UNM Returns To Golden State For Two-Day Triton Invite
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/22/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

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April 22, 2004


The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field teams will spend a second straight weekend in sunny Southern California when they join the field of UC San Diego's Triton Invitational. New Mexico will bring a travel squad of 22 men and 22 women to the meet, which will run April 23-24 at Triton Stadium. The action gets underway at 1 p.m. (MDT) on Friday with the hammer throw and resumes on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the discus competition.

Over 800 athletes representing nearly 100 college and club teams as well national team members from several countries will comprise the field. New Mexico will face competitors from virtually every California university as well as athletes from Arizona, Arizona State, Akron, Auburn, Hawai'i and LSU.

The Lobos are making their first trip to San Diego since the 2002 season, when San Diego State hosted the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships. New Mexico, however, has never visited Triton Stadium on the campus of UCSD.


Complete information and results from the Triton Invitational will be available on the official website of the UCSD athletic department:

UCSD Track & Field


The 14th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational will be held next Saturday, May 1 at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming headline the field, which also includes regional squads from Adams State, Fort Lewis and Northern Colorado. The meet will open with the long jump and hammer throw events at 9:30 a.m. (MDT), followed by the running events at 10:30. For the third-straight year, the Don Kirby Invitational is sponsored by the Albuquerque-based law firm Modrall Sperling. Admission is free to the public.

Since taking over the program in 2001, UNM head coach Matt Henry has made the Don Kirby Invitational a showcase of the best collegiate track and field talent in the state of New Mexico. This year, over 75 percent (66 total) of Henry's Lobos hail from the Land of Enchantment, including 30 athletes from Albuquerque. UNM has also turned in some of its top performances on its home red track. Last spring, 20 of the team's 39 (51%) top outdoor results were recorded at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium.


Since returning to his alma mater with Matt and Mark Henry four years ago, assistant coach Scott Steffan has worked to make the pole vault a marquee event at University of New Mexico. A teammate of New Mexico's greatest pole vaulter, three-time All-American and six-time WAC champion Simon Arkell, Steffan has built one of the top vaulting units in the Mountain West Conference this spring.

Three Lobo men (Sr. Mark Johnson, Jr. Derek Mackel and Fr. Robert Caldwell) have qualified for the NCAA Midwest Region Championships and are tied for fourth in the Mountain West with top marks of 16-04.75. Senior Branden Bennett (T9th) is the fourth Lobo ranked among the MWC top-10, while sophomores Zach Bingham and Rodney Hocker are ranked 11th and 13th, respectively.

On the women's side, junior Amber Nolte is the league's seventh-ranked pole vaulter with a top mark of 11-10.00 this spring. True freshman Nicole Huyge has also shown tremendous potential in the event and is currently tied for 15th with a height of 10-11.75.


To gauge the impact second year volunteer coach Matt Kraft has had on the New Mexico throwers this year, one need only to take a look at the UNM record book or the Mountain West Conference and Midwest Region top performance lists. Under Kraft's tutelage, juniors Amanda Barnes and Jamie Fishencord have smashed the school records in the shot put and hammer throw, respectively, and are both closing in on the 10-year-old record in the discus as well. Barnes is the MWC's third-ranked performer in the shot put and is eighth in the Midwest. Fishencord, meanwhile, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in her third season and is currently ranked sixth in the MWC and 13th regionally. The duo are also both among the MWC top-10 in the discus.

Senior Jason Barkemeyer, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the best shot put and discus men in the Mountain West, one of the nation's top conferences in the throwing events. Barkemeyer is currently fourth in the MWC, 13th in the Midwest region, in the shot put and is the league's No. 6 discus thrower (20th regionally). Barkemeyer has also teamed with redshirt junior Joshua Parra to give the Lobos' a pair of MWC top-10 competitors in the hammer throw.

Last year, in his first year on the UNM coaching staff, Kraft helped Barnes become the first New Mexico woman to win a conference title in a throwing event when she captured the 2003 MWC outdoor shot put crown. Barkemeyer, meanwhile, earned all-conference honors for the first time in his career with a third place finish in the shot put. In March, Barnes became the first UNM woman to earn all-conference honors indoors when she finished third in the shot put at the 2004 MWC Championships.


Cameron Clarke earned his first career trip to the NCAA regional meet last weekend, qualifying in the 5,000.

Through four meets this spring, 11 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

(2 in 2 men's events)

Sr. Mark Johnson

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

Jr. Ben Ortega

10,000m * 29:36.66 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)

NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers

(9 in 4 men's and 3 women's events)

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 * 48-10.75 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 18)

Fr. Kayla Brown

Javelin * 142-05 * Willie Willams Classic - Tucscon, Ariz. (March 19)

Fr. Robert Caldwell

Pole Vault * 16-04.75 * NMSU Invitational - Las Cruces, N.M. (April 3)

Jr. Cameron Clarke

5,000m * 14:13.90 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)

Jr. Jamie Fishencord

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

Jr. Matt Gonzales

5,000m * 13:44.52 * Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 16)

Jr. Veronica R. Gonzales

Javelin * 143-10 * Mesa Classic - Mesa, Ariz. (April 9)

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 18 events. Ten 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 spring on their top event marks of the 2003 outdoor season:

Women (10 events)

400m: (56.68 ~ 56.01, -0.67 sec.), 800m: (2:22.11 ~ 2:15.99, -6.12 sec.), 1,500m: (4:42.62 ~ 4:36.68, -5.94 sec.), *5,000m: (17:51.63 ~ 17:13.59, -38.04 sec.), 3,000m Steeplechase: (no competitors ~ 12:14.86), 400m Hurdles: (1:05.54 ~ 1:04.28, -1.26 sec.), *Shot Put: (48-06.25 ~ 48-10.75, +3 ft., 0.5 in.), *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 (8 events)

*110m Hurdles: (14.74 ~ 14.65, -0.09 sec.), *5,000m: (13:48.35 ~ 13:44.52, -3.83 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