Feb. 5, 2006
LINCOLN, Neb. - Senior Timmie Murphy's breakthrough season continued on Saturday evening as she finished third in women's 3,000-meter run at Nebraska's Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational. Murphy recorded her career best in the event for the third straight week and just missed teammate Jacquelyne Gallegos' school record with a time of 9:46.99. New Mexico's Leslie Luna (7th) and Gallegos (9th) also placed among the top-10 in the event, while junior Jeremy Johnson was sixth in the men's 3,000.
Coming off her best cross country season, where she earned first team all-Mountain West Conference and all-NCAA Mountain Region honors, Murphy has showed no signs of slowing down in 2006. The Farmington, N.M. native has lowered her top 3,000 time by 33 seconds and finished among the top-3 in all four races this winter. Luna also clocked a personal record time of 9:57.51 to give the Lobo women a pair of sub-10:00 runners indoors for the first time in head coach Matt Henry's six years. Gallegos, who set the school 3K record with a time of 9:45.99 last year, was timed at a season-best 10:02.84 on Saturday as she continues to work her way back from a late season cross country injury.
On the men's side, Johnson shaved seven seconds off his personal record and defeated 29 other runners en route to a time of 8:17.20. The Albuquerque Manzano HS product's performance this winter has helped make up for the loss of the Lobos' top three distance men from 2005, including MWC champions Matt Gonzales and Ben Ortega.
Elsewhere, senior Derek Mackel and junior Robert Caldwell finished third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault, both with a mark of 17 feet even. Mackel, who came into the meet ranked fourth in the nation, entered the competition when the bar went to 17 feet, which he cleared on his first attempt. For the first time in three weeks, however, he was unable to go any higher as he missed all three runs at 17-05.75. Caldwell needed his third and final attempts to clear 16-06.00 and 17 feet before exiting at 17-05.75. Stanford's Graeme Hoste won the event with a mark of 17-07.75, while Nebraska's Gable Baldwin, the No. 11 vaulter in the country, was second (17-05.75).
Back on the track, sophomore Ariel Burr clocked a time of 56.79 to finish 9th out of 28 in her first 400-meter race of the year. Burr, who owns the UNM outdoor record in the event, missed her PR by 0.04 seconds. Fellow sophomore sprinters Shakira Williams, Tabatha Shaw and Kristan Matison all turned in strong efforts as well on Saturday. Williams clocked a personal best 59.03 (21st) in the 400, while Shaw recorded a PR time of 25.43 (17th) in the 200 and Matison matched her best for the second week in a row with a 7.77 (T19th) effort in the 60.
In other action, junior Riann Lucy finished a solid 15th (2:18.95) in a 35-woman field in the 800, while sophomore Jarrin Solomon was 12th out of 43 (49.21) in the men's 400. Junior Jeramie White clocked a season-best 22.32 to finish 19th out of 44 in the 200.
The UNM men and women return home to the Albuquerque Convention Center this week for the Albuquerque Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 11. Conference rivals Air Force, BYU and San Diego State, and two powerful Texas teams in Houston and Abilene Christian highlight the field. The meet opens at 9 a.m. with the running events to begin at 10:30. Tickets are available at the door - $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under.