National Champ Emanuel Leads Lobos To Historic NCAA Indoor Performance
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/13/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 13, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Senior Lee Emanuel's dominating title defense in the mile today highlighted a remarkable weekend performance by the University of New Mexico at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Emanuel became the first Lobo ever to win back-to-back NCAA crowns, leading the New Mexico men to a share of eighth place with a school record 18-point score. Only the 1967 Lobos finished higher at the meet, tying for fifth with a score of 12 points. UNM notched consecutive national top-20 finishes for the first time since 1977-78.

All four of the Lobos' NCAA qualifiers earned All-America honors, including senior Sandy Fortner, who earned the bronze medal in the pentathlon. Senior Rory Fraser capped the meet with a sixth place finish in the 3,000 meters after his teammate Chris Barnicle was fourth in the 5K last night.

The story of the day for the Lobos was Emanuel who made his second straight NCAA mile victory look easy. Just as he did a year earlier, the Hastings, England product made a strong move out of the pack to take over the lead with 800 meters to go. This time, however, the field wilted behind Emanuel's blistering pace as he ran the final three laps unchallenged.

He crossed the line in 3:59.26 - 2.37 seconds ahead of the runner-up, second-seeded Mac Fleet of Oregon (4:01.63) - with his now trademark extended arms victory pose, followed by a big fist pump into the ESPN360 cameras.

Lee Emanuel Postmeet Interview (Flotrack.org):

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Less than two hours later, Emanuel was back on the starting line for the 3,000 final in his first attempt to double at the NCAA meet. A slow early pace forced him to make several energy-taxing surges out of traffic and into the lead pack which eventually caused him to fade out of scoring position (12th, 8:19.35).

Senior teammate Rory Fraser, however, ran a steady patient race, working his way up from the back of the pack into scoring position over the final 800 meters and eventually into sixth (8:12.88) to earn All-America honors for the first time. Fraser, who was 13th in the 5,000 last night, had not finished higher than 11th in three prior NCAA Championship races (indoor/outdoor) - all in the 5K.

Rory Fraser Postrace Interview (Flotrack.org):

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

New Mexico's stellar day began with Fortner, who became the first UNM woman ever to score at the NCAA Indoor Championships with her bronze medal performance. The pride of Fort Sumner, N.M. broke her own school record for second time in the last three weeks with a score of 4,156 over the five events.

She put together a strong, consistent performance, steadily rising in the standings from 12th to as high as second through four events.

After running a solid time of 8.70 in the 60 hurdles, Fortner cleared 5-07.25 (1.71m) to finish tied for fifth in the high jump, then surged up the charts in her best event, the shot put, with a mark of 42-10.75 (13.07m) - good for second in the field. Thirty minutes later she flew a season and multis-best 19-06.00 (5.94m) on her opening long jump attempt, which was good for fifth. She even held her own in her least-favorite event, the 800, clocking a career-best time of 2:25.41 (8th).

Fortner's effort put the New Mexico women on the NCAA Indoor Championship team standings for the first time in school history as UNM finished tied for 36th overall with her 6 points.

Notes From The 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships
-The UNM men finished tied for eighth, which is the second-best finish in school history at the NCAA Indoor Championships...New Mexico finished tied for fifth the first time it cracked the standings at the 1967 Indoor Championships (12 points)...tied for 16th last year, UNM notched back-to-back top-20 national finishes for the first time since the 1977 team was ninth and 1978 team was 13th.

- New Mexico's 18 points are the most in men's program history at the NCAA Indoors...the previous best was the 15 scored by the 1977 team (13th)...the Lobo men put up 14 points last year (T-16th)...the UNM men scored 11.33 points combined at the NCAA Indoor Championships from 1985-2008 (6 - 1990, 5 - 2005, 0.33 - 2006)

-The UNM women scored for the first time at the NCAA Indoor Championships with Sandy Fortner's six points in the pentathlon

- UNM had four individuals earn All-America honors indoors for the first time...the previous-best was the three All-America awards Emanuel (mile), Jarrin Solomon (400m), and Deanna Young (triple jump) brought home last year

-UNM has earned 15 indoor/outdoor track All-America awards and four NCAA medals (top-three) in head coach Joe Franklin's 2 1/2 years in Albuquerque...seven of the All-Americans under Franklin have been graduates of New Mexico high schools.

-New Mexico matched a program record for the second straight year with four individual qualifiers for the NCAA meet...UNM also qualified four in 2009 and 1978

-Senior Lee Emanuel became the first Lobo ever to win back-to-back NCAA track titles with his victory in the mile...he joined Clarence Robinson, who swept the long and triple jumps at the 1965 NCAA Outdoor Championships, as the only athletes in program history to win multiple national titles...Emanuel is the only Lobo ever to qualify for the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

-Senior Sandy Fortner earned All-America honors for the first time in her career...her third place finish was the highest ever by a UNM woman at the NCAA Indoor Championships...no Lobo had ever finished among the top eight prior to today...Fortner broke her own school record for the second time this season with a score of 4,156...she is the only UNM woman ever to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pentathlon, finishing 12th in her debut in 2008...Fortner and triple jumper Deanna Young (T-12th in 2009) are the only UNM women to earn All-America honors indoors.

-Senior Chris Barnicle's fourth place finish matched Matt Gonzales (2005) for the highest ever by a Lobo in the 5,000...Barnicle broke Gonzales' school record with a time of 13:43.10...he improved 11 spots on his finish in his 2008 NCAA debut in the 5K when he was a junior at Arkansas...Barnicle earned All-America honors for the first time in his career indoors...he earned All-America laurels in the 10,000 outdoors in his first season at UNM last spring.

-Senior Rory Fraser earned All-America honors for the first time in four chances at the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships...Fraser's best finish was 11th in the Indoor 5,000 last year before finishing sixth in the his first NCAA 3K race...he is the first Lobo to earn All-America honors in the event.