New Mexico Distance Runners Look to Shine at Norte Dame
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/06/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 6, 2008


The New Mexico track and field team will compete in different parts of the nation this weekend. The distance runners will make the trek up to South Bend Ind. for Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational (Feb 8-9) which will feature some of the nation's elite runners. The rest of the Lobo squad, meanwhile, will head north to the Air Force Academy's Don Barrett Invitational on Saturday.


Notre Dame Meyo Invitational: www.und.cstv.com

Air Force Don Barrett Invitational: www.goairforcefalcons.com


"The distance runners will lead off this week in one of the best meet in the country, Notre Dame really does a good job with this meet. The competition is outstanding. The best runners in the country will be at this meet and we'll see sub four-minutes miles. We're hoping for Lee Emanuel to qualify for the Meyo Mile race, which will feature some of the best milers in the country. We're also looking for Mat Ashton, Brock Hagerman, Carolyn Boosey and Michelle Coorigan to have a good meet. For Michelle this will be a good debut for her because it is at sea level. We're hoping to get one of the top three times in the Mountain West this year from her."

"For the rest of the team going to the Don Barrett, we want them to progress on their performances from last week. We also want them to get used to the facility. Robert Caldwell will continue to get better this weekend as well as Sandy Fortner, Josh Cosio and Tiyana Peters. For Josh and Tiyana it's a good venue to jump from because it has such a good approach."


After just two full weeks of competition, New Mexico athletes have already posted some of the best marks in the conference. Junior high jumper Tiyana Peters cleared a height of 5' 7 3/4" on Jan. 19 in Flagstaff to set the bar for the MWC.

Other performances that deserve a tip of the hat, include redshirt freshman Brock Hagerman's time of 4:12.74* in the mile (Jan. 25 in Flagstaff), which is the third-best in the MWC. Junior transfer Lee Emanuel ranks second in the MWC in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.15* (Flagstaff, Ariz. - Jan. 19). Junior high jumper Josh Cosio cleared a height of 6'9" at Penn State, giving him the second-best jump of the young season. Sophomores Alesha Walker and Deanna Young, meanwhile, recorded the second-best marks in the long jump (19' 2 3/4") and triple jump (39'6"), respectively, on Jan. 19 in Flagstaff. Junior pentathlete Sandy Fortner scored 3,691 points at the Penn State National Invitational on Jan. 25 to claim the second spot in the conference.


Sophomore Deanna Young finished second in the triple jump to lead a solid performance by the University of New Mexico jumpers on Feb. 2, at the Air Force Invitational. Young led a 2-4-8 performance by New Mexico in the triple jump with an indoor-best leap of 39' 10 ¾" (12.16m) - just two inches out of first place.

Junior Hagit Salamon was fourth in the event with a season-best mark of 38' 7 ½" (11.77), while fellow junior Brittany Smith was eighth (35' 10" - 10.92m). Salamon also placed third in her first long jump competition of the winter with an indoor-best leap of 18' 7 ¾" (5.68m).

On the men's side, junior Domnick Meadows was outstanding in his season debut, recording indoor bests in the triple jump and long jump. A redshirt last winter, Meadows finished fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 47' 11 ¼" (14.61m) and was eighth in the long jump with a leap of 22' 11 ¾" (7.00m).

Back on the track, sophomore Alesha Walker led all Mountain West Conference sprinters and was third overall in the women's 60 meters with an altitude adjusted time of 7.75. Junior Christina Zarrella, meanwhile, clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 2:19.97 to finish fifth in the 800. Zarrella, who was running the 800 for the first time this season, improved six spots on her finish in Friday's prelims.


Franklin has built his team using some good old home grown talent. Of the 72 student-athletes on the track and field roster 65 are from the Land of Enchantment. Most of the talent pool comes from right here in the Duke City, with 20 men and 13 women calling Albuquerque their home. The state is well represented though. From Gallup to Clovis and Carlsbad to Aztec there is an athlete that has chosen UNM as their home away from home.


Three transfers have made the trip across the pond to run for New Mexico. Juniors Carolyn Boosey, Mat Ashton and Lee Emanuel were lured to New Mexico by he scenic view and historic training grounds that have helped prepare the some of the worlds best runners for big time competition. All three have made an immediate impact in their first seasons as Lobos. Emanuel currently holds the second best time in the MWC in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.15* (Flagstaff, Ariz. - Jan. 19). Boosey has run the second fastest mile for the Lobos this year with a time of 5:17.93* (Flagstaff, Ariz. - Jan. 19). Aston will make his season debut this weekend at the Meyo Invite.


New Mexico will not have the luxury of any indoor home meets this year. The Albuquerque Convention Center, home to New Mexico indoor Track and Field, will not host any events this year as the facilities are booked through the spring. The Lobos are slated to return to the Convention Center in the winter of 2009. UNM competed in all but one regular season indoor meet at the downtown Albuquerque venue in 2006 and 2007.


New Mexico will be without the services of a pair of MWC 400 champions this winter as seniors Jarrin Solomon and Ariel Burr will both redshirt the indoor season. Solomon and Burr will return to action during the outdoor season.

The Lobos also hope to get a huge boost during the outdoor season with the return of senior Jeremy Johnson, a two-time All-American. Johnson has petitioned the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver to replace his injury-plagued 2004 outdoor track season while he was at Arizona. Johnson sat out the '04 outdoor season due to a stress fracture in his leg before returning to UNM in 2005.

Junior distance runner Leslie Luna hopes to return in the spring after undergoing surgery on her foot in November. Junior thrower Sarah Swartwood had knee sugery in December. and will redshirt both the indoor and outdoor seasons.