Sept. 3, 2008
UPCOMINGThe 2008 University of New Mexico cross country season officially gets underway on Saturday with the ninth annual of the Lobo Invitational meet. The host Lobos welcome a regional field that includes national power UTEP, New Mexico State, New Mexico Highlands, Western New Mexico and Diné College to one of America's best on-campus cross country courses at the UNM North Golf Course.
Twenty-two New Mexico high schools will also be competing as part of the seven-race event. The high school varsity races begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by the collegiate competition/open at 9:45. All races will be 5,000 meters, except for the collegiate men, who will run a 6K. Admission is free.
NEW MEXICO PROJECTED TOP-SEVENWOMEN:
Jr. Vanessa Ortiz (Scored in all 10 career races...3rd at `07 Lobo Invite...`06 MWC Fr. of the Year (18th))
Sr. Carolyn Boosey (Scored in all 5 races in `07...7th at `07 Lobo Invitational...'08 team captain)
Jr. Nicky Archer (Transfer from University of Birmingham (England)...lifetime best of 16:38 - 5K)
Sr. Leslie Luna (2-time all-MWC & all-Mountain Region...Lobos' No. 2 runner in `06...medical redshirt in `07)
Sr. Stasia Ploskonka (14 career races...24th at `07 Lobo Invitational...'08 team captain)
Fr. Laura Lavezo (2007 class 5A state cross country champion at Albuquerque La Cueva)
Fr. Lacey Oeding (2-time class 3A all-state cross country runner at Jasper (Ind.) HS)
Jr. Jacob Kirwa (Transfer from Diné College (Shiprock, N.M.)...two-time USCAA national XC champion)
Jr. Rory Fraser (Transfer from Leeds Metropolitan University (England)...member of Great Britain Jr. Nat'l Team)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (Scored 4x in 6 races in `07...MWC 1,500m champion/NCAA qualifier...'08 team captain)
Jr. Brian Vallie (Scored 3x in 7 career races...2007 2nd team all-MWC...all-MWC 800m)
Jr. Alex Willis (Has scored 4 times in 11 meets...top-7 in all 6 races in `07...15th at `07 Lobo Invitational)
Jr. David Bishop (Transfer from University of Wales Institute, Cardiff...British University 3K champion)
So. Jason Petty (Scored in all 6 races as a true freshman in `06...redshirt in `07)
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSComplete information and results from the 2008 Lobo Invitational can be found on the official athletic department website of the New Mexico Lobos:
8:00 a.m. - Community Fun Run (5,000m)
8:45 a.m. - Varsity Boys (5,000m)
9:15 a.m. - Varsity Girls (5,000m)
9:45 a.m. - Collegiate Men/Open (8,000m)
10:15 a.m. - Collegiate Women/Open (5,000m)
10:45 a.m. - Junior Varsity Boys (5,000m)
11:15 a.m. - Junior Varsity Girls (5,000m)
11:45 a.m. - C Team Boys & Girls
DIRECTIONS: (the golf course is located near the corner of Yale Blvd. and Tucker Rd. on the UNM North Campus)
(from I-25 north) Take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.
(from I-25 south) Take Lomas exit and turn left, heading east on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.
(from I-40) Exit I-25 south then take Lomas exit and head east, towards the mountains, on Lomas Blvd. Turn left on Yale Blvd. and continue north before turning right on Tucker Rd. The golf course clubhouse and parking lot will be on the left.
LOBO INVITATIONAL HISTORYThe 2008 season marks the ninth running of the UNM Lobo Invitational. After a six-year absence, former head coach Matt Henry brought NCAA cross country competition back to Albuquerque with the 2000 Lobo Invitational. In 2002, the meet was expanded to include six high school races and in 2004, a 5K community fun run was added to open the day.
Each year, thousands of distance running fans have flocked to UNM's North Campus to watch the competition on one of the most spectator-friendly cross country courses in the nation.
Six different teams have won the men's title, including the host Lobos in 2002 and `04. The UTEP men have won the past two meets, including a meet record score of 19 points last fall. Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott is the only UNM runner to win the individual race (`04), while Air Force's Ben Payne (`01, `02) and UTEP's Stephen Samoei (`06, `07) are the only two time men's winners. Payne's time of 24:01 in `02 is the North Course record.
The women's race has seen seven different team champions with Air Force taking back-to-back titles in 2001 and `02, and New Mexico winning for the first time last year. UNM and Western State College (`01) share the meet record with a score of 21 points. New Mexico has had two individual winners in Sarah Gonzales (2001) and Jacquelyne Gallegos (2005). Gallegos set the 6,000m course record with her time of 21:37 in 2005. Unattached runner Ava Hutchison became the first to win the 5,000m women's race last year. Women had run a 6K from 2000-06.
BREAKING DOWN THE FIELDCollegiate Teams (6):
Diné College (6-time USCAA men's national champions);
New Mexico (10 men's & women's starters returning, preseason top-3 MWC);
New Mexico Highlands (preseason No. 10 NCAA Division II men);
New Mexico State (6th in WAC in `07);
UTEP (preseason C-USA men's favorites, women 5th).
High School Teams (22): Albuquerque Academy; Belen HS; Cibola HS; Cuba HS; Eldorado HS; Estancia HS; Hope Christian HS; La Cueva HS; Los Alamos HS; Manzano HS; McCurdy HS; Pojoaque Valley HS; Rio Grande HS; Rio Rancho HS; Sandia HS; Sandia Prep HS; St. Michael's HS; St. Pius X HS; Thoreau HS; West Las Vegas HS; Wingate HS; Zuni HS.
FROM HEAD COACH Joe Franklin"This meet is important for many reasons. Primarily it's a great chance for our sea level kids to get their first race at altitude. They've been training at altitude, but they need to see what a high altitude race really feels like. This meet is also important for our runners that are coming off of redshirt seasons to see what kind of progress they've made over the past 12 months. For younger guys like Patrick Ortiz or Jason Petty, and people coming off of injuries, like Leslie Luna, this is an opportunity for them to see where they're at in their training."
"We're going to rest several of our top athletes this week, including Michelle Corrigan, Mat Ashton, Brock Hagerman and Laura Bowerman. They've been training very hard lately and they'll do plenty of racing for us later this fall, so we want to hold them back to keep them fresh toward the end of the season. They're all scheduled to make their debut when we go to Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational."
"We're always happy to run at home. This is a great course and running at home in Albuquerque is great. We're very proud of our cross country tradition here at UNM and we want to show people the kind of distance runners we have in this program. With over 20 high school teams competing as well, this meet is always an exciting event."
ABOUT THE UNM NORTH GOLF COURSEThe UNM North Golf Course has been the home of Lobo cross country since 2000 and has been the site of the 2002 and 2006 NCAA Mountain Region Championships, and 2003 and 2007 Mountain West Conference Championship meets.
Each year thousands of vocal and knowledgeable New Mexico distance running enthusiasts line the North Golf Course to see their Lobos compete against some of the nation's finest cross country teams. The spectator-friendly course winds its way over gentle grassy slopes, around majestic trees and through the cheering crowd several times, giving athletes a tremendous boost.
COMMUNITY 5K FUN RUNRegistration is now available for the University of New Mexico Community 5K Fun Run on the GoLobos.com cross country page. For just $10, runners of any age and ability can be a part of the Lobo Invitational - one of the biggest cross country meets in the state of New Mexico - and race on one of America's finest on-campus courses as they support the UNM cross country/track and field program.
The Lobo Invitational opens with the Community Fun Run at 8 a.m., and continues with five high school races and two collegiate races. While there will not be any official times printed for the Fun Run, participants can check their results on the running clock above the finish line.
Registration is $10 (cash or check paid at the course) and is due by 7:45 a.m. on Saturday morning. All proceeds go toward the UNM cross country/track & field program.
2008 LOBO CROSS COUNTRY SNEAK PEEKYear two of the Joe Franklin Era at the University of New Mexico should be an exciting one with a experienced talent and promising newcomers filling the men's and women's rosters. The Lobo men were picked to finish second in the preseason Mountain West Conference coaches poll - their highest projection since the league was formed in 1999 - while the women were tabbed for third place.
Both the men and women return five of their top-7 runners from 2007. The women are led by senior Michelle Corrigan, a first team all-MWC honoree who set the school indoor record in the 5,000 meters last winter. Corrigan is one of three senior starters back for the women, along with fellow captains Carolyn Boosey and Stasia Ploskonka. UNM should continue to get scoring points from junior Vanessa Ortiz as well.
Franklin has also added 10 newcomers to an increasingly deep and talented women's side, led by senior transfer Laura Bowerman - a two-time all-NCAA South Region selection and 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships qualifier at Florida State. Junior transfer Nicky Archer (Cheshire, England) and prep standouts Laura Lavezo (Albuquerque La Cueva) and Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) could also make big impacts in their Division I debuts.
The men's team lost All-American and MWC champion Jeremy Johnson to graduation, but return a trio of second team all-conference runners in senior Mat Ashton, junior Brock Hagerman and junior Brian Vallie from last year's MWC runner-up squad. Ashton went on to finish 10th in the 10,000 at the 2008 NCAA Track Championships, while Hagerman earned all-NCAA Mountain Region honors in cross country.
Senior Lee Emanuel should be a be a bigger factor this fall after an outstanding track season, highlighted by his MWC gold and NCAA appearance in the 1,500, and indoor school record in the mile. The Lobos also return improving junior Alex Willis and sophomore Jason Petty, who redshirted last fall after scoring in every meet as a true freshman.
Junior transfers Jacob Kirwa - a two-time USCAA national champion at Diné College - Rory Fraser (Leicester, England) and David Bishop (Chippenham, England) should help give the New Mexico men one of the deeper teams in the Mountain West in 2008.
A LOOK BACK AT 2007The 2007 UNM cross country season will go down as one of the more memorable campaigns in school history. Joe Franklin built upon the strong foundation laid down by retired head coach Matt Henry and gave the program a shot of energy in his first season at New Mexico.
Here are some of the highlights from the 2007 season:
Senior Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque Manzano) earned All-America honors with a 20th place finish in his NCAA Cross Country Championships debut...it was the fourth-highest finish in program history.
Johnson and sophomore Brock Hagerman both earned all-NCAA Mountain Region honors to help the men's team finish fifth - its best at the regional meet since 2004, but just shy of the NCAA qualifying cut...Johnson's third place finish was the second-highest in program history.
Johnson turned in a wire-to-wire victory at the Mountain West Conference Championship meet in Albuquerque to lead the UNM men to a second place finish (51 points) - just five points behind BYU - in its best conference performance since 1988...the men recorded their best score at the conference meet since 1965...Johnson became the first native New Mexican to win a conference cross country title for the Lobos since John Baker in 1964 and was the second UNM champion in the last 41 years...senior Mat Ashton and sophomores Brock Hagerman and Brian Vallie earned second team all-MWC honors.
Junior Michelle Corrigan finished fifth to help the women's team place third at the MWC Championships...New Mexico placed both its men's and women's team among the top-three at the conference meet for the first since `88...Corrigan gave the Lobos a first team all-conference runner for a fifth-straight season - the longest streak in program history...the women placed all five scoring runners in the top-30 at the conference championships for the first time since 1986.
Johnson took home back-to-back MWC Athlete of the Week awards on Oct. 3 and Oct. 17, becoming the first UNM men's runner to earn Athlete of the Week honors twice in the same season...Johnson and Jacquelyne Gallegos are the only New Mexico runners to win the award three times in a career.
The UNM women's team opened the season with a bang, winning the Lobo Invitational for the first time since it moved to campus in 2000...New Mexico matched the meet record set by Division II power Western State in 2000 with a score of 21 points - 24 ahead of runner-up UTEP.