Jan. 11, 2006
UPCOMINGAfter months of anticipation, the 2006 indoor track and field schedule at the Albuquerque Convention Center gets underway this Saturday, Jan. 14, with the Mark Shumate Open all-comer meet. The Shumate Open will be the first NCAA sanctioned indoor track meet in Albuquerque since 1987. Over the next two months, the University of New Mexico in conjunction with the City of Albuquerque will host four collegiate meets, including the Mountain West Conference Championships, and three more all-comer meets, all on the two-year old track in the Convention Center.
Over 300 athletes of all ages and ability are expected to compete in the Shumate Open on Saturday in addition to collegians from UNM and Division II national power Adams State College. The meet gets underway at 9 a.m. (MST) and is expected to wrap up around 4 p.m. Tickets at the door will be $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under. Spectators and athletes must enter through the west entrances. There will be bleachers set up along the final straightaway and finish line. Spectators are not allowed in the infield or on the track at anytime.
Saturday's meet is named in recognition of Mark Shumate, a friend of the Lobo track and field program. Shumate is the owner of Shumate Construction, which has played a key role in the ongoing renovations of the Lobos' outdoor facility, the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSComplete information and results from the Mark Shumate Open will be available at www.GoLobos.com.
ALL-COMER MEET ENTRY DEADLINESAll-Comer Meet
January 22, 2006
Entry Deadline: January 17, 2006
Only selected events will be contested.
Green Chile All-Comers
February 12, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 7, 2006
Only selected events will be contested.
First to Finish High School Invitational*
February 18, 2006
Entry Deadline: February 10, 2006
All events contested.
*HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETES ONLY
Entry fees are $10 per athlete per event.
All entries will be handled through www.directathletics.com. Please review the above entry deadlines for the meets that you wish to enter. Late entries will not be accepted. All entry deadlines will also be available on the Direct Athletics website. If you do not have a password and account with Direct Athletics, one will be provided to you when you begin the registration process. Please review your entries for accuracy.
**Important: It will take a day to get a new password and account set up--Do not wait until the deadline to set up your account!
HISTORIC INDOOR SCHEDULE ON TAP IN `06The City of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico are set to become one of the nation's premier destinations for indoor track and field competition this winter. The city will host eight meets in 2006, including six collegiate events, on its 2-year-old track inside the Albuquerque Convention Center. UNM head coach Matt Henry, a lifelong Albuquerquean and former Lobo All-American, said the ambitious indoor schedule is the best in program history.
"This is definitely the best schedule we've put together and we think it's probably the best group of collegiate indoor meets that's ever been scheduled here," Henry said. "A lot of us were young, but we remember when indoor track and field was big in Albuquerque and we know we have an opportunity to make it special again."
The list of teams visiting the Duke City this winter reads like a "Who's Who" list of NCAA track and field with Air Force, Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, California, Colorado State, Florida, Florida State, Houston, LSU, San Diego State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UNLV, USC, Utah, UTEP and Wyoming among the schools scheduled to compete at the Convention Center.
"We're excited about seeing these teams come through here," Henry said. "We know we're going to have to step it up a little bit, but our kids are really looking forward to competing against some of the best track and field athletes in the country at home in front of our crowd."
The season gets underway on Jan. 14 with the Mark Shumate Open, which will be the first NCAA sanctioned indoor meet in Albuquerque since the 1987 Western Athletic Conference Championships were held in Tingley Coliseum. The Shumate Open will be the first three all-comer meets held at the Convention Center in `06, all of which will be open to any competitor, regardless of age or ability. All-comer meets will also be held on Jan. 22 and Feb. 12. The First to the Finish High School Invitational will also take place at the Convention Center on Feb. 18.
On Jan. 21 UNM will host what should be one of the best early-season meets in the country, the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational. Arizona, BYU, Cal, Colorado State, Florida State, LSU Texas A&M, Rice, Portland State, USC and UTEP will join New Mexico to create a world-class field in the first collegiate-only meet at the Convention Center. Eight of the 12 had either their men's or women's teams finish among the top-25 at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships a year ago. Seven returning individual national champions and the LSU men's champion 4x400-meter relay team are scheduled to be among the field.
Twelve teams visit Albuquerque the next week for the three-day University of New Mexico Invitational. The meet opens with two days of pentathlon and heptathlon competition, Jan. 26-27, followed by the main events on Jan. 28. Arizona State, Florida, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts and Division II powers Adams State and Western State will be among the field.
Following their lone road trip of the indoor season to Nebraska, the Lobos return home on Feb. 11 to host six teams, including the Conference USA champion Houston Cougars and D-II national champion Abilene Christian, in the Albuquerque Invitational.
Two weeks later, the Convention Center will be the site of 2006 Mountain West Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships (Feb. 23-25), which moves to the Duke City after six years at the Air Force Academy's Cadet Field House in Colorado Springs, Colo. Air Force also hosted the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships for 12 straight years before the MWC was formed. New Mexico hosted the WAC Indoor Championship meet at Tingley Coliseum six times between 1974-87.
INDOOR TRACK AT THE ALBUQUERQUE CONVENTION CENTERGood timing, a proactive city council and an irresistible sale all contributed to the return of indoor track and field to the Albuquerque after nearly a 20-year absence. During the spring of 2004 Albuquerque city leaders learned of a $1 million unused and undamaged indoor track sitting in storage in Canada that could be purchased for a mere $500,000. The state-of-the-art Mondo track had originally been ordered, then later declined, for use in the Los Angeles Staples Center arena.
The track finally found a home inside the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque and made its debut on Jan. 15, 2005 for the inaugural Albuquerque All-Comers meet. Nearly identical to the track used by the University of Arkansas at the Randal Tyson Track Center, Albuquerque's new indoor facility received rave reviews from athletes, coaches and fans. Like the Arkansas facility, which has been the site of every NCAA Indoor Championship meet since 2000, the city of Albuquerque now has an indoor track that will be a destination for some of the nation's premier events.
The new indoor track is a 200-meter, 60-degree banked track that has 60m straightaways running the entire length of the facility. It also includes men's and women's jumping runways and pits, as well as an areas for shot put, pole vault and high jump events. The surface of the track is red and white Mondo.
The Albuquerque All-Comers meet marked the University of New Mexico's first indoor competition at home since hosting the 1987 Western Athletic Conference Championships in Tingley Coliseum at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Current UNM assistant coach Scott Steffan, who competed at the '87 WAC Championships as freshman decathlete, said the new indoor track will provide a tremendous boost to head coach Matt Henry's rejuvenated Lobo track and field program. The U.S. Air Force Academy had hosted every Mountain West Conference Indoor Championship meet since the league formed in 1999, but when the Albuquerque facility was unveiled, a change of venue was quickly announed for the 2006 MWC Indoor Championships.
In the 1960s and `70s Albuquerque was one of the nation's elite indoor track and field locations, drawing top professional and collegiate talent to compete in front of the large crowds at the annual Jaycee meets. The 1966 AAU Indoor Nationals (now known as the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships) drew a two-day total of nearly 20,000 fans to Tingley Coliseum and was featured on the March 14 cover of Sports Illustrated. Albuquerque officials were able to lure the meet away from its regular home at Madison Square Garden in New York City that year. In the new Albuquerque Convention Center facility, city leaders and track and field enthusiasts have a reason to stand up and cheer once again.