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Lobos Get Last Chance For NCAA Championship Bids
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/04/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 4, 2009

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UPCOMING

Another weekend, another program record on the line for the University of New Mexico track and field team. New Mexico will send athletes to Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational and Iowa State's Cyclone NCAA Qualifier as it looks to send the biggest group in school history to the NCAA Indoor Championship meet (March 13-14). The Lobos have three athletes who are near-locks to advance to the NCAA meet, including automatic qualifier Lee Emanuel who is ranked sixth in the mile run.

The 1978 men's team set the program standard with four individuals and one relay team qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships. New Mexico hasn't sent more than two individuals in a season to indoor nationals since then and only five total individuals have qualified over the last 15 years.

Rory Fraser (10th in the 5,000 meters) and Deanna Young (No. 12 in the triple jump) are expected to receive at-large bids, while Jarrin Solomon (tied for 12th in the 400m) and David Bishop (16th in the mile) are on the bubble. The undefeated (5-0) Solomon would be in if the NCAA selections were made today, but will try to control his own destiny on Saturday at Iowa State.

As many as six athletes with season-bests within a few tenths of Solomon's top time of 46.69, including Big 10 Conference champion Gakologelwang Masheto (Illinois) and MPSF/Pac-10 runner-up Bobby McCoy (Arizona), are projected to be among the field at the Lied Recreation Center. Another Solomon victory, regardless of time, would essentially clinch his first NCAA Indoor berth.

Three weeks earlier, Solomon did just that, defeating a field that included Masheto, McCoy, and No. 21 Jose Acevedo of Kentucky at the ISU Classic. The Albuquerque La Cueva product also downed McCoy in his first 400 race of the season in Cherry & Silver Invitational on Jan. 24 in Albuquerque.

The weekend action gets underway on Friday evening at Notre Dame when the New Mexico distance medley relay team of Bishop, Dominick Roberts, Ryan Steadman, and Emanuel runs for a NCAA bid and school record in foursome's first race together. The UNM team of Fraser, Kyle Henry, Emanuel, and Bishop finished second at the MWC Championships last week.

Fifth-year senior Ariel Burr, meanwhile, will look to extend her magnificent collegiate career when she steps into the blocks for the women's 400 at the Loftus Center in South Bend. Currently ranked 20th in the event, Burr will likely need to run under 53.80 to put her in position for her first NCAA Indoor bid.

The Carrizozo, N.M. product ran a season-best 54.05 in last week's MWC silver medal performance, but clocked a school record time of 53.73 two years ago when she won the MWC title on the banked track at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

WEEKEND MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Alex Wilson Invitational Schedule: The men's distance medley relay begins at 7 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday. Ariel Burr will run the women's 400 on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Notre Dame Facility Information: The indoor track at Notre Dame's Lofus Center is a six-lane, 320-meter, flat surface oval. The facility is unique for the proximity between the competitors and spectators that crowd the infield, just inches inside of lane one, and the narrow space outside of lane six. UNM's Lee Emanuel clocked the first sub four-minute mile at the facility on Feb. 7.

Cyclone NCAA Qualifier Schedule: Jarrin Solomon will run the men's 400 on Saturday at 11:40 a.m.

Iowa State Facility Information: The oval at the Lied Recreation Center is an eight-lane, 300-meter, flat Mondo surface. The multi-level building also serves as the fitness/recreation center for all Iowa State students and has the unique feature of massive support columns popping up just a few feet inside of lane one.

LAST TIME OUT: MWC Indoor Championships

The University of New Mexico men's track and field team tied a program record with a second place finish (102 points) at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships, held Feb. 26-28 at Air Force's Cadet Field House. The Lobos were sixth last year and had never finished higher than fifth in nine prior MWC Indoor meets.

The men's team was also second at the 1990 Western Athletic Conference Championships with a record 118 points.

New Mexico moved up a spot from 2008 to finish fifth in the women's standings with 53 points - just eight out of third place.

Jarrin Solomon won the lone event title of the weekend for the Lobos, cruising to the 400m gold, as expected, with a time of 47.17. He was the first UNM runner since 1990 to win a conference title in the men's 400 and improved to 5-0 in head-to-head competition this winter.

Solomon's was one of a program record eight all-MWC medals for the New Mexico men during the meet. Senior Domnick Meadows earned team high point honors (16) with silver medal performances in the long (23-04.75) and triple jump (49-03.00). It was the highest MWC Indoor finish by a Lobo in either event.

Senior Lee Emanuel finished second in the 800m with an altitude-adjusted school record time of 1:50.15, while junior transfer Rory Fraser was the runner-up in the 3,000m with an altitude-adjusted time of 8:21.44. Fellow junior transfer David Bishop ran an altitude-adjusted time of 4:14.87 to finish third in the mile, while Jermaine McQueen was the bronze medalist in the 200 (21.72) - the Lobos' best finish in the event since 2004.

The UNM distance medley relay team of Fraser, sophomore Kyle Henry, Emanuel, and Bishop finished second behind BYU for the fourth time in six years, this time in the closest DMR race in conference history. The foursome clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 10:05.78 - just 0.26 seconds behind the Cougars.

The 4x400m team of Solomon, junior Phillip Reid, sophomore Ryan Steadman and freshman Dominick Roberts also earned silver medal honors with a track adjusted time of 3:12.80.

New Mexico earned four women's all-MWC medals for the second straight year, including silvers from senior Ariel Burr and the DMR team.

Burr ran a season-best 54.05 in her final MWC 400m race while the team of redshirt freshman Alex Darling, junior Kim Perkins, senior transfer Andrea Wright, and junior transfer Ashley Gibson notched the Lobos' best finish in the event since 2004 with an altitude-adjusted time of 12:11.98.

Junior Deanna Young broke her own school record in the triple jump with a leap of 43-01.75 to earn an indoor bronze medal for the second straight year. Senior Michelle Corrigan opened the meet with a third place finish in the women's 5,000 (altitude-adjusted 17:46.28). After missing last year's meet with an illness, Corrigan turned in the highest finish ever by a UNM woman in the 5K, giving the Lobos their first points in the event since 2004.

LOBO MEN NO. 33 IN NATIONAL POWER RANKINGS

The University of New Mexico men's track and field team is ranked 33rd in the most recent USTFCCCA NCAA Division I team rankings. No. 28 BYU is the only Mountain West Conference team ranked higher. The Lobos have climbed as high as 27th this winter - more than 50 spots above their preseason ranking.

Senior Lee Emanuel has led the charge for the Lobos this winter. The Hastings, England product has the sixth-fastest Division I time in the mile and 10th-fastest in the 3,000 meters.

Senior Jarrin Solomon owns the 12th-fastest 400 time, while junior transfer Rory Fraser is ranked 10th in the 5,000. Another junior transfer, David Bishop, is No. 12 in the mile.

EMANUEL CAPS HISTORIC WEEK WITH MWC AWARD

Senior Lee Emanuel added another record to his resumé on Feb. 10 when he was named Mountain West Conference Men's Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week. Emanuel is the first Lobo to earn the Men's Athlete of the Week award twice during the indoor season and three times overall during their track and field careers.

The Hastings, England product joins fellow senior Jarrin Solomon (400m) as the second New Mexico athlete honored this winter - also a first for the program. The UNM men have earned the weekly honor four times in the past four years after winning the award just once in the first seven years of the MWC's existence.

Emanuel made history on Feb. 7 when he became the Lobos' first sub four-minute miler with a time of 3:57.91 in the signature Meyo Mile race at Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational. The time is the fourth-fastest in the country this season.

Emanuel clocked the second fastest mile in MWC history as he became the first Lobo since 2005 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Colorado State's Bryan Berryhill is the only man in league history to run faster, recording a time of 3:56.84 when he won the event at the 2001 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Emanuel shattered his own school record in the event by 4.56 seconds and was nearly two seconds under the NCAA automatic qualifying standard.

Emanuel finished second in an elite field of 11 and was one of a remarkable five men to run under four minutes in the Meyo Mile. Among the runners Emanuel defeated were: two-time All-American (DMR) and former Big Ten 1,500-meter champion Justin Switzer (Michigan), Conference USA 1,500m champion Mark Davidson (Tulsa) and three-time All-American (DMR, 1,500) Craig Miller (Wisconsin).

SOLOMON RUNS MWC'S FASTEST EARLY SEASON 400

Senior Jarrin Solomon was named Mountain West Conference Men's Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week the conference office announced on Jan.27. It was Solomon's first career indoor Athlete of the Week award and the first by a Lobo sprinter during the winter season.

Solomon jump-started the Lobos in Cherry & Silver Invitational with a stunning performance in the men's 400 meters. After redshirting all of 2008, the Albuquerque La Cueva product picked up where he left off in 2007, smashing his own school record in a wire-to-wire victory in the collegiate field.

Solomon crossed the line in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 46.84 - the fastest time in Mountain West Conference history run in the month of January. The previous five fastest 400-meter times in MWC history had all been run on or after Feb. 24.

Solomon outlasted Arizona All-American Bobby McCoy in the first and fastest collegiate heat and also defeated Adams State All-American Josh Streeter, who was running in heat two. McCoy was fourth in the 400 at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships, while Streeter was third at the 2008 Division II Indoor Championships.

Former USA Indoor 400 champion James Davis - who set a Convention Center record of 46.60 in the invitational race on Jan. 24 - was the only athlete to clock a faster time than Solomon during the 2009 home season.

Solomon went on to clock a time of 46.69 on Feb. 7 at the Convention Center, moving into second on the MWC all-time list for the indoor 400.

UNM TO OPEN OUTDOOR SEASON A WEEK LATER

After four-meet home indoor schedule and what will be a long, successful winter campaign through the NCAA Indoor Championships, UNM head coach Joe Franklin has decided to cancel the Lobos' March 21 home meet. New Mexico will take the weekend off to continue their training before opening the outdoor season on March 28 at UTEP's Springtime Invitational.

UNM will still host two home meets - the New Mexico Tailwind Invitational (April 11) and 19th Don Kirby Invitational (May 1-2). The Lobos haven't held two regular season meets at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium since 2002.

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