April 25, 2007
UPCOMINGThe University of New Mexico track and field team will host its lone home meet of the outdoor season on Saturday when it welcomes nine regional teams for the 17th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational. Division II national powers Adams State (No. 6 men, No. 12 women) and Western State (No. 1 men, No. 3 women), and the New Mexico State women headline the visiting schools competing at the renovated Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium.
Saturday will mark the final home event for seventh-year coaches Matt and Mark Henry who have announced that they will retire from UNM at the end of the outdoor season. The meet opens with the field events at 9 a.m., followed by the first event on the track at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free and concessions stands will be open throughout the day.
THE DON KIRBY MEMORIAL INVITATIONAL AT A GLANCEResults: Final meet results will be available online at www.golobos.com.
Schedule: The meet gets underway with the field events at 9 a.m. The first event on the track, the women's 5,000-meter run, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
The Biggest Outdoor Meet In New Mexico: The Don Kirby Invitational is the biggest collegiate track meet in the state of New Mexico each year and a showcase for some of the top talent in the state and region. This year 10 collegiate teams and over 400 athletes are scheduled to compete.
Collegiate Teams Competing (10): Adams State, Colorado School of Mines, Diné College, Eastern New Mexico, Mesa State (women only), New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands (women only), New Mexico JC (women only), New Mexico State (women only), Western State.
Albuquerque Weather Forecast: Saturday's weather should be ideal for fans and athletes alike with partly cloudy skies and a high of 79 degrees forecast. There is almost no chance of rain and the notorious New Mexico spring winds are not expected to get above 10 miles per hour.
Directions: The G.F.O. UNM Track Stadium is located on Avenida César Chavez east of University Blvd. The track facility is on the east side of the University football stadium. Fans should enter at the north side of the facility.
Don Kirby Memorial Invitational History: Named in honor of the longtime Albuquerque meet official and friend of the UNM track and field program, the first Don Kirby Memorial Invitational was held on April 27, 1991 as a scored meet between the men's and women's teams of New Mexico, San Diego State and Cal State Los Angeles. The Lobos won the men's competition 141-94 over runner-up SDSU, but finished second behind the Aztecs on the women's side, 128-74.5.
Last year, UNM did not disappoint the home crowd, winning 10 events against a field that included Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming, and Division II national power Adams State.
Sophomore Whitney Johnson turned in the highlight of the meet for the Lobos, flying 13' 1/4" to set the UNM women's pole vault record.
New Mexico opened the day with a freshman sweep of the javelin courtesy of Anthony Fairbanks (213' 9") and Katie Coronado (149' 6"). The Lobos also won the first track event of the day, the women's 5,000 meters, as redshirt freshman Leslie Luna earned a wire-to-wire victory (16:52.02 - altitude adjusted).
UNM kept rolling in the 4x100-meter relay as the women's foursome of Kristan Matison, Ariel Burr, Tabatha Shaw and Shakira Williams clocked a time of 46.09 (altitude-adjusted) to beat the runner-up New Mexico State by 0.59 seconds. The men's team of Phillip Merritt, Taylor Siemon, Jarrin Solomon and Aaron Brack, meanwhile, got the stick around in 41.27 seconds (altitude-adjusted) - 0.52 seconds ahead of the second place CSU.
New Mexico's sophomore duo of Burr and Solomon dominated the 400. Burr, who also won the event at the 2005 Don Kirby Invite, cruised to a 1.28-second victory over the runner-up, Katrina Powell of New Mexico State, crossing the line in 54.21 (altitude adjusted). Solomon then came from behind over the final 200 meters to notch a 0.88-second victory over the field with a time of 47.28 (altitude adjusted).
Matison kept the momentum going, winning the women's 100 at home for the second straight year with a time of 12.05 (altitude adjusted), while sophomore Domnick Meadows picked up his first victory outdoors, winning the long jump with a strong leap of 23' 2".
WHAT'S NEW AT THE UNM TRACK STADIUM??The 22-year-old Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium has a new look this year. A two-year renovation project is nearing completion that will make the Lobos' home stadium one of the best facilities in the region.
The first phase of the renovation project expanded the east side of the facility to allow the long jump, triple jump, pole vault and shot put all to be contested in the same area within the stadium.
Two new long jump runways/pits and two triple jump runways/pits were installed, along with a new pole vault runway, all running north and south to minimize the effect of the notorious New Mexico winds during the spring. Two new shot put rings were also installed on the east side, moving the event from the adjacent practice fields, back into the stadium. A wall was then constructed to enclose the east side of the stadium and bleachers were also placed on the east side to give spectators an up-close view of the field events.
The second phase of the athlete and fan-friendly stadium renovations was completed in November of 2006 when the track oval and jumping runways were resurfaced with a polyurethane acrylic material. Landscaping work and signage improvements are also in progress to improve the overall aesthetics of the facility.
Future stadium improvements include: a state-of-the-art scoreboard that will list athlete names, times and place, and a Wall of Champions, sponsored by the New Mexico Track & Field Club, that will honor the legends of the program. Both projects are expected to be completed by the fall of 2007.
Originally a track-only facility when it was constructed in 1985, the infield of the G.F.O. UNM Track Stadium was modified in 1996 to accommodate the Lobo men's and women's soccer field. The addition of the soccer field squeezed the shot put rings and jumping runways into the south end of the oval. In order to alleviate the congestion in the area, the shot, discus and hammer cages were eventually moved outside of the stadium to the practice fields. Due to safety concerns, the hammer will continue to be held at the practice field.
SO LONG, SENIORSSaturday's meet will mark the final home appearance outdoors for 10 UNM seniors, including eight from the state of New Mexico. The 2007 senior class includes two NCAA Championship participants in Timmie Murphy (cross country) and Dan Feltman (decathlon) and two conference champions in Feltman (decathlon) and Randle McCain (4x400 relay). Four members of the senior class (Murphy, Feltman, Jeremy Johnson, McCain) are all-MWC honorees and Murphy owns indoor school records in the 3,000 and as a member of the distance medley relay.
Austin Brobst (Fort Collins, Colo.), Dan Feltman (Deming, N.M.), Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque, N.M.), Mark Lamb (Cimarron, N.M.), Brenton Laws (Albuquerque, N.M.), Randle McCain (Silver City, N.M.), Dylan Rose-Coss (Santa Fe, N.M.).
LAST TIME OUT: UC San Diego Triton InvitationalSAN DIEGO - New Mexico turned in a solid performance in sunny San Diego on April 21 at the UCSD Triton Invitational. Junior Tiyana Peters cleared an outdoor-best 5' 10" to finish tied for third in the high jump and the men's 4x400-meter relay cruised to a wire-to-wire victory to lead the Lobos on the track.
Click here for the complete meet recap.
QUALITY QUALIFIERSSeven UNM athletes have secured their spot in the field of the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, May 25-26, in Des Moines, Iowa. All of New Mexico's regional qualifiers are currently ranked in the top-10 in the region of their particular event, including three listed among the top-5. Sophomore Katie Coronado own the third-best mark in the Midwest in the women's javelin (169-10), while senior Jeremy Johnson has the fourth-fastest 5,000-meter time (13:50.85) and sophomore Anthony Fairbanks as the No. 5 men's javelin mark (217-10).
The top five finishers in each event at the regional championship meets automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships in Sacramento (June 6-9). However, athletes who finish in the top-8 at the regional meets are eligible for an at-large bid the national championships. The non-automatic qualifiers are put into a pool and seeded according to their best mark or time during the 2007 season. The NCAA Championship Committee will then add the highest ranked athletes until the event field is filled.
The men's decathlon, women's heptathlon and men's and women's 10,000-meter run are not contested at the regional meets. NCAA participants in those events must either surpass the automatic qualifying standard during the season or be selected from the national pool of provisional qualifiers in order to compete at the NCAA Championships.
Johnson and senior Timmie Murphy have both recorded NCAA provisional qualifying times in the 10,000. Johnson has almost assured himself a spot at the national championship meet with a top time of 28:47.76 that is less than three seconds shy of the automatic qualifying standard and is currently ranked ninth in the country. Murphy, meanwhile, is on the qualifying bubble, ranked 23rd nationally in the women's 10K with a top time of 34:17.47.
THESE ARE NEW MEXICO'S LOBOSOver the past six years UNM head coach Matt Henry has worked to rebuild the track and field program primarily using in-state and in-city athletes. Few D-I athletics programs in the state of New Mexico can match Lobo track and field when it comes to being a truly New Mexican product.Zia pride is what fuels the program, coaches and athletes alike.
The 2007 roster features 71 in-state products, including 38 from the Duke City. Thirty-one men and women are former New Mexico high school track & field champions. More and more, the elite athletes in the state are choosing to stay home at New Mexico, even declining offers from big name out-of-state schools with greater financial resources.
The New Mexico connection is just as strong with the coaching staff as Matt Henry (Albuquerque), Mark Henry (Albuquerque), Scott Steffan (Aztec, N.M.) and Keren Bentzur (Israel), as well as volunteer coaches Mark Johnson (Fontana, Wisc.), Matt Kraft (Albuquerque) and Derek Mackel (Albuquerque) all competed at and graduated from the University of New Mexico.
JAVELIN DOMINANCEThe top javelin throwers in the Mountain West Conference both hail from the state of New Mexico. Sophomores Katie Coronado (Ruidoso) and Anthony Fairbanks (Albuquerque Highland) have established themselves as the gold medal favorites at the MWC Championships (May 10-12) with their javelin performances this spring.
Coronado is ranked third in the NCAA Midwest Region and sixth in the nation with a top mark of 169-10, recorded on April 14 at UTEP. The throw also broke a 10-year-old UNM record in the event.
She finished second in the MWC last year behind two-time national champion Dana Pounds of Air Force and was one of the last javelin competitors left out of NCAA Championship field after finishing seventh at the regional meet.Coronado has surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying standard in all five meets this spring and has five top-5 finishes, including wins at Arizona State and USC.
Fairbanks, meanwhile, opened the 2007 season with a career-best throw of 217-10 at Arizona State that is currently ranked 24th nationally and fifth in the Midwest Region.He has also surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying standard in all five meets and notched three top-3 finishes.
No UNM woman has ever won a conference title in the javelin and the Lobos have never had a men's and women's javelin tandem qualify for the NCAA Championships in the same year.
BEST OF THE MOUNTAIN WESTThe New Mexico men have earned a record three Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week awards this season, while the women have been honored once for a combined program record of four awards in 2007. The Lobos had two Outdoor Athlete of the Week winners the previous two years combined.
Sophomore Anthony Fairbanks earned his first career award on March 21 - the first for a Lobo outdoors since 2005. Fairbanks finished second in the javelin at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. with a career-best and NCAA regional qualifying throw of 217' 10" (66.39m), surpassing his previous personal best distance in the event by over four feet.
Junior Jarrin Solomon later earned his first Athlete of the Week award on April 3 for his performance at the Arizona International meet in Tucson, Ariz. Solomon ran an NCAA regional qualifying time of 46.42 - the fastest by a Lobo since 1991 and fourth-best in MWC history. To win the 400-meter race. He finished 0.13 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Arizona State All-American Domenik Peterson, as he shaved 0.39 seconds off of his previous career-best. Solomon is the only athlete among the league's top-5 in the men's 400 to record his time before the month of May.
Solomon was also a part of the second-place UNM 4x400 relay team that clocked a season-best time of 3:10.72 in Tucson. The time was New Mexico's fastest in the event since 2003 and just 0.72 seconds off the regional qualifying standard.
Senior Jeremy Johnson earned his first award on April 17 after recording the third-fastest time in MWC history in his first career 10,000-meter race at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif. He crossed the finish line in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 28:47.76, which was less than three seconds off the NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Johnson finished ninth overall and third among collegians in a field of 57 runners.
Sophomore Katie Coronado became the first UNM woman since `05 to win the weekly award after she broke an 11-year-old UNM javelin record with a throw of 169'-10.00" (51.77) in a second-place finish at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas. Coronado surpassed the previous Lobo school record by over four feet and moved up to third on the all-time MWC list for the event.
HENRY BROTHERS ANNOUNCE RETIREMENTUniversity of New Mexico head track and field coach Matt Henry and associate head coach Mark Henry announced on Feb. 19 that they will retire from UNM effective at the end of the 2007 outdoor season. A nation-wide search is underway to replace the twin brothers, who are in their seventh season with the Lobos.
"We just felt that it was time for us to step aside," said Matt Henry. "We've done some pretty nice things since we've been here. Cross country in particular - we've been pretty successful on both the men's and women's sides. We've also had some good track and field performances over the years, but I'm most proud of the fact that we've done it almost entirely with New Mexico kids."
Under Henry's tutelage, 13 UNM athletes have advanced to NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Championship meets, giving the Lobos representation every year since 2002. New Mexico has also earned four All-America awards, two Academic All-America certificates, won 24 Mountain West Conference event titles and earned all-MWC honors 106 times. Twenty-five UNM indoor/outdoor records have been set during Henry's tenure.
In cross country, Henry's runners have earned a combined 17 all-MWC awards and 11 all-NCAA Mountain Region certificates. New Mexico has sent six individuals and one team to the NCAA Cross Country Championships, earning All-America honors three times.
Henry's fellow coaches named him MWC Coach of the Year for men's outdoor track in 2002 and again in 2005 for women's cross country.
Mark Henry has been the primary sprints and relays coach all seven years at UNM. Since 2001, Henry's sprinters have captured a four MWC titles and earned all-conference honors 26 times. Four individuals and two relay teams have advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet and seven school records have been set in the sprint and relay events under Henry's watch.
"The Henry name has been synonymous with track and field - locally and nationally - for many decades," said UNM athletics director Paul Krebs. "I'm disappointed that future Lobo student-athletes will not have the benefit of receiving guidance and coaching from Matt and Mark. They have worked tirelessly for the New Mexico track program and the sport of track and field. They will be missed."
Both Matt and Mark say they plan to stay in the Albuquerque area after finishing at UNM. Matt's sons Kurt (a junior) and Kyle (a freshman) will both remain with the program.
LOBO LEGACYThe University of New Mexico track and field program boasts an elite tradition of excellence that has included 11 national championship event victories, 70 All-America honors, 19 national top-25 team finishes, 205 conference championship event victories and five conference titles. Several current Lobos have grown up with a unique appreciation of the program's proud history. Six athletes on the 2007 roster are second generation members of the Lobo track and field program, many of whom can still see their surnames prominently displayed in the UNM record books.
Junior Kristan Matison is the daughter of one of New Mexico's finest sprinters, Rene Matison, who earned All-America honors in the 100-yard dash and as part of the 440-yard relay in 1966. Matison was also a member of four Western Athletic Conference champion relay teams and played a year of football for the Lobos before being drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. Matison's name is also in the UNM record books as he anchored the record-setting 4x100y relay team and matched the fastest 100-yard time ever recorded at UNM. In 2006, he has continued to make an impact on the program with the founding the New Mexico Track & Field Club.
Fellow junior Jarrin Solomon can also find his family name featured throughout the history of New Mexico track and field thanks to the efforts of his father Michael Solomon. The elder Solomon was a two-time All-American and the 600-yard champion at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships. From 1974-77, Solomon claimed four-straight 600 titles, one 440 crown, was a member of the Lobos' three-time WAC champion mile relay team indoors and part of the outdoor record-setting 4x400m relay team. Solomon was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Brothers Kurt and Kyle Henry have been in surrounded by UNM track and field tradition their entire life. Their dad, Matt Henry, is the seventh-year head coach at New Mexico, a former All-American for the Lobos and member of four WAC Champion relay teams. Mom, Lisa (formerly Lisa Chivario), competed at UNM in the early `70s and earned All-America honors in 1971 as the AIAW national runner-up in the long jump. Uncle Mark was also a letterwinner for UNM and is currently the associate head coach, while his grandfather Bub and great-grandfather Gwinn have a legacy of success in UNM athletics that goes back to the 1930s.
Sophomore Briana Paxton's mother, Laurie (formerly Laurie Gilliland), was a standout hurdler at UNM from 1975-78. Laurie was a three-time AIAW national qualifier in the 400 hurdles and won the event at the `77 WAC Championships. She is also a former school and conference record holder in the 100 hurdles. Briana's dad, Matt, played football for the Lobos in the late `70s.
Rookie Lynn Brasher's mom, Lucille, ran track for the Lobos from 1976-77. A second cousin, also named Lynn Brasher, ran track at UNM from 1979-80 and earned All-America honors in 1979 as part of the two-mile relay team.
Freshman Jeremy Newland's dad, Jef, is a former Lobo distance runner (1988-92) who helped UNM win the WAC cross country championship and advance to the NCAA Championship meet in 1988.
NEW MEXICO TRACK & FIELD CLUBChampionship track and field programs are not built overnight. They are constructed gradually, built upon a strong foundation of pride, tradition and a commitment to excellence. The University of New Mexico track and field program has built its legacy with the same championship formula.
Since 1930, New Mexico athletes have earned All-America honors 70 times, won 11 NCAA Championship events and claimed 205 conference events. Perhaps the most exceptional group of athletes ever to compete in any sport at UNM were on legendary coach Hugh Hackett's track and field teams of the 1960s.
A large group of Lobo legends from that era, including coach Hackett and former national champions Adolph Plummer and Art Baxter, reunited in Albuquerque on Jan. 20, 2006 for a memorable evening spent sharing memories and reaffirming a commitment to New Mexico track and field excellence. That night, reunion organizer Rene Matison, a two-time All-American at UNM, announced the founding of the New Mexico Track & Field/Cross Country Club.
The organization seeks to unite all the alumni, friends and supporters who have been part of New Mexico's proud track & field history and would like to help the program continue its ascent under head coach Matt Henry. The New Mexico Track & Field Club goals include celebrating and preserving the program's proud tradition while helping current and future generations of Lobo track and field athletes establish a championship legacy of their own through facility and equipment upgrades and donations to the track and field scholarship fund.
In its first year, the club raised funds to sponsor the UNM Men's and Women's Athlete of the Year awards, assist with team equipment needs and begin creating a New Mexico Track & Field Wall of Champions at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. The group also helped secure funding for a Daktronics track & field scoreboard which is scheduled to be installed in the summer of `07.
More help is needed though and the New Mexico Track & Field/Cross Club is looking for members who want to see Lobo Track & Field once again take its place among the elite programs in the Mountain West Conference and eventually, the nation.
For more information contact Rene Matison via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Lobo Track & Field office at (505) 925-5735.