Lobos Begin Final Regular Season Push At Elite Mt. SAC Relays
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/14/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 14, 2004

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University of New Mexico head coach Matt Henry will take a group of 11 athletes to Walnut, Calif. this weekend (April 16-17) for the nation's largest track and field competition, the Mt. SAC Relays. 2004 will mark the 46th running of the Mt. SAC Relays, which annually draw many of the nation and the world's top high school, collegiate and professional competitors to Hilmer Lodge Stadium. All-American Matt Gonzales will lead a group of New Mexico's top distance runners when he joins the field of the 5,000-meter race on Friday.

Friday's 5,000 will mark Gonzales' first long distance race of the spring after running an 800 and 1,500 three weeks ago in El Paso, Texas. Gonzales has typically enjoyed his trips to California and has clocked his personal-best 5K time the past two years at the Mt. SAC Relays. Last year, he finished 22nd in the invitational section, recording a time of 13:48.35, nine seconds off the UNM school record. The Santa Fe native went on to finish third in the 10,000 meters to earn All-America honors at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, Calif. after earning an automatic qualifying time in the event at Stanford in the season-opener.

According to Henry, Gonzales will be shooting for a sub-13:30 time on Friday, which would qualify him for both the NCAA Regional and USA Championship meets, as well as eclipse an 18-year-old UNM record. Gonzales finished 11th in the 10K at the 2003 USA Track Championships in Palo Alto, Calif.

Ten other athletes will be joining Gonzales at the Mt. SAC Relays, including distance runners Cameron Clarke (5,000m), Nick Martinez (5,000m), Ben Ortega (10,000m), Jacquelyne Gallegos (1,500m) and Timmie Murphy (5,000m). Henry said he expects Gallegos and all three 5K runners to challenge the regional qualifying standard over the weekend, while Ortega will be gunning for a national qualifying time in the 10K.

Senior Chris Garofola will compete in both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles, while sophomore Kimilia Davis will run the 400. New Mexico will be represented in the field by throwers Jason Barkemeyer (shot put), Amanda Barnes (shot put) and Jamie Fishencord (hammer), who will all be looking to improve on their regional qualifying marks. Murphy, Garofola, Davis, Barkemeyer and Fishencord will all be making their first trip to the Mt. SAC Relays.


Complete information and results from the Mt. SAC Relays will be available at the following website:

Mt. SAC Relays Homepage


Behind season-bests in the long jump (19-02.75) and 800 meters (2:24.09), University of New Mexico senior Keren Sari-Bentzur held onto sixth place in the Mt. SAC Relays heptathlon competition to open the competition on Thursday, April 18. Under cold and threatening skies at Azusa Pacific University Stadium, Sari-Bentzur recorded a season-best score of 5,236 points, second among the elite collegiate competitors in the field.

Later that night Matt Gonzales clocked a time of 13:48.35 to finish ninth among collegiate competitors (22nd overall) in the invitational section of the men's 5,000 meters. Gonzales' NCAA regional qualifying time was the fastest in the Mountain West Conference and second-fastest in league history. Gonzales shaved over 20 seconds off his previous best in the 5,000 and finished just 8.81 seconds shy of the 17-year-old UNM record in the event.

In other Thursday action, sophomore Veronica Gonzales established another career-best and inched up the Midwest rankings with a throw of 139 feet in the javelin. Gonzales finished seventh in the open university competition, improving upon her previous best by two inches. Fellow sophomore Amber Nolte recorded a season-best of 11-06.00 to finish tied for 10th in the pole vault, while yet another sophomore, Amanda Barnes, was 24th in the discus (121-01).

Elsewhere, sophomores Nick Martinez and Cameron Clarke finished fifth and 11th, respectively, in the open section of the 5,000 meters. Martinez crossed the line in 14:33.86, while Clarke clocked a time of 14:43.82 in his first collegiate 5K race. In the discus, junior Jordan Parker placed 12th with a toss of 143-06.

On Saturday, sophomore Bridgid Isworth soared 12-07.50 to set a new UNM outdoor pole vault record in her outdoor season debut. Already the school indoor record holder, Isworth erased Krissy Owen's 1999 mark of 12-04.00 to finish tied for 11th in the invitational section.

In other Saturday action, junior transfer Ahmed Raji finished 15th overall in the 200 with a time of 21.46. Senior David Lloyd a time of 52.70 time in the 400-meter hurdles to finish 22nd overall. Sophomores Matt Keeran and Amanda Barnes led New Mexico in the throwing events. Keeran finished sixth in the javelin with a throw of 203-03, while Barnes finished tied for 10th with a mark of 47-07.50 in the shot put.


Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming will headline the field of the 14th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, to be held at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, May 1. Regional teams Adams State and Northern Colorado will also be in attendance.



In 2003 the NCAA began the use of head-to-head competition for the first to determine the outdoor track and field national championship field. Once again this year, athletes must meet regional qualifying standards during the season to secure a berth in the field of their respective regional championship meets (East, Mideast, Midwest, West). Once at the regional meet, athletes need only to finish in the top-five of their respective events to advance to the national championship meet. However, competitors in the 10,000-meter run, heptathlon and decathlon will continue to use the old system of meeting provisional or automatic qualifying standards to earn a spot in the national championship field. The following is a quick overview of the NCAA Championship qualifying system:

Regional Qualifying: Athletes must meet minimum standards in their respective events, except for the 10,000m and heptathlon/decathlon, during the regular season in order to compete at the NCAA Regional Championship Meets the last weekend of May.

National Qualifying: Athletes, except for competitors in the 10,000 and heptathlon/decathlon, must place among the top-five in their respective events at the regional championship meet in order to advance to the national championship meet, June 9-12 in Austin, Texas.

Provisional Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K and heptathlon/decathlon who meet the provisional qualifying standard during the season are candidates to be selected for the national championship field. Provisional qualifiers are selected using a descending order performance list. The number of athletes selected from the provisional qualifiers list is determined by the number of automatic qualifiers in each event. The total number of athletes in the national championship field of each event is generally 16-18.

Automatic Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K or heptathlon/decathlon who meet the automatic qualifying standard during the season are guaranteed a spot in the national championship field.


Through four meets this spring, seven New Mexico athletes and have earned qualifying marks for either the NCAA national or regional championship meets. Last year, 14 individuals, and the members of both the UNM men's 4x400m and 4x100m relay teams, qualified for the regional meet. Lobo athletes qualified in four different women's events and 12 men's events earn qualifying marks during the '03 season.

NCAA Provisional Qualifiers

Sr. Mark Johnson

Decathlon * 7,141 pts. * Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (March 31 - April 1)

NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers

Sr. Jason Barkemeyer

Shot Put * 56-09.50 * UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (March 27)

Discus * 173-02 * Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 2)

Jr. Amanda Barnes

Shot Put * 48-02.75 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)

Fr. Kayla Brown

Javelin * 142-05 * Mesa Classic - Mesa, Ariz. (April 9)

Jr. Jamie Fishencord

Hammer * 177-06 * UTEP Springtime Invitational - El Paso, Texas (March 27)

Jr. Veronica R. Gonzales

Javelin * 143-10 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)

Jr. Derek Mackel

Pole Vault * 16-04.75 * Mesa Classic - Mesa, Ariz. (April 9)


Under the direction of fourth year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the 2004 Lobos have continued to improve their outdoor performances. Through four meet this season, the Lobos have eclipsed the top marks of a year ago in 15 events. Six of the top marks are also the best in Henry's tenure at New Mexico. The following is a breakdown of the improvement the men and women have made this winter on their top event marks of the 2003 outdoor season:

Women (8 events)

400m: (56.68 ~ 56.01, -0.67 sec.), 800m: (2:22.11 ~ 2:18.32, -3.79 sec.), 1,500m: (4:42.62 ~ 4:36.68, -5.94 sec.), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 12:14.86), 400m Hurdles: (1:05.54 ~ 1:04.28, -1.26 sec.), *Discus: (137-04 ~ 146-04, +9 ft.), *Hammer: (157-03 ~ 177-06, +20 ft., 3 in.), *Javelin: (141-01 ~ 143-10, +2 ft., 9 in.)

Men (7 events)

110m Hurdles: (14.74 ~ 14.66, -0.08 sec.), Long Jump: (22-06.25 ~ 22-10.50, +4.25 in.), Triple Jump: (45-08.00 ~ 47-03.75, +1 ft., 7.75 in.), *Shot Put: (55-04.25 ~ 56-09.50, +1 ft., 5.25 in.), *Discus: (169-06 ~ 173-02, +3 ft., 8 in.), Hammer: (156-02 ~ 160-00, +3 ft., 10 in.), *Decathlon: (6,525 pts. ~ 7,141 pts., +616 pts.)

* indicates top time/result under fourth year head coach Matt Henry

Veronica R. Gonzales recorded the top women's javelin mark in head coach Matt Henry's tenure last week.

LAST TIME (at Mesa Classic)

MESA, Ariz. -- The University of New Mexico men's and women's track teams recorded three victories and notched season-bests in seven events in a strong performance at the Mesa Classic on April 9 at Riggs Stadium. Sophomore Kimilia Davis won the 400 for the second time this spring and junior Amanda Barnes earned her seventh career victory in the shot put. Davis also led the women's 4x100-meter relay team to a first place tie with Boise State. Junior Derek Mackel, meanwhile, led the men's side with a NCAA regional qualifying mark of 16-04.75 in the pole vault.

Davis clocked a personal-record time of 56.01 to edge Florida's Amber Hickman (56.83) at the finish line. The Bellaire, Texas native also ran the lead leg to help the 4x100 relay teammates Nicole Hansen-Solum, Erin Teske and Brandilyn Williams to a time of 48.31 in the event. Barnes, meanwhile, surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying standard for the third time this season, recording a mark of 48-00.50 to pick up an easy win in the shot put.

Junior Veronica R. Gonzales, Barnes' former teammate at Carlsbad (N.M.) High School, also enjoyed a fine meet, surpassing her personal-record and regional qualifying mark in javelin by 17 inches with a throw of 143-10. Gonzales finished third overall, just ahead of freshman teammate Kayla Brown (fourth) who eclipsed the regional standard for the second time with a mark of 141-06.

The New Mexico women continued their success in the field as junior Amber Nolte turned in her best pole vault performance in over two years, finishing tied for third with a height of 11-10.00. Nolte set her personal best of 12-00.00 in the 2002 outdoor season-opener. True freshman Nicole Huyge finished tied for ninth in the event with a PR clearance of 10-11.75.

On the track, senior Brooke Gosling and freshman Myrriah Gomez became the first UNM women since 2001 to compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing third and sixth, respectively. Gosling's time of 12:14.86 was just three seconds off the school record, set by Hannah Radzinski, who had previously been the only Lobo woman to compete in the event.

Mackel led the men's effort, improving on his personal best by two inches to secure a place in the pole vault field at the Midwest Regional Championships in late May. He finished third overall, just ahead of teammate Branden Bennett, who notched a mark of 15-11.00. Bennett, who has been gradually recovering from a foot injury, made his first clearance of the year in the event. Redshirt junior Joshua Parra notched a PR of 160 feet in the hammer throw, while sophomore decathlete Dan Feltman's mark of 197-09 in the javelin (fourth) was over two feet beyond his previous best.

Senior Chris Garofola enjoyed another strong all-around performance on the track, notching personal best times in the 110 (14.66 - fourth) and 400-meter hurdles (53.22 - fifth) and finishing fourth in the 200 with a time of 21.77. Junior Nate Clem and freshman Mike Smiel, meanwhile, finished 5-6 in the 800, clocking season best times of 1:53.91 and 1:54.78, respectively.


Head coach Matt Henry recently announced that Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming will headline the field of the 14th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, to be held at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium in Albuquerque on Saturday, May 1. Regional teams Adams State and Northern Colorado will also be in attendance. The meet, sponsored by the Albuquerque-based lawfirm Modrall Sperling, is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.


University of New Mexico senior Mark Johnson was named Mountain West Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week the league announced on April 7. Johnson earned the award for the first time in his career after his performance in the decathlon at the prestigious Texas Relays. The Fontana, Wisc. native is the fifth member of the UNM men's team to win the weekly award. Distance runner Matt Gonzales was the lone Lobo to be honored last spring.

Johnson set personal records in his final four events of the decathlon to move up six places on the second day of competition to finish seventh in a field featuring many of the nation's top competitors at the 77th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Johnson posted a personal best and NCAA provisional qualifying score of 7,141 in his first appearance at the meet. It is also the highest point total in the MWC this season.

After finishing the first day in 13th place, Johnson notched a personal record in the discus (127-01) before notching 16-04.75 in the pole vault (tied for third), nearly eight inches above his previous best. Johnson capped his afternoon with two more personal records in the javelin (144-04) and 1,500-meter run (4:44.46). Overall, he collected personal bests in five events, including the 100 (11.30), during the 10-event competition to eclipse the provisional qualifying score (by 141 points) for the first time in his career.

Johnson, the 2004 MWC indoor heptathlon champion and 2002 MWC decathlon champ, was one of 11 in the 16-man field to surpass the provisional standard, while three athletes secured automatic bids to the NCAA Outdoor Track Championships. The defending league decathlon champion, Curtis Pugsley (7,044 pts.), and runner-up, Devin Scoresby (6,854 pts.), both of BYU, finished tied for ninth and 12th, respectively.