May 2, 2009
Complete\ Results\ \-\ Rio\ Rancho\ High\ School\ Invitational
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - It was a fitting finale for one of the University of New Mexico's finest homegrown track and field athletes. With the home crowd rocking at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium, senior Anthony Fairbanks unleashed a season-best throw of 219' 1" (66.78m) on his fifth attempt to knock off UTEP All-American Alex van der Merwe in the final collegiate event of the 19th Don Kirby Memorial Invitational. The Albuquerque Highland product was one of 14 UNM seniors who bid farewell in their final home meet today.
Second-year Lobo head coach Joe Franklin and his staff put on one of the largest UNM home meets in recent history, merging the Rio Rancho High School Invitational with the Don Kirby Invitational for a field of over 1,000 athletes. Unfortunately, Mother Nature caused a few headaches once again as the athletes had to endure three mandatory 30-minute lighting delays midway through the meet. The weather in the Duke City had been virtually perfect for nearly two weeks leading up to Saturday's event.
The delays didn't phase Fairbanks, however, as he finished his final season undefeated at home (2-0) with a stirring upset of the Miners' outstanding thrower van der Merwe, who finished fifth in the even at the 2008 NCAA Championships. Fairbanks moved up to 24th on the current NCAA descending order list.
While Fairbanks excelled in his fifth home meet, UNM freshman Ty Kirk turned in a sensational collegiate debut. The Lobo wide receiver uncorked a Mountain West Conference-leading and NCAA regional qualifying leap of 50' 11" (15.52m) on his second attempt. It was the longest jump at UNM since 1984, sixth on the UNM all-time list and over a 2-foot personal record for Kirk. The Arlington Heights, Ill. product recorded his previous best of 48' 6 ¾" in a seventh place finish at the 2007 U.S. Junior Olympics.
Kirk finished third in the event, which was won by South Plains' Kyron Blaise, who smashed the stadium record with a mark of 53' 1 ¾" (16.20m). New Mexico senior Domnick Meadows recorded a career-best 48' 7 ½" (14.82m) to place fifth in the stellar field.
Meadows punched his ticket to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships earlier in the day in the long jump, qualifying for the first time with a career-best leap of 24' 1" (7.34m) - over six inches beyond his previous best and the second-best leap in the MWC this spring.
UTEP got an upset of its own in one of the marquee events on the track as sophomore Anderson Mutegi pulled away from New Mexico senior All-American Jarrin Solomon late in the men's 400 meters. Mutegi clocked with ninth-fastest time in the country - an altitude-adjusted 46.08 - to hold off Solomon by 0.29 seconds in the Albuquerque La Cueva product's final home meet. Solomon's adjusted time of 46.37 was his second-fastest of the season and came after an hour weather delay.
New Mexico won 10 events on the day with the senior class accounting for six of the victories.
Senior All-American Katie Coronado captured the javelin with a throw of 159' 6" (48.62m) despite being interrupted by the third lighting delay of the meet.
Junior Alesha Walker cruised to victory in the long jump with a mark of 20' 6 ¼" (6.25m). Senior teammate Brittany Smith and sophomore Asal Salehpoor tied for fourth with career-best leaps of 19' ¾" (5.81m).
Fifth-year senior Whitney Johnson capped an undefeated home season with a winning jump of 11' 11 ¾" (3.65m) in the pole vault. Junior teammate Aditi Majumdar was second with a lifetime best of 11' 5 ¾" (3.50m).
Junior Matthew Henry-Marshall captured the men's discus with a throw of 160' (48.76m).
On the oval, fifth-year senior Leslie Luna opened the day with a victory in the 5,000 (altitude adjusted 17:29.39) and another fifth-year senior Stasia Ploskonka followed with a win in the 3,000m steeplechase (adjusted 11:17.51). Sophomore Alex Willis gave the Lobos' a sweep of the steeplechase with an adjusted time of 9:15.20.
Junior Kim Perkins was also a winner, capturing the 400 hurdles with an adjusted time of 1:01.33.
Lobo freshman Thomas Trujillo led the men's team in the short sprints with altitude-adjusted season-bests of 10.71 in the 100 and 21.72 in the 200 (fifth in both).