May 1, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Junior Amanda Barnes turned in the best performance of her collegiate career on Saturday to lead a strong showing by the host University of New Mexico at the 14th running of the Modrall Sperling Don Kirby Memorial Invitational. Barnes smashed the 10-year-old UNM record in the discus with a throw of 151-08 (fourth overall), then increased her own school record and NCAA regional qualifying mark in the shot put with a second place toss of 49-05.00.
"I felt really relaxed out there and the weather was just awesome," said Barnes. "I knew we were facing some of the top throwers in our conference and I wanted to see where they were at and show them where I was. I'm really excited about today's performance, but I don't think I've peaked yet. Hopefully, this is just the start of something big for me over the next few weeks (at the MWC and Midwest Regional championships).
Barnes, a native of Carlsbad, N.M., capped a stellar weekend for head coach Matt Henry's homegrown Lobos. Last night at Stanford's elite Cardinal Invitational, Santa Fe native Matt Gonzales clocked the third-fastest collegiate 10,000-meter time in the country, crossing the line in 28:22.77. Gonzales finished four seconds under his previous best in the event, which he recorded in a third place finish at last year's NCAA Championship meet. His time guarantees his place in the 2004 10K field at the NCAA meet in Austin, as well as the U.S. Olympic trials in Sacramento in June.
"Honestly, I thought he could've run maybe 15 seconds faster than that," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He said he wasn't feeling that great out there, but to clock a 28:22 when you're not at the top of your game is pretty remarkable."
Back in warm and sunny Albuquerque, Gonzales watched as his teammates thrilled a large crowd of friends, family and fellow student-athletes at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. Junior Jamie Fishencord opened the meet with a bang, recording a personal-best throw of 179-04 to finish second in a powerful women's hammer throw field. Already the school record-holder and an NCAA regional qualifier in the event, Fishencord's mark was two inches above her previous best.
Later, junior Hank Baskett became the tenth Lobo to qualify for the Midwest Regional meet with a winning leap of 6-10.75 in the high jump. In just his second meet of the season after completing his spring football season, the 6-4, 215-pound Baskett surpassed his collegiate best (set in 2002) by half an inch. Fellow wide receiver Mike Powdrell was fourth with a height of 6-06.75 in his season debut.
Junior Bridgid Isworth punched her ticket to the regional meet as well by soaring a season-best 12-04.00 in the women's pole vault. Isworth finished second overall, behind unattached athlete Andrea Dutiot, who shattered the stadium record with a clearance of 15-01.00.
The personal records continued to fall for New Mexico in the women's javelin as Carlsbad native Veronica Gonzales finished second with a mark of 152-01 in a field that included four of the Mountain West's top-5 ranked throwers. Gonzales improved on her previous personal best by over eight feet, finishing only behind the league's top-ranked javelin thrower, Dana Pounds of Air Force. Senior Jimmy Minner, meanwhile, turned in his best performance of the season in his home finale, placing second in the men's javelin with a throw of 199-11.
Back on the track, New Mexico's 4x100-meter relay teams each recorded season-bests. The men's quartet of RaShawn Jackson, Chris Garofola, Jeramie White and Issac Burgener picked up a solid victory, holding off Wyoming (41.45) at the line with a time of 41.15. The UNM squad had to chase down an unattached team of Lobo football players Curtis Flakes, Jerrell Malone, Marcus Smith and Aaron Brack, which held an early lead, much to the enjoyment of head coach Rocky Long and a group of 15-20 vocal teammates in the stands, before eventually finishing fifth (41.93). The New Mexico women's team, meanwhile, finished second behind Adams State with a time of 47.71.
"This was just a great day to be at home. We had a good meet, some outstanding performances and the weather was just perfect."
Head coach Matt Henry
New Mexico junior Jacquelyne Gallegos missed the NCAA regional qualifying time in the 1,500 by just over two seconds, finishing second behind Wyoming's Tanice Barnett with an altitude-adjusted time of 4:30.99. Gallegos' former teammate at Pojoaque High School, Nick Martinez, ironically finished just shy of the regional standard in the men's 1,500 as well. Martinez finished seventh with an altitude-adjusted and personal record time of 3:49.92., 1.71 seconds over the regional qualifying minimum.
In the 400, sophomore RaShawn Jackson clocked the second-fastest time of his young career, finishing fourth in 48.53 (altitude adjusted). Up-and-coming sophomore Kimilia Davis, meanwhile, picked up her third 400-meter victory of the year with a time of 56.33 (altitude adjusted).
Later in the afternoon, freshman Riann Lucy flew to a season-best time of 2:13.83 in the 800. The former Cibola High School standout went toe-to-toe with the league's fourth-ranked runner, senior Katie Yemm of CSU, and just missed her first outdoor victory by 0.44 seconds. Lobo teammate Jaime Hall also enjoyed her best collegiate race, finishing fourth with a personal record time of 2:18.66.
In the final event of the day, the 4x400 relay, the UNM women clocked a season-best time of 3:48.67 (adjusted), but were unable to hold their lead down the stretch as Adams State came from behind for the close victory (3:48.00). The Lobo men, meanwhile, came up just short of Wyoming and Colorado State, finishing third with a time of 3:14.85 (adjusted).
"This was just a great day to be at home," said Henry. "We had a good meet, some outstanding performances and the weather was just perfect. Amanda Barnes had maybe the best day for us, but we really had a lot of kids step up and perform well in front of our home fans today."
New Mexico will take a well-deserved week off before travelling to Las Vegas, Nev. for the 2004 MWC Outdoor Championships May 12-15. The meet will be the last chance for the Lobos to earn qualifying times and marks for the NCAA Championships (June 9-12 - Austin, Texas) and Midwest Regional meet (May 28-29 - College Station, Texas).