Ebonie Floyd-Broadnax.
New Mexico also received a big performance from the men's 4x400 team of Jarrin Solomon, Philip Reid, Ryan Steadman, and Dominick Roberts which finished a close second behind Texas Tech with a time of 3:13.59 - the best by a Lobo foursome in over a decade.
Junior transfer Nicky Archer - New Mexico's top finisher at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships - was victorious in her American track debut. The product of Cheshire, England recorded an altitude adjusted time of 9:40.71 - just off the NCAA provisional qualifying standard - after junior teammate Ashley Gibson set a strong early pace. Senior Michelle Corrigan was second with an adjusted time of 10:06.94 in her season debut.
Elsewhere, senior Jermaine McQueen finished third in the 200 with a time of 21.69 - the best by a Lobo since 2001 when Larry Davis set the indoor record with a time of 21.44. Both McQueen and Davis were wide receivers for the UNM football team.
McQueen's performance came after finishing fourth in the 60 with a season-best altitude adjusted time of 6.96. The time would have been even faster if not for a double clutch out of the starting blocks by the Raleigh, N.C. product.
Sophomore teammate Chris Keeling, who is competing unattached this season while he redshirts the 2009 indoor season, clocked an adjusted time of 6.95 in a third place finish.
Redshirt freshman Alex Darling recorded an altitude adjusted time of 2:14.78 - the best by a Lobo in three years - in a second place finish in the women's 800. Fellow Albuquerque La Cueva product Chad Clark also had a solid day, placing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles finals with an adjusted time of 8.57.
Freshman Brandon Simpson, a product of Albuquerque Cibola, was the runner-up in the high jump with a leap of 6' 6 ¾" (2.00m) in his collegiate debut.
UNM returns to action next Saturday, Feb. 7, when it hosts the final indoor meet of 2009 at the Convention Center, the New Mexico Classic.