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Lobos Looking To Make Some Noise At MWC Championship Meet
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/26/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 26, 2005

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UPCOMING

The University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams open the most critical portion of their schedule on Saturday when they travel to Fort Collins, Colo. for the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championships. The meet, which will be held at Collindale Golf Course, gets underway with the men's 8,000-meter race at 10 a.m. (MST), followed by the women's 6K run at 11.

The MWC Championships are being held in Fort Collins for the first time since 2000, which was head coach Matt Henry's first year at New Mexico. Two of the men's teams in the league are nationally ranked (BYU - 6th and Air Force - 28th), while the Cougars are the MWC's only ranked team on the women's side (No. 8).

THE UNM TRAVEL TEAM

WOMEN:

Sr. Jacquelyne Gallegos (2-time NCAA qualifier, 1st team all-MWC...1 win, 2-time MWC Athlete of the Week in `05)
Jr. Timmie Murphy (3 top-20 finishes in `05...career-best 6K time at Stanford...7th at Auburn...redshirt in 2004)
So. Leslie Luna (Scored in all 3 meets in `05...first top-20 finish and career-best 6K at Lobo Invite)
So. Lindsay Barr (Scored in all 9 career meets...season-best 6K at Stanford)
Sr. Janice Tosa (22 career XC races, scoring for the team 20 times...top 6K time of 22:47 in'03)
Fr. Seny Archuleta (2004 state runner-up at Grants (N.M.) HS...only freshman to run in each meet in `05...scored at Auburn)
So. Melanie Velarde (UNM top-7 all 3 meets in `05...scored for first time at Stanford)
Jr. Roxann James (2004 JC All-American at Central Arizona...top-7 all 3 meets and scored at NMSU in `05)
Jr. Riann Lucy (800 specialist on the track...12 career XC races, scoring 11 times...making `05 debut this weekend)

MEN:

Sr. Cameron Clarke (2-time all-MWC...UNM top runner each race in `05, 6 times career...MWC's 5th-fastest 8K)
Sr. Nate Clem (18 career races, scoring 11 times...career-best 8K at Auburn - 13th MWC)
Jr. Juan Ortega (Scored 7 times in his career, 3 in `05...career-best 8K at Auburn - 14th MWC)
Jr. Steven Martinez (Scoring runner in 12 of 15 career races...career-best 8K at Auburn...30th in MWC in `04)
So. Joseph Garcia (Career-best 8K at Auburn...scored in all 3 meets in `05...team's 8th runner at MWCs in `04)
Jr. Brandon Vigil (Redshirt in `04...3-time Academic All-MWC...scored in 9 of 14 career races...26th at MWCs in `03)
Fr. Ezra Esquibel (Redshirt in `04...run with the team's top-7 in both meets...scored at NMSU)
Sr. Frank Hemingway (5 career races...scored for first time at NMSU this year...Goldwater Scholar)
So. Michael Deason (6 career races...finished among team's top-7 3 times...redshirt in `04)

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete results and information about the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championships can be found on the official website of the MWC:
MWC Cross Country Championships Headquarters

GALLEGOS TO BATTLE BOTH MWC FIELD AND INJURY ON SATURDAY

After receiving a medical redshirt last spring to replace a 2002 season that was ruined by a car accident, fifth-year senior Jacquelyne Gallegos was enjoying one of the best cross country seasons by a UNM woman in over a decade and looked to be one of the top contenders for the Mountain West Conference title this fall. The Pojoaque, N.M. native won the season-opener in front of the homecrowd at the Lobo Invitational and placed an strong third in an outstanding field of runners at the elite Stanford Invitational. Both performances were impressive enough to garner MWC Athlete of the Week awards.

On Oct. 8, however, Gallegos suddenly found herself back on the rehabilitation trail. While stretching before the Auburn Invitational, which was to be her final tune-up race before the conference meet, she felt something pop in her hamstring, causing her to drop to the ground in pain. She stepped to the line, but was forced to pull out of the race after running a few yards.

Head coach Matt Henry said that he initially feared Gallegos would be lost for the remainder of the season. According to Henry, however, she has made significant progress in her rehab over the past two weeks and will toe the line at the MWC meet this Saturday.

"That's just a real shame because we thought that Jackie was running as good as anybody in the country and had a real shot to win the conference meet," Henry said. "She's really made good progress coming back from the injury, but I think it might take her a little time to get her confidence all the way back. She's definitely going to help us at the conference meet, even if she isn't 100 percent, and we're hoping she'll really be ready to go in two weeks for regionals."

NEW MEXICO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY

The UNM men and women will be competing at the Mountain West Conference Championships for the seventh time on Saturday. The following is the Lobos' year-by-year results at the MWC Championship meet. Sixth-year head coach Matt Henry took over the program in 2000.

MEN
Year • Place/Teams • Score • Top Finisher (8K time)
1999 • 6th/6 • 153 pts. • Fr. Louis Cuellar - 27th (26:49)

2000 • 6th/6 • 153 pts. • Fr. Chris Orrell - 17th (25:57)
2001 • 5th/6 • 87 pts. • So. Matt Gonzales - 2nd (24:19)
2002 • 3rd/6 • 72 pts. • So. Cameron Clarke - 3rd (24:41)
2003 • 4th/6 • 123 pts. • Jr. Sean Flaherty - 18th (25:51)
2004 • 3rd/6 • 69 pts. • Fr. Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott - 1st (24:44)

WOMEN
Year • Place/Teams • Score • Top Finisher (6K time)
1999 • 8th/8 • 185 pts. • So. Jackie Morgan - 17th (18:51 - 5K)

2000 • 7th/8 • 173 pts. • So. Ashlee Othick - 15th (22:12)
2001 • 5th/8 • 139 pts. • So. Sarah Gonzales - 16th (22:16)
2002 • 6th/8 • 173 pts. • Jr. Sarah Gonzales - 16th (22:16)
2003 • 5th/8 • 141 pts. • Sr. Sarah Gonzales - 7th (22:03)
2004 • 6th/8 • 163 pts. • Jr. Jacquelyne Gallegos - 4th (22:16)

The New Mexico men won five Western Athletic Conference titles, with four coming from 1963-68 and the last in 1988. Since joining the MWC in 1999, Lobo runners have earned all-conference honors 7 times - 3 by Matt Gonzales and twice by current senior Cameron Clarke. Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott earned Freshman and Runner of the Year honors with his victory in San Diego last year.

The UNM women have never won a conference title, but finished second at the High Country Athletic Conference meet in both 1983 and `84. Carole Roybal is the only New Mexico woman to win a conference title, taking the HCAC crown in 1986. The Lobos have had a first team all-MWC runner each of past 2 years after going 8 years without an all-conference honoree of any kind and 11 years without a first team runner. New Mexico hasn't had a first teamer in three consecutive years since a four-year run between 1983-86.

Men's All-MWC Honorees
Year • Athlete • Finish
2001 • Matt Gonzales - 1st team • 2nd
Ben Ortega - 2nd team • 10th

2002 • Cameron Clarke - 1st team • 3rd
Matt Gonzales - 1st team 5th

2004 • Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott - 1st team • 1st
Matt Gonzales - 1st team • 2nd
Cameron Clarke - 2nd team • 14th

Women's All-MWC Honorees
Year • Athlete • Finish
2003 • Sarah Gonzales - 1st team • 7th

2004 • Jacquelyne Gallegos - 1st team • 4th

LOBOS' MAKING THIRD TRIP TO FORT COLLINS UNDER HENRY Sixth-year head coach Matt Henry has led New Mexico onto the Collindale Golf Course three times during his tenure. UNM made two trips to Fort Collins in Henry's first year in 2000, competing at the Colorado State XC Open and the MWC Championships. While a young group of Lobos struggled in 2000, a veteran group returned to the Collindale course last year in a memorable performance at the 2004 NCAA Mountain Region Championships. Senior Matt Gonzales won the men's race and fellow senior Ben Ortega placed eighth to lead the 20th-ranked UNM men to a fourth place finish and trip to the NCAA Championships. Jacquelyne Gallegos, meanwhile, placed eighth at the regional meet with a sizzling 6K time of 21:03.2, securing her spot in the NCAA field as well.

LAST TIME OUT (at Auburn Invitational)

AUBURN, Ala. - Senior Cameron Clarke notched his highest finish in three years, placing seventh overall to lead the University of New Mexico men's cross country team to a strong second place finish in wet conditions at the Auburn Invitational on Oct. 8. New Mexico, the 10th ranked team in the Mountain Region, defeated 23 squads in the field, including three that were ranked among the top-five in their respective regions. The Lobo women, meanwhile, had a respectable sixth place finish despite running without senior leader Jacquelyne Gallegos, who suffering a hamstring injury during warm-ups.

Clarke completed the 8,000-meter course at the Indian Pines Golf Course in a season-best time of 24:06.55, his fastest since clocking a 23:51 in a second place finish at the 2002 Stanford Invitational. The two-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree has led the team in all three races this fall, but had gone seven meets without a top-10 finish until today.

Fellow senior Nate Clem had his best race of the year as well, placing 18th with a career-best time of 24:33.23, while junior Juan Ortega followed close behind in 20th place with a career-best time of 24:36.59. Sophomore Joseph Garcia checked in at 33rd with a career-best time of 24:50.54 and junior Steven Martinez capped the UNM scoring with a 45th place finish with a career-best time of 25:05. Junior Brandon Vigil (69th - 25:37.61) and sophomore Chris Bratton (84th - 25:49.94) also turned in career-best 8K times to round out the New Mexico top-7. The Lobos pack spread was a season-low 32 seconds and third sub-minute spread in the team's four meets.

Auburn placed four runners in the top-30 to hold off the Lobos' 99-118 for the meet title, while South Alabama junior Vincent Rono won the race with a time of 23:33.46.

The absence of Gallegos, a two-time MWC Athlete of the Week honoree this fall, was tough to overcome for the UNM women, but junior Timmie Murphy carried the flag with a seventh place finish, her highest since 2003. A redshirt last year, Murphy completed the 5,000-meter course in 17:17.24, less than a minute behind the winner, Chattanooga senior Shannon Wommack. Sophomores Leslie Luna (17:56.69) and Lindsay Barr (18:09.60) finished 28th and 39th, respectively, while senior Janice Tosa was 43rd (18:13.69). True freshman Seny Archuleta was the fifth scoring runner, placing 79th overall with a time of 18:51.00. Junior transfer Roxann James was 95th (19:03.95), while sophomore Melanie Velarde was 107th (19:13.84) to round out the New Mexico top-7.

Samford won the women's team title with a score of 86

BEST OF THE MOUNTAIN WEST

New Mexico runners matched last year's program best by earning Mountain West Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week awards three times during the 2005 season. Senior Cameron Clarke was the most recent honoree as he took home the award for the first time in his five-year career after his performance at Auburn on Oct. 8. The Albuquerque Sandia product became the fifth different member of the UNM men's team to earn the weekly honor since the 2001 season.

On the women's side, the early season awards rolled in for Jacquelyne Gallegos as the UNM senior was named MWC Athlete of the Week twice during the season. Gallegos was the first Lobo runner, man or woman, ever to earn award twice in the same season and has been honored by the league three times in her career, the most of any UNM cross country runner. The Pojoaque, N.M. native won her first MWC Athlete of the Week award after finishing third at the 2004 Lobo Invitational and again this year after winning the New Mexico home meet. Gallegos' third place effort at Stanford earlier this season netted her the third and final AOW award of her career.

NEW MEXICO QUICK HITS

• Jacquelyne Gallegos' season-opening victory at the Lobo Invitational was the third by a UNM woman since head coach Matt Henry took over the program in the fall of 2000...Sarah Gonzales (2000-03) had the previous two wins...the Lobo men have notched 7 individual race victories under Henry, including a 4 last year...two-time UNM All-American Matt Gonzales has notched the most individual triumphs under Henry with 3 wins since 2000.

• Running cross country for the first time in two years, redshirt junior Timmie Murphy has finished among the top-20 in all 3 meets this season, shaving time off her 6K PR in each race...Murphy finished 12th at the Stanford Invite, clocking a career-best time of 22:09, after placing 123rd in the same meet as a freshman in 2002...her seventh place finish in a 5K race at Auburn was her best since the 2003 season...the Farmington, N.M. native redshirted the 2004 season as she recovered from leg and hip injuries suffered in training.

• Sophomores Leslie Luna and Melanie Velarde are neck-and-neck in the early season battle for the team's Most Improved Runner honors...after scoring once in 5 races last fall as a true freshman, Luna ran third on the team in the first two meets of `05 and moved up to second with Jacquelyne Gallegos out with an injury at Auburn...the Albuquerque Academy product recorded a career-best 6K time of 23:19 at the Lobo Invite and notched the first top-20 finish of her career (19th)...Velarde, meanwhile, appears to be completely healthy and rediscovering her form after a stress fracture in her foot slowed her during her senior year of high school and rookie season at UNM...the former Eldorado HS standout has run in the team's top-7 in each race this fall and scored for the first time at Stanford.

• Junior Brandon Vigil has made a successful return to competition after sitting out all of the 2004-05 cross country and track seasons...the Taos native missed a significant chunk of practice time during the summer of 2004 as he trained with his ROTC unit and has taken some time to get back into racing shape...Vigil made his 2005 season-debut on Sept. 17 at New Mexico State, leading the split-squad team in his first collegiate competition since April 9, 2004 (1 year, 5 months, 8 days)...he then ran sixth on the team at Stanford and Auburn...called one of the gutsiest runners on the team by head coach Matt Henry, Vigil has scored in 9 of his 15 career races and is a three-time Academic All-MWC honoree.

• The 2005 UNM men's team have established themselves as perhaps the best group running units in head coach Matt Henry's tenure...in 4 meets this fall, the average time difference between the first and fifth scoring runner has been 53.3 seconds...the top-5 were separated by a season-low 32 seconds in their last race at Auburn and have had a sub-minute spread in three of four meets this fall...last year's group had an average pack spread of 1:51...the 2003 Lobos were the tightest running group throughout the course of a season as the first and fifth runners finished an average of 55 seconds apart during the year, including a low of 19 seconds at a triangular meet in San Diego...Henry said he believes this year's group of men could sneak up on the teams at the MWC and Mountain Region meets if each individual continues to lower their overall time in each race.

• Seven women and four men made their UNM cross country debuts at the Lobo Invite...junior transfer Roxann James ran seventh for the New Mexico women (58th overall), while redshirt sophomore Dylan Rose-Coss (6th UNM, 70th overall) and redshirt freshman Ezra Esquibel (7th UNM, 76th overall) cracked the Lobos' top-seven in their collegiate debuts.

HOMEGROWN TALENT

University of New Mexico head coach Matt Henry has built the UNM program by using his greatest natural resource: New Mexico high school distance runners. Of the 42 men and women on the 2005 roster, all but seven are products of New Mexico high schools. Each of the Lobos' NCAA Championship competitors, All-Americans and all-Mountain West honorees during Henry's tenure has graduated from an in-state high school.

LOBO CROSS COUNTRY FLASHBACK: Nov. 13, 1965

Forty years ago, the University of New Mexico men defeated heavily-favored BYU by a score of 27-50 to win the 1965 Western Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship meet at the Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah.

George Scott (15:14) and defending champion John Baker (15:19) finished first and second, respectively, completing the 5K course 2.3 seconds ahead of the nearest competitor, BYU's Bob Delaney. Scott and Baker were two of the four Lobos to earn all-WAC honors, along with Ron Eller and Ed Coleman. New Mexico's scoring runners finished 1-2-4-5-15 for a total of 27 points, which is still the best UNM score ever recorded at a conference championship meet.

Scott won the conference race again in 1966, leading UNM to its second straight WAC cross country championship. After a second place finish in `67, the Lobos pulled another upset, this time downing league favorite UTEP and out-running host Arizona State on its own course to win the 1968 WAC crown - their fourth conference title in six years.

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