Lobos Journey Into Arizona Desert For Mesa Classic
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/08/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 8, 2004

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The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field teams travel to Mesa, Ariz. on Friday for their first twilight meet of the year, the Mesa Classic. Several regional universities and junior college teams will be in attendance, along with athletes from the University of Florida and several independent track clubs. The meet opens with the field events at 2 p.m. (MDT), with running events scheduled to start when the heat begins to subside at 6. The final event of the night, the men's 5,000, is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m.

New Mexico enjoyed a tremendous performance in its last appearance at the Mesa Classic in 2002. UNM won seven events, including both 4x400m relay titles. Current Lobos Ben Ortega and Chris Garofola had a hand in two of the victories during both runners' sophomore years. Ortega captured the 5,000, while Garofola helped UNM to a three second victory over MWC rival Colorado State in the mile relay.

UNM also made its mark on the Mesa Classic record book during its last appearance. The mile relay team of David Lloyd, Nick Lott, Chris Garofola and Justin Massey still owns the meet record of 3:14.04, while Kisha Smith's 400-meter hurdles time of 1:02.17 and Monique Harris' triple jump mark of 41-04.25 still stand as meet records as well.


Complete information and results from the Mesa Classic will be available at the following website:

Mesa Classic Results

LAST TIME (at Texas Relays)

AUSTIN, Texas - Several University of New Mexico athletes enjoyed a fine weekend at the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, led by seniors Mark Johnson and Jason Barkemeyer. Johnson's personal record in the pole vault helped the senior move up six places to finish seventh on the final day of the decathlon. Johnson finished with a personal best and NCAA provisional qualifying score of 7,141 in his first appearance at the Texas Relays.

Barkemeyer, meanwhile, needed only one throw on Friday afternoon to secure his second spot in the field of the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet later this spring. Barkemeyer shattered his personal best on his first attempt in the discus, recording a regional qualifying mark of 173-02 to finish fourth in section B competition at the Texas Relays. Already a qualifier in the shot put, the Belen, N.M. native will compete in both events at the regional meet for the second straight year.

In other action at Mike A. Myers Stadium, senior Chris Garofola clocked a time of 53.82 to finish fourth in his heat and a solid 23rd overall in the 400-meter hurdles. Junior Jamie Fishencord, meanwhile, notched her third NCAA regional qualifying mark in the hammer, finishing third in her flight and 14th overall with a mark of 174-03.

Junior Veronica R. Gonzales finished ninth overall in section B javelin competition with a throw of 139-00. Garofola placed third in his heat and 32nd overall in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.83 and senior Jimmy Minner finished fifth in his flight with a 184-06 throw in the section B javelin competition. Finally, the women's distance medley relay team of of Amanda Swann, Kimilia Davis, Riann Lucy and Jacquelyne Gallegos crossed the line in 12:08.18 in front of a large Saturday crowd at Mike A. Myers Stadium to finish 14th.


University of New Mexico senior Mark Johnson was named Mountain West Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week the league announced. Johnson earned the award for the first time in his career after his performance in the decathlon at the prestigious Texas Relays last week. The Fontana, Wisc. native is the fifth member of the UNM men's team to win the weekly award. Distance runner Matt Gonzales was the lone Lobo to be honored last spring.

Johnson is the fifth Lobo to earn MWC Men's Track & Field Athete of the Week honors.

Johnson set personal records in his final four events of the decathlon to move up six places on the second day of competition to finish seventh in a field featuring many of the nation's top competitors at the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Johnson posted a personal best and NCAA provisional qualifying score of 7,141 in his first appearance at the meet. It is also the highest point total in the MWC this season.

After finishing the first day in 13th place, Johnson notched a personal record in the discus (127-01) before notching 16-04.75 in the pole vault (tied for third), nearly eight inches above his previous best. Johnson capped his afternoon with two more personal records in the javelin (144-04) and 1,500-meter run (4:44.46). Overall, he collected personal bests in five events, including the 100 (11.30), during the 10-event competition to eclipse the provisional qualifying score (by 141 points) for the first time in his career.

Johnson, the 2004 MWC indoor heptathlon champion and 2002 MWC decathlon champ, was one of 11 in the 16-man field to surpass the provisional standard, while three athletes secured automatic bids to the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships. The defending league decathlon champion, Curtis Pugsley (7,044 pts.), and runner-up, Devin Scoresby (6,854 pts.), both of BYU, finished tied for ninth and 12th, respectively.


Two-sport standout Alfred Neale, who was scheduled to make his high jump debut last weekend in El Paso, will in not likely to compete in 2004...a two-time junior college All-American, Neale recently added a Saturday course to his class schedule, which conflicts with the UNM track meet schedule...junior Matt Keeran, a two-time all-MWC honoree in the javelin, will also miss the 2004 season after having surgery on his injured elbow....senior Jimmy Minner, however, has returned to competition after being projected to redshirt the '04 campaign...Minner, a NCAA regional qualifier last spring, owns the team's top mark this season...head coach Matt Henry decided to redshirt senior sprinter Ahmed Raji for the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons...Raji, an all-MWC honoree in the 200m and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, will return in 2005 for his final collegiate season.


Head coach Matt Henry recently announced that Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming will headline the field of the 14th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, to be held at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, May 1. Regional teams Adams State and Northern Colorado will also be in attendance. The meet, sponsored by the Albuquerque-based lawfirm Modrall Sperling, is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.


In 2003 the NCAA began use of head-to-head competition for the first to determine the outdoor track and field national championship field. This year, athletes must meet regional qualifying standards during the season to secure a berth in the field of their respective regional championship meets (East, Mideast, Midwest, West). Once at the regional meet, athletes need only to finish in the top-five of their respective events to advance to the national championship meet. However, competitors in the 10,000-meter run, heptathlon and decathlon still must use the old system of meeting provisional or automatic qualifying standards to earn a spot in the national championship field. The following is a quick overview of the NCAA Championship qualifying system:

Regional Qualifying: Athletes must meet minimum standards in their respective events, except for the 10,000m and heptathlon/decathlon, during the regular season in order to compete at the NCAA Regional Championship Meets the last weekend of May.

National Qualifying: Athletes, except for competitors in the 10,000 and heptathlon/decathlon, must place among the top-five in their respective events at the regional championship meet in order to advance to the national championship meet, June 11-4 in Sacramento, Calif.

Provisional Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K and heptathlon/decathlon who meet the provisional qualifying standard during the season are candidates to be selected for the national championship field. Provisional qualifiers are selected using a descending order performance list. The number of athletes selected from the provisional qualifiers list is determined by the number of automatic qualifiers in each event. The total number of athletes in the national championship field of each event is generally 16-18.

Automatic Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K or heptathlon/decathlon who meet the automatic qualifying standard during the season are guaranteed a spot in the national championship field.


Through three meets this spring, six New Mexico athletes and have earned qualifying marks for either the NCAA national or regional championship meets. Last year, 17 Lobos, including members of both the men's 4x400m and 4x100m relay teams, qualified for the regional meet. UNM had athletes in four different women's events and 12 men's events earn qualifying marks during the season.

NCAA Provisional Qualifiers

Sr. Mark Johnson

Decathlon * 7,141 pts. * Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (March 31 - April 1)

NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers

Sr. Jason Barkermeyer

Shot Put * 56-09.50 * UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (March 27)

Discus * 173-02 * Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 2)

Jr. Amanda Barnes

Shot Put * 48-02.75 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)

Fr. Kayla Brown

Javelin * 142-05 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)

Jr. Jamie Fishencord

Hammer * 177-06 * UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (March 27)

Jr. Veronica R. Gonzales

Javelin * 142-01 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)


The New Mexico men's team recorded its best indoor conference meet score in 14 years...the Lobos finished fifth for the fourth straight year, but their 66 points were the most since tallying 118 in a second place finish at the 1990 WAC Championships...Amanda Barnes (shot put), Matt Gonzales (mile), Chris Garofola (200m), Mark Johnson (heptathlon), and the men's and women's distance medley relay teams earned all-MWC honors for New Mexico...Johnson's win in the heptathlon marked the first victory at the indoor conference meet for the UNM men in 13 years, since Chip Smith captured the 3,000 meters at the 1991 Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships...the UNM men and women combined for 15 event victories over the winter, one more than their total of a year ago...four women and four men earned the first wins of their indoor career this season.


INDIANAPOLIS -- University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales finished 13th out of a field of 112 runners in the 4,000-meter race at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships on Feb. 7. Gonzales clocked a time of 11:42, just 20 seconds shy of earning a spot on the national team, in his first Cross Country Championships appearance. The top six finishers in the men's 4K and the 12,000-meter race were automatically selected for the USA national team.

Gonzales' time was also just 28 seconds behind the winner, Charlie Gruber, who was running for Nike Unattached. The Santa Fe native also finished 12 spots ahead of former Colorado State standout Bryan Berryhill, a former NCAA Champion and USA runner-up in the 1,500 last year.

"I really thought he could make that team," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He told me that he got off to a slow start and that it took him awhile to get used to the snow on the course, but he said that he passed at least 10 people on the final loop."