Lobo Pole Vaulters Set For NCAA Outdoor Championships Debut
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/05/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

June 5, 2006

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader


University of New Mexico senior Derek Mackel and junior Robert Caldwell will represent their homestate in the men's pole vault competition this week at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Both men competed at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships, where Caldwell earned All-America honors, but are making their first appearance at the outdoor national meet. Mackel (Albuquerque Sandia HS) enters the meet as the No. 4 seed, while Caldwell (Socorro, N.M.) has the 20th-best mark. The duo begins qualifying competition on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. (MST).


Results: Live meet results will be available online at www.ncaasports.com and www.hornetsports.com.

Schedule: Qualifying begins in the men's pole vault at 5:45 p.m. (MST) on Wednesday, June 7. The top 13 individuals in the qualifying round will move on to the finals, which begin at 5:30 p.m. (MST) on Friday, June 9.

UNM Men At The NCAA Outdoor Championships: New Mexico has sent a pair of men to the outdoor national meet each of the past three seasons and have had at least one qualifier each year since 2003. The Lobos had just one men's athlete qualify twice in the eight years (1993-2000) prior to sixth-year head coach Matt Henry's arrival.

New Mexicans At The NCAA Outdoor Championships: Seven of the nine NCAA Outdoor Championship qualifiers under sixth-year head coach Matt Henry have been from the state of New Mexico. All five men and women that have qualified over the last two years hail from the Land of Enchanment.

Lobo Pole Vaulters At The NCAA Championships: Mackel and Caldwell are the first New Mexico pole vaulters to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships since 1991 and just the third and fourth Lobos ever to qualify for nationals in the event.

Joe Powdrell (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Simon Arkell (Adelaide, Australia) were the first two UNM vaulters to compete at the NCAA meet. Powdrell tied for 12th with a height of 15' at the 1967 NCAA Outdoor Championships, twenty years before Arkell made his debut on the national stage.

Arkell qualified four times between 1987-91, earning All-America honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. After finishing with no height in `87, Arkell placed sixth in `89 (17' 10 1/4"), third in `90 (18' 1/2") and tied for fifth in `91 (18' 1/2").

Two In The Same Event: It's been thirty years since two Lobos competed in the same event at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet and the fifth time its happened in program history. In 1976, Michael Solomon and Charles Dramiga both earned All-America honors in the 400 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

UNM Outdoor All-Americans: Twenty-five individuals and one relay team have combined to earn outdoor All-American honors 34 times since Buster Charles (decathlon) became the first in 1930.

UNM athletes have also won six NCAA event titles outdoors. Olympian Dick Howard was New Mexico's first NCAA champion, winning the 440-yard hurdles in 1959. Adolph Plummer won the 1961 440-yard dash crown in `61 and the late Larry Kennedy captured the discus in `64. Clarence Robinson swept the long and triple jump at the 1965 national championships and Roswell, N.M. native Art Baxter was the Lobos' last NCAA champion, winning the triple jump in `67.

Santa Fe native Matt Gonzales is the lone All-American under sixth-year head coach Matt Henry, earning the award in the 10,000-meter run in 2003 and `04. Gonzales finished fourth in the `04 and his third place finish in `03 snapped a 12-year All-America drought for the UNM men's team.


Robert Caldwell, Derek Mackel and the UNM coaching staff will depart for Sacramento on Monday at 3:30 p.m. and will return on Saturday evening, June 10. The group will be staying at the Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento (916-922-8041).


The men's pole vault field at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships could be one of the best in recent history at the national meet. Oregon's Tommy Skipper, a two-time indoor champion, and BYU's Robison Pratt, the defending outdoor champ, headline the elite 28-man field. Twenty athletes have previous experience at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships, including 15 All-Americans. The field is comprised of nine seniors, 11 juniors, seven sophomores and one freshman. Eleven men qualified out of the Midwest Region, six out of the West, six from the East and five from the Mideast Region.

1. Thomas Skipper JR Oregon 5.79m (19-00.00)
2. Robison Pratt SR BYU 5.61m (18-04.75)
3. Brian Mondschein SR VA Tech 5.53m (18-01.75)
4. Derek Mackel SR New Mexico 5.51m (18-01.00)
4. Graeme Hoste SO Stanford 5.51m (18-01.00)
6. Ray Scotten SR Nebraska 5.50m (18-00.50)
6. John Russell SR Akron 5.50m (18-00.50)
6. Jimmie Heath SO McNeese St. 5.50m (18-00.50)
9. Brad Gebauer JR Michigan St. 5.42m (17-09.50)
10. Gable Baldwin JR Nebraska 5.41m (17-09.00)
10. Scott Martin JR Oklahoma 5.41m (17-09.00)
12. Sage Thames SR Texas Tech 5.40m (17-08.50)
12. Andre Poljanec SO N. Iowa 5.40m (17-08.50)
12. Mike Landers JR UCLA 5.40m (17-08.50)
12. Chip Heuser SO Oklahoma 5.40m (17-08.50)
12. Mark Johnson SR Coastal Carolina 5.40m (17-08.50)
17. Keith Higham SO Pittsburgh 5.37m (17-07.25)
18. Matt Adkisson JR Sam Houston St. 5.35m (17-06.50)
18. Whitney Neves FR BYU 5.35m (17-06.50)
20. Shay Collett JR TexasArlington 5.31m (17-05.00)
20. David Shortenhaus JR UCLA 5.31m (17-05.00)
20. Robert Caldwell JR New Mexico 5.31m (17-05.00)
20. Jarno Kivioja JR N. Iowa 5.31m (17-05.00)
20. Mitch Greeley SO Clemson 5.31m (17-05.00)
25. Rory Quiller JR Binghamton 5.25m (17-02.75)
26. Jonathan Miller SR S. Florida 5.24m (17-02.25)
27. Dave Jones SR C. Michigan 5.21m (17-01.00)
28. Devin Rodriguez SO McNeese St. 5.06m (16-07.50)

1. Tommy Skipper (Oregon)
2. Robbie Pratt (BYU)
3. John Russell (Akron)
4. Brian Mondschein (Virginia Tech)
5. Brad Gebauer (Michigan State)
6. Keith Highman (Pittsburgh)
7. Grame Hoste (Stanford)
8. Derek Mackel (New Mexico)
9. Scott Martin (Oklahoma)
10. Gabe Baldwin (Nebraska)
11. Ray Scotten (Nebraska)
12. Robert Caldwell (New Mexico)


Sixth-year assistant coach Scott Steffan has established one of the premier men's and women's pole vaulting programs in the nation at New Mexico. A former teammate of three-time All-American and school record holder Simon Arkell, Steffan rebuilt the vault crew from the ground up after returning to Albuquerque. Under his watch, three New Mexico pole vaulters have competed at the NCAA Championship meet and UNM has had at least three athletes qualify for the NCAA Regional meet outdoors each of the past four years. The Lobo vaulters have also earned all-MWC honors eight times since 2003. Since 2002, UNM has boasted seven 16-foot vaulters on the men's side, including three that have cleared 17 feet and one over the 18-foot mark. Five women have surpassed the 12 foot mark, including two over 13 feet. Four have also been nationally ranked in the event by Trackwire.com

Led by NCAA Championship qualifiers Derek Mackel and Robert Caldwell, the Lobo vaulters have enjoyed perhaps their best year in 2006. Caldwell earned All-America honors with his eighth place finish at the NCAA Indoor meet, while Mackel became the second Lobo ever to win an event at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships. Mackel (18-01.00 outdoors),. Caldwell (17-07.25 indoors) and women's outdoor record holder Whitney Johnson (13-01.50 indoors) have highlighted several career performances for New Mexico's vaulters in `06. Senior Zach Bingham (16-00.00 indoor), sophomore Zach Graham (16-02.75 indoor), junior Nicole Huyge (12-00.75 indoor) and junior Stefany Setliff (11-09.75 outdoor), a first-year vaulter, also recorded their career bests this year.

Derek Mackel

Pole Vault • Sr-3L/Sr-3L • 5-10
Albuquerque, N.M. (Sandia HS)
Major: University Studies

New Mexico: Midwest Regional Championships record holder and a three-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree who is making his second NCAA Championships appearance, but first outdoors...a remarkable rags to riches story who has gone from marginal walk-on to one of the top pole vault threats in the country over the past three years...was probably the most improved athlete on the team in 2005 and has improved by more than five feet since joining the program in `02...has had to battle through chronic pain in his knees throughout his career, but entered the 2006 season 100 percent healthy and solidified his place as one of the best competitors in the country...two-time MWC Athlete of the Week award winner...earned his degree in University Studies in May of `06 and plans to return to UNM next year as a volunteer pole vault coach...second degree black belt in tae kwon do.

2006: (outdoor) Won the Midwest Regional title in Austin, Texas with a regional record-setting vault of 18-01.00 to advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time outdoors...entered the meet with the eighth-best mark in the event...he had gone 0-6 on his attempts at the regional championships over the past two years and needed his third and final attempts to clear 17-01.00 and 17-05.00 at the `06 meet...cleared his previous outdoor PR of 17-09.00 on his first attempt and the 18-01.00 bar on his second run to become the second Lobo ever to win an event at the Midwest Regional meet...was also the second UNM pole vaulter ever to surpass the 18-foot mark, missing the 15-year-old school record by one inch...cleared 17 feet in six of his eight competitions during the spring, including a runner-up finish at the MWC Championships - the highest of his career at the conference meet...earned three victories (USC, UNM and Midwest Regional Championships)...lone no-height came after a four-hour bus ride to UTEP...(indoor) Cleared 17 feet and finished among the top-3 in each of his five meet appearances...soared a career-best 17-11.00, the second best mark in UNM history, to tie defending NCAA outdoor champion Robison Pratt of BYU on Jan. 21 at the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational in Albuquerque...Pratt won the event with fewer misses, but Mackel was named MWC Men's Athlete of the Week for his performance...surpassed the NCAA provisional mark (17-00.50) three times during the winter...notched two victories and was third at the MWC Championship meet (17-03.50), just behind junior teammate Robert Caldwell, to earn indoor all-conference honors for the second straight season...missed all three attempts at his opening height of 17-00.50 in his NCAA Championships debut.

2006 Performance Chart
May 26 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships (Austin) 18-01.00 1st
May 12 MWC Championships (Provo) 17-00.75 2nd
Apr. 29 Don Kirby Invitational (Albuquerque) 16-10.75 2nd
Apr. 22 UCSD Triton Invitational (San Diego) 17-00.75 T4th
Apr. 15 UTEP Invitational (El Paso) no height ---
Apr. 8 Texas Relays - Sec. A (Austin) 17-04.50 7th
Apr. 1 Cardinal & Gold Invitational (Los Angeles) 17-00.75 1st
Mar. 25 Jim Click Invitational (Tucson) 17-00.75 1st
Mar. 10 NCAA Championships (Fayetteville) no height ---
Feb. 25 MWC Championships (Albuquerque) 17-03.50 3rd
Feb. 4 Husker Invitational (Lincoln) 17-00.00 3rd
Jan. 28 New Mexico Invitational (Albuquerque) 17-07.25 1st
Jan. 21 Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque) 17-11.00 2nd
Jan. 14 Mark Shumate Open (Albuquerque) 17-00.00 1st

Pole Vault: 17-11.00

Pole Vault: 18-01.00

Robert Caldwell

Pole Vault • Jr-2L/Jr-2L • 6-0
Socorro, N.M. (Socorro HS)
Major: Business

NEW MEXICO: All-American and Mountain West Conference runner-up during the 2006 indoor season...is making his second trip to the NCAA Championships, but first outdoors...has made dramatic strides over the past two years, improving by two feet since his freshman year, and developing into one of the top pole vaulters in the country...had been bothered by painful muscle spasms leading up to the Midwest Regional meet, but enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships healthy and ready to compete.

2006: (outdoor) Earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship meet after placing sixth at the Midwest Regionals in Austin with an outdoor PR of 17-05.00...entered the meet as the No. 11 seed and fought through painful muscle spasms during the week to record the highest mark and finish in his three regional meet appearances...cleared 17 feet twice during the spring, including at the MWC Championships where he placed fourth (17-00.75)...notched a pair top-3 finishes, but got off to a bit of a slow start with two uncharacteristic no heights in his first three meets...(indoor) Became the second Lobo ever to earn All-America honors in the pole vault, finishing in a three-way tie for eighth in his NCAA Championship meet debut...cleared 17-06.50 on his second attempt before bowing out at 17-10.50...competed six times during the regular season, finishing among the top-2 in five meets...cleared the 17-foot mark five times as well...surpassed the NCAA provisional qualifying standard four times and really came up big in one of his last chances to earn an NCAA berth...cleared a career-best height of 17-07.25 in a runner-up finish at the Mountain West Conference Championships behind defending outdoor national champion Robison Pratt of BYU and one spot ahead of senior teammate Derek Mackel...performance earned him all-conference honors for the first time in his career.

2006 Performance Chart
May 26 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships (Austin) 17-05.00 6th
May 12 MWC Championships (Provo) 17-00.75 4th
Apr. 29 Don Kirby Invitational (Albuquerque) 16-06.75 3rd
Apr. 8 Texas Relays - Sec. A (Austin) no height ---
Apr. 1 Cardinal & Gold Invitational (Los Angeles) 16-06.75 3rd
Mar. 25 Jim Click Invitational (Tucson) no height ---
Mar. 10 NCAA Championships (Fayetteville) 17-06.50 T8th
Feb. 25 MWC Championships (Albuquerque) 17-07.25 2nd
Feb. 11 Albuquerque Invitational (Albuquerque) 17-03.00 1st
Feb. 4 Husker Invitational (Lincoln) 17-00.00 4th
Jan. 28 New Mexico Invitational (Albuquerque) 16-08.75 2nd
Jan. 21 Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational (Albuquerque) 17-02.75 2nd
Jan. 14 Mark Shumate Open (Albuquerque) 17-00.00 2nd

Pole Vault: 17-07.25

Pole Vault: 17-05.00