New Mexico Heads To Lone Star State For 78th Texas Relays
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/06/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 6, 2005

The University of New Mexico track and field team will send a group of 13 men and women to Austin, Texas this week for the 78th running of the elite Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by Nike Timing. Some of the world's most decorated track and field athletes will represent Team USA at the Texas Relays, which also features a collection of the nation's finest collegiate and prep athletes. Nearly 5,000 athletes will compete in 125 events at Mike A. Myers Stadium over the four-day meet.

The Lobo contingent takes the field at noon (MST) on Thursday, April 7 when seniors Amanda Barnes and Jamie Fishencord compete in the section B hammer throw. Sophomore Robert Caldwell will join the section B pole vault competition later that afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Fishencord finished 14th in the hammer at the 2004 Texas Relays with a mark of 174-03.

UNM gets off to an early start on Friday, April 8 when the women's 4x400-meter relay team (Jr. Kimilia Davis, So. Brandie Mills, So. KC Pritchard, Fr. Ariel Burr) races in the prelims at 8:30 a.m. and senior Veronica R. Gonzales and junior Jessica McIntyre compete in the section B javelin at 9 a.m. Senior Jordan Parker will be a part of the section B shot put (11:30 a.m.) and discus (2 p.m.) events, while Barnes and Fishencord will join the section B discus competition at noon. Senior Matt Keeran wraps up the day's action with an appearance in the section B javelin at 6 p.m. Gonzales placed ninth in section B last year, notching a mark of 139-00, while Keeran finished seventh in the section B javelin at the 2003 Texas Relays with a throw of 205-09.

The competition heats up on Saturday, April 8 with Barnes, senior Derek Mackel and freshman Whitney Johnson all battling some of the nation's top talent in section A events. Johnson gets things started at 11 a.m., taking on a women's pole vault field that includes three nationally-ranked opponents in No. 4 Breanna Eveland (Kansas State), No. 8 Stacie Manuel (Arkansas) and 11th-ranked Ekaterina Sultanova (Kansas). Eveland. Texas Tech's Kelley Shulz, who was ranked during the indoor season, is also in the field. Eveland and Shulz finished 1-2, ahead of third place Johnson, last week in El Paso, both clearing well over 13 feet.

Barnes will put her streak of three-straight shot put victories on the line at 1:30 p.m. as she battles a field that will feature three top-10 athletes, including top-ranked Kim Barrett of Miami and No. 2 Michelle Carter of Texas. Ninth-ranked Jessica Pressley of Arizona State will also be among the competitors. Barnes will make her third straight appearance in the section A shot put competition at the Texas Relays. She finished 13th as a sophomore with a mark of 46-00.75 and was 13th again last year with a toss of 46-07.25.

Mackel will conclude the week of action at 2 p.m. when he competes in the men's pole vault. The Albuquerque Sandia High School product will take on four top-10 athletes in the field, including No. 2 Ray Scotten (Nebraska), No. 4 Scott Martin (Oklahoma), No. 7 Brandon Glenn (Arizona State) and No. 8 Gabe Baldwin (Nebraska).

Complete information and live event-by-event results from the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays will be available at the official website of the Texas Relays:

Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays Information/Results

Headlining the Team USA competitors are Olympic champions Maurice Greene, Allen Johnson, Derrick Brew, Jeremy Wariner, Sanya Richards and Inger Miller. The dominant 100-meter performer of his era, Greene will be making his 10th Texas Relays appearance. The former world-record holder in the 100 meters was tabbed the 1995 Texas Relays Most Outstanding Male Performer when, as a relatively unknown 20-year old, he defeated Carl Lewis to win the Invitational 100 meters. Greene won the a pair of medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, taking silver in the 4x100-meter relay and bronze in the 100 meters. In the 2000 Games in Sydney he won gold in both events.

Former Baylor star Jeremy Wariner will make his first Texas Relays appearance as a professional athlete. After winning the 2004 NCAA Outdoor 400-meter title at Mike A. Myers Stadium in June, Wariner shocked the world with his gold-medal winning performance at the Olympic Games in Athens. He also ran the third leg on USA's 4x400-meter relay that won the Olympic gold.

Allen Johnson is the greatest hurdler in World Championships history, having won seven crowns at the IAAF Indoor and Outdoor Championships. Johnson, who won the Olympic 110-meter hurdles gold in 1996, last competed at the Texas Relays in 2002 when he won the Invitational 110-meter hurdles.

Former LSU All-American Derrick Brew earned a pair of medals in Athens, running the second leg of USA's gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay in addition to winning bronze in the 400 meters.

Leading the women's competitors is former UT great Sanya Richards, who ran the third leg on USA's winning 4x400-meter relay in Athens. One of the world's top 400-meter runners, Richards won five NCAA crowns during her two years as a Longhorn (2003-04). In 2004 she broke the World Junior Indoor 400-meter record and topped her own American Junior Outdoor record. Fellow Olympic gold-medal winner Inger Miller was on USA's 4x100-meter relay that won the gold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Also scheduled to compete at this year's Texas Relays are 2004 Olympic medalists Bernard Williams, Terrence Trammell, Lauryn Williams and Allyson Felix.

Collegiate teams scheduled for competition include seven of the top-10 finishers from the 2005 NCAA Men's Indoor Championship, and six of the top-10 finishers from the 2005 NCAA Women's Indoor Championship.

In an effort to compete against the top talent available, head coach Matt Henry announced that the Lobos will travel to the Mesa (Ariz.) Track and Field Classic meet on Saturday, April 16 and send a contingent to the Mt. SAC Relays, April 15-17, instead of hosting the Modrall Sperling Lobo Open. The move west also gives New Mexico more chances to compete at sea level, which could help the qualifying chances of the team's runners. This could prove especially valuable this spring with the Mountain West Conference Championships being held in the mountains of Fort Collins, Colo.

The Lobos will still host the 15th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, sponsored by the Modrall Sperling law firm, on Saturday, April 30 at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. MWC foes Colorado State and Wyoming will headline the field, which will also include athletes from several regional colleges.

Senior Matt Gonzales' well-earned reputation as one of the premier distance runners in the nation propelled the University of New Mexico men's track team to its first-ever appearance in the Trackwire Top-25 power rankings, which were released April 5. New Mexico is tied for 25th with South Carolina and Texas A&M in the first rankings of the outdoor season, which project a score of 10 points for the Lobos at the 2005 NCAA Championship meet. Gonzales opened the spring ranked fourth in the country in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races on the Trackwire Dandy Dozen list.

The Trackwire 25 projects a hypothetical score for the NCAA Championship meet, factoring in injury reports and other variables supported by information gathered from coaches and NCAA-qualifying competitions across the country. The projection is generated by scoring the Dandy Dozen, a power ranking of the top-12 athletes and relay squads in each NCAA event.

Available online since the 1997 season, the Trackwire 25 has established itself as the most widely respected and reported ranking of Division I collegiate track and field teams. During the collegiate track season, weekly updates are available via email, and free registration is available at www.trackwire.com.

A two-time All-American in the 10,000 outdoors, Gonzales earned All-America laurels for the first time indoors with a fourth place finish in the 5,000 at last month's NCAA Championship meet in Fayetteville, Ark. The Santa Fe native qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in the 1,500 in his lone race of the outdoor season on March 26 at Stanford and is scheduled to run the 5,000 in two weeks at the Mt. SAC Relays.

In the spring of 1965, head coach Hugh Hackett assembled one of the greatest track and field teams in University of New Mexico history. Under Hackett, the Lobos never lost a meet that spring and asserted themselves as a bonafide national power with a stirring 93 1/3 to 46 2/3 upset of USC at University Stadium in Albuquerque. New Mexico won every race on the track as they handed the mighty Trojans their first loss in three years and just their second defeat in 20 years.

New Mexico won five events on the track to capture its second consecutive Western Athletic Conference championship before taking on the field at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Berkeley. Clarence Robinson swept the long (25-10.50) and triple jump (50-02.00) to lead the Lobos to a fifth place finish with a program-best 25 points, just seven points behind co-national champions Oregon and USC. Robinson's school record of 26-09.25 in the long jump and the 440-yard relay team's (Bernie Rivers, Art Carter, Steve Caminiti, René Matison) converted 4x100-meter time of 39.84, both set in `65, remain two of the oldest school records at UNM.

New Mexico went on to capture two more WAC titles in 1966 and `67, and finished tied for 11th and tied for fifth at the NCAA Championships in both years, respectively. The 1966 team had four individuals and one relay team earn All-America honors after bringing home seven conference event victories. In `67, Art Baxter captured the triple jump national crown and Web Loudat earned All-America accolades in the steeplechase, while the Lobos won six events at the WAC Outdoor Championships.

After just three weeks this spring, 10 New Mexico athletes and have already earned qualifying marks for either the NCAA national or regional championship meets. During the 2004 outdoor season, 12 Lobos earned qualifying marks for either the national or regional meets. UNM athletes qualified in four different women's events and seven men's events last year. The following is a look at the 2005 qualifiers:

NCAA Provisional Qualifiers

(1 in 1 men's event)

Sr. Ben Ortega

10,000m • 29:10.34 • Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (March 25)

NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers

(9 in 5 men's and 3 women's events)

Sr. Amanda Barnes

Shot Put • 52-01.25 • Willie Williams Classic - Tucson, Ariz. (March 18)

Sr. Jamie Fishencord

Hammer • 183-09 • UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (April 2)

Sr. Matt Gonzales

1,500m • 3:43.31 • Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (March 26)

Sr. Veronica Gonzales

Javelin • 148-02 • UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (April 2)

Fr. Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott

5,000m • 14:03.32 • Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (March 25)

Sr. Derek Mackel

Pole Vault • 17-00.75 • UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (April 2)

Jr. Jessica McIntyre

Javelin • 144-10 • Willie Williams Classic - Tucson, Ariz. (March 18)

Sr. Alfred Neale

High Jump • 6-10.75 • UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (April 2)

Sr. Jordan Parker

Shot Put • 55-03.00 • Willie Williams Classic - Tucson, Ariz. (March 18)

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