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Henry's 11 To Take On Nation's Best At Arkansas Tyson Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/10/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 10, 2005

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UPCOMING

The state of New Mexico will be represented at one of the nation's premier indoor track and field meets this weekend as UNM head coach Matt Henry and his staff will accompany 11 athletes to Fayetteville, Ark. for the Powered by Tyson Invitational at the Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center on the campus of the University of Arkansas. The meet opens on Friday night with events featuring several of the world's elite professionals. New Mexico's contingent will join the main collegiate field on Saturday, Feb. 12.

Saturday's meet will serve as the final competition of the indoor regular season for the 11 Lobos in attendance. The rest of the team will get a well-earned weekend off before returning for the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The meet will mark a rare winter trip to sea level for New Mexico, which generally spends much of the indoor season at altitudes of 3,000-7,000 feet in cities like Flagstaff, Colorado Springs and Lubbock. UNM's last regular season meet in Arkansas was in 1991, nine years before the palatial $6.5 million Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center was built.

Though this will be the first trip to Arkansas for all 11 athletes, the Lobos will see a familiar surface when they enter the Tyson Center. The new indoor track facility in the Albuquerque Convention Center, which made its debut on Jan. 15 of this year, is nearly identical to Arkansas' banked oval, right down to the brick red Mondo surface. The Randal Tyson Indoor Track Center has been the home of the NCAA Championships since 2000.

HENRY'S 11

With some of the finest collegiate athletes in America converging in Fayetteville this weekend, Lobo head coach Matt Henry found space limited when he submitted his meet entry form. In the end, Henry was able to bring a strong group of 11 men and women to the prestigious event, including: senior Amanda Barnes (Shot Put, Weight Throw), sophomore Robert Caldwell (pole vault), senior Cameron Clarke (mile), senior Nate Clem (mile), junior Jacquelyne Gallegos (3,000), senior Matt Gonzales (3,000), freshman Zach Graham (pole vault), freshman Whitney Johnson (pole vault), freshman Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (mile), junior Derek Mackel (pole vault) and senior Ben Ortega (5,000). Barnes, Gonzales, Johnson, Kiptoo-Biwott and Mackel will all be competing in elite "championship" sections of their events at Arkansas.

Mackel, the lone Lobo with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark, will be taking on a top-flight field on Saturday evening that includes six of the nation's top-12 pole vaulters. Yoo Kim (UCLA), Scott Martin (Oklahoma) and Ray Scotten (Nebraska) are all ranked in the top five, followed by No. 8 Sage Thames (Texas Tech), No. 10 Gabe Baldwin (Nebraska) and 12th-ranked David Shortenhaus (UCLA). In the women's pole vault, meanwhile, Johnson will be squaring off against a group that features Amy Linnen of Kansas (No. 8) and Arkansas' Stacie Manuel (No. 10).

Barnes is slated to compete in both the championship shot put and weight throw competition. Six top-10 shot put competitors will be in Arkansas, including No. 1 Kim Barrett of Miami and MWC rival Loree Smith of Colorado State (No. 10). Five top-12 athletes are also on the start list of the weight throw.

Fresh of victorious performance in his collegiate debut at Northern Arizona, Kiptoo-Biwott will take on three nationally-ranked milers on Saturday, including third-ranked Said Ahmed (Arkansas), No. 9 Jonah Maiyo (Arizona) and No. 11 Tim Lancashire (Florida State). Arizona's Robert Cheseret, the nation's top-ranked 5,000-meter runner, is also scheduled to compete after taking part in the professional 3,000 race on Friday night.

Gonzales, meanwhile, is scheduled to make his indoor debut against a diverse 3,000 field that includes Obed Mutanya (Arizona), the NCAA's third-ranked 5K man, and two ranked milers in Indiana's John and Sean Jefferson. TCU's Kip Kangogo is also slated to compete in the race. Gonzales had several memorable battles with the former BYU standout on the track and cross country course before Kangogo transferred.

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from the Powered by Tyson Invitational will be available at the following website:

Tyson Invitational Start Lists & Results

LAST TIME OUT (at the Mountain T's Invitational)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott has proven that he's not one for slow starts. A winner in his first career cross country race last September, the New Mexico freshman opened his collegiate track career in similar fashion with an impressive victory in the invitational mile race on Feb. 5 at Northern Arizona's Mountain T's Invitational. Kiptoo-Biwott earned one of three gold medals as UNM wrapped up its 26th straight trip to the J.L. Walkup Skydome indoor track facility.

The cross country All-American and Mountain West Conference Runner of the Year, defeated Northern Arizona's Henrik Ahnstrom by just over a second, crossing the line in an unofficial altitude adjusted time of 4:05.69 (4:15.51 unconverted). Senior Nick Martinez was fourth (4:21.95), followed by sophomore Mike Smiel (4:23.31) and sophomore Juan Ortega (4:28.77). Senior Cameron Clarke made his 2005 debut a memorable one as well as he recorded the fastest indoor 800 time in fifth-year head coach Matt Henry's tenure, finishing second in the invitational field with a time of 1:52.34.

Two-time track All-American Matt Gonzales, who was slated to make his 2005 indoor debut in the invitational mile and 800-meter runs, was held out of the competition and will likely run next week when the Lobos travel to Arkansas.

Senior Ahmed Raji was successful in his first appearance on the track since the 2003 season, finishing second in the open 200 section with a time of 21.92. Junior transfer Brenton Laws was fifth with a time of 22.29, while Jarrin Solomon, Randle McCain and Isaac Burgener ran 7-8-9 in the event. Earlier in the day, McCain, freshman Kurt Henry and Burgener finished 3-4-5 for the Lobos in the open 400 race.

In other men's action, sophomore transfer Dylan Rose-Coss captured the open mile race in his Lobo debut, while sophomore Juan Ortega and redshirt freshman Jeremy Davis were the runners up in the open 3,000 and 800-meter runs, respectively. Freshman Derek McDonald finished second in the open long jump, fourth in the invitational high jump and clocked a season-best time of 8.59 to place seventh in the 60-meter hurdles finals. Junior Derek Mackel, meanwhile, finished tied for fifth in the pole vault with a mark of 16-07.00.

On the women's side, junior Jacquelyne Gallegos and sophomore Riann Lucy both enjoyed a fine afternoon. Gallegos finished second in the invitational mile (5:16.08 unconverted), whil Lucy was third in the invitational 800 (2:15.42 unconverted). Sprinter Kimilia Davis, meanwhile, finished a strong fifth in the invitational 400 race (57.37), then came back to clock a personal best time of 25.21 to place a solid ninth in the invitational 200-meter field. Freshman Ariel Burr was impressive as well, placing third in the open section of the 200 with a time of 25.81. UNM sophomores Brandie Mills and KC Pritchard ran strong in the open 400, finishing first (58.63) and third (59.63), respectively. The foursome of Burr, Davis, Shakira Williams and Mills capped the afternoon by running the fastest 4x400m relay time under Henry, crossing the line in third place with a time of 3:52.71.

In the field events, freshman sensation Whitney Johnson paced New Mexico once again, upping her season-best with a mark of 12-07.50 en route to a fourth place finish in the pole vault. Arizona's Connie Jerz, the nation's top-ranked pole vaulter, won the event with a NCAA automatic qualifying height of 13-09.75. Sophomore Jai McBride, meanwhile, was solid in the triple jump, finishing second with a leap of 36-08.25.

LOBO LEGACY

The University of New Mexico track and field program boasts an elite tradition of excellence that has included 11 national championship event victories, 66 All-America honors, 19 national top-25 team finishes, 193 conference championship event victories and five conference team titles. While many of the architects of the New Mexico's track and field tradition made their mark in the 1960s and `70s, several current Lobos have grown up with a unique appreciation of the program's proud history. Five athletes on the 2005 roster are second generation members of the Lobo track and field program, many of whom can still see their surnames prominently displayed in the UNM record books.

Freshman Kristan Matison is the daughter of one of New Mexico's finest sprinters, Rene Matison, who earned All-America honors in the 100-yard dash and as part of the 440-yard relay in 1966. Matison was also a member of four Western Athletic Conference champion relay teams and played a year of football for the Lobos before being drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. Matison's name is also in the UNM record books as he anchored the record-setting 4x100m relay team and matched the fastest 100-yard time ever recorded at UNM.

Fellow freshman Jarrin Solomon can also find his family name featured throughout the history of New Mexico track and field thanks to the efforts of his father Michael Solomon. The elder Solomon was a two-time All-American and the 600-yard champion at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships. From 1974-77, Solomon claimed four-straight 600 titles, one 440 crown, was a member of the Lobos' three-time WAC champion mile relay team indoors and part of the outdoor record-setting 4x400m relay team. Solomon was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Kurt Henry is another Lobo rookie who has been in surrounded by UNM track and field tradition his entire life. His dad, Matt Henry, is of course the fifth-year head coach at New Mexico, a former All-American for the Lobos and member of four WAC Champion relay teams. Kurt's uncle Mark was also a letterwinner for UNM and is currently the associate head coach, while his grandfather Bub and great-grandfather Gwinn have a legacy of success in UNM athletics that goes back to the 1930s.

Redshirt freshmen Erik Coleman and Veronica K. Gonzales round out the group of second generation UNM track and field athletes. Erik's father, Ed Coleman, was the Lobos' first conference cross country champion, claiming the WAC title in 1963. Veronica's father, Rick Gonzales, meanwhile, was also a member of the UNM track and field team.

OTHER SECOND GENERATION LOBO ATHLETES

Three other current Lobos have parents who competed in athletics for New Mexico. Senior Jaime Hall's dad, Preston, played football for New Mexico from 1974-75 and was a teammate of Bob Keeran in 1974. Bob's son, Matt, is a fourth-year javelin thrower for New Mexico. Meanwhile, senior Cameron Clarke's mother, Tammy, attended UNM on a swimming scholarship and also played softball for the Lobos.
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