Feb. 25, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Just as head coach Matt Henry predicted, the University of New Mexico men and women thrived in their first year as hosts of the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Without the worries of the road, the New Mexico men (67 points) and women (57) both finished fifth, matching their highest finish and score in seven MWC Indoor meets. It was the best combined performance (127 points) for the Lobo teams in 15 years of joint appearances at the indoor conference championship meet.
The UNM men defeated Wyoming for the first time since it joined the MWC, despite losing 79 percent of their (53) points from the 2005 MWC Indoor meet. The Lobos graduated a pair of 2005 conference champions in Matt Gonzales (3,000m) and Ben Ortega (3,000m), and lost two other all-MWC honorees in Cameron Clarke (800m) and Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (distance medley relay). The New Mexico women returned 55 percent (17) of its points from 2005, but graduated two-time all-MWC selection Amanda Barnes (shot put/weight throw).
The Colorado State University women won their first indoor title in dramatic fashion, edging six-time champion BYU in the final event. CSU picked up a critical fourth place point in the 4x400-meter relay to defeat the Cougars 156.50 - 155.50. The BYU men, meanwhile, won their fourth consecutive men's title with a score of 206 points. The Ram men were second with 143. The TCU men (106) and women (98) both finished third in their Mountain West Conference debuts.
Women's Standings 1. Colorado State (156.5), 2. BYU (155.5), 3. TCU (98), 4. San Diego State (76), 5. New Mexico (57), 6. Utah (42), 7. Wyoming (31), 8. UNLV (29), 9. Air Force (16).
Men's Standings 1. BYU (206), 2. Colorado State (143), 3. TCU (106), 4. Air Force (105), 5. New Mexico (67), 6. Wyoming (27).
2006 Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships Award Winners
Men's Coach of the Year - Mark Robison (BYU)
Women's Coach of the Year - Del Hessel (Colorado State)
Men's Outstanding Performance - BYU senior Robison Pratt (pole vault)
Women's Outstanding Performance - UNLV sophomore Ashley Owens (60m)
Men's High Point Award - Colorado State senior Nate Heyrman (20 points - shot put and weight throw) and BYU junior David Pendergrass (20 points - high jump and triple jump)
Women's High Point - Colorado State junior Nicole Feest (20 points - 3,000m and 5,000m)
Men's Freshman of the Year - Justyn Warner (TCU)
Women's Freshman of the Year - Mindy Neeley (BYU)
The following is a breakdown of the New Mexico highlights from the third and final day of the MWC Indoor Championships:
Men's 60m - Former Lobo wide receiver Aaron Brack continued his late season surge, moving up two spots to finish fourth in the finals with an altitude-adjusted time of 6.89, one hundredth of a second out of third and spot on the all-MWC team. Brack entered the meet seeded 11th in the event before clocking the sixth-fastest time in the prelims on Friday, a school record adjusted time of 6.88. His fourth place finish today matched the highest by a Lobo at the MWC meet (Chris Garofola, 2003).
Women's 60m - Sophomore Kristan Matison became the first Lobo since 2001 (Dayna McMillen - 7th) to score in the event, finishing seventh with an altitude-adjusted time of 7.81. Matison, who just missed the school record with an adjusted time of 7.64 in the prelims, was ranked 11th in the league entering the weekend.
Men's 200m - True freshman Phillip Merritt clocked a season-best time of 22.22 to finish seventh in his MWC Championships debut. Merritt entered the meet ranked 13th in the league with a time of 22.27.
Men's 400m - Sophomore Jarrin Solomon shaved another 0.05 seconds of his career-best, crossing the line in 48.62 to finish sixth in the finals. Solomon, who was eighth last year, notched the highest finish for the Lobos in the event indoors since 2001 (Nick Lott, 5th). He entered the meet as the No. 8 seed with a top time of 49.02.
Women's 400m - A day after breaking a 16-year-old UNM record in the event, sophomore Ariel Burr left no doubt in a sensational runner-up performance in a powerful field. Fueled down the final stretch by a roaring crowd, Burr shaved another 1.61 seconds of her day-old record, clocking an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 54.27. The Carrizozo, N.M. native finished the first lap in fourth place and trailed the lead group by roughly 15 meters before making a tremendous move around the final turn. Seventh last year, Burr entered the meet as the No. 9 seed, but finished as the fist UNM woman to earn all-MWC honors in the event.
Men's 800m - Redshirt freshman Adam Huff ran a season-best (altitude adjusted) time of 2:00.31 to finish seventh. Huff knocked 2.23 seconds off his previous best this season.
Women's 800m - Sophomore Riann Lucy, the 13th seed entering the weekend, became the first UNM woman to earn all-MWC honors in the event, placing third with a season-best altitude-adjusted time of 2:14.18. Lucy, who was seventh last year, got out quickly and never faded, finishing 0.84 seconds behind the winner.
Men's Mile - Running his only individual race in his first MWC Indoor Championship meet, fifth-year senior Frank Hemingway wasn't about to drop out even after a tangle with another runner midway through the race sent him down hard to the track. Hemingway quickly picked himself up off the deck and fought his way back into the race. The tenacious Goldwater Scholar eventually passed a runner from Air Force to finish 11th in the field of 12, but a definitive first among the track-burned runners.
Men's 3,000m - Junior transfer Jeremy Johnson finished fourth with an altitude-adjusted time of 8:21.92 to earn meet high point honors for the Lobos. Johnson, who was the runner-up in the 5,000 on Friday, scored 13 points for UNM.
Men's 4x400m Relay - New Mexico earned all-MWC honors for the first time since 2003, placing third in the final event of the day with a season-best time of 3:14.06, the fastest in head coach Matt Henry's six-year tenure. UNM also earned all-conference medals with runner-up finishes in 2003 and '00. Freshman Taylor Siemon, sophomore Jarrin Solomon, sophomore Kurt Henry earned all-MWC honors for the first time indoors, while junior Randle McCain added his second after helping the distance medley relay team finish second last year.
Women's 4x400m Relay - One of the oldest indoor records in UNM women's history was taken down in the final event of the day as the relay team of freshman Christina Zarrella, sophomores Ariel Burr and Shakira Williams, and junior KC Pritchard clocked a fifth place time of 3:49.48 - 0.82 seconds under the 22-year-old record. None of the four Lobo relay runners were born when the previous mark was set in 1984.
Women's High Jump - Freshmen Tiyana Peters and Khristina Curtis got the Lobos off on the right foot, tying for second in the first event of the day with marks of 5-07.75. Neither jumper missed a single attempt before bowing out when the bar went to 5-10.00. Curtis had a near-fall on the concrete outside the track during a hurried mid-competition restroom break, but came back to clear her indoor best on her next jump. The duo were the first Lobos to earn all-MWC honors in the event indoors.
Men's Pole Vault - Junior Robert Caldwell came up big in one of his last chances to qualify for the national championship meet, clearing a career-best and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17-07.25 en route to a second place finish. Caldwell entered the meet with a top jump of 17-03.00, which had him on the bubble for NCAA qualifying bubble. Senior teammate Derek Mackel, who had likely already secured his spot in the national championship field with a mark of 17-11.00 in the season-opener, showed a little rust in his first competition in three weeks, but still cleared a solid 17-03.50 to join Caldwell on the all-MWC team. It was the fist time the Lobos had ever placed two on the all-MWC team indoors.
Women's Triple Jump - Freshman Hagit Salamon bounced back from a disappointing performance in the long jump on Friday to place sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 38-06.25. Salamon's finish was the best by a Lobo in the event since 2003 when fellow Israeli and current position coach Keren Bentzur was third in 2003.
Men's Triple Jump - Sophomore Domnick Meadows defied his No. 11 seed to finish seventh with a career-best leap of 46-08.75, the best of head coach Matt Henry's tenure. Meadows surpassed his previous best by 6.75 inches to become the first Lobo to score in the event indoors since 2003 (Willie Yuen - 6th).
A breakdown of the rest of the MWC finals today is below:
Colorado State junior Rheannon Backes won the women's high jump with an NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 5-10.00...Backes, who entered the meet with a best of 5-06.00, became the first CSU woman to win the MWC Indoor high jump...it's also just the second time an athlete from BYU has not won the event...New Mexico redshirt freshman Tiyana Peters and true freshman Khristina Curtis tied for second with a clearance of 5-07.75, giving the Lobos their first indoor all-MWC honorees in the event.
BYU junior David Pendergrass completed an unprecedented double at the MWC Indoor Championships, winning the men's triple jump a day after taking the high jump title...Pendergrass won his first MWC triple jump crown with a leap of 48-08.25...TCU senior Michael DePriest finished second (48-04.50), giving the Horned Frogs their first ever all-MWC honoree...CSU sophomore Jarrelle Johnson was third (48-03.25).
TCU freshman Kishelle Paul became the first Horned Frog to win a MWC title, taking the women's 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.62...Paul and Shauna Smith of Wyoming (2002) are the only freshmen to win the event at the MWC meet...BYU freshman Kathryn Sevy finished second (8.66), followed by Wyoming sophomore Shaylee Babbitt (8.75).
Colorado State senior Justin Hazzard, last year's runner-up became the first Ram since 2001 to win the men's 60-meter hurdles...Hazzard clocked a time of 8.03 to edge the defending champion, BYU junior Jacob Garlick, by a thousandth of a second...Garlick also clocked an official time of 8.03...BYU senior Benjamin Gardner was third (8.17).
UNLV sophomore transfer Ashley Owens broke her own all-time MWC and Albuquerque Convention Center record, winning the women's 60-meter dash with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 7.20...Owens set the previous MWC and facility records with a time of 7.25 in her first Convention Center appearance on Feb. 11, 2006...UNLV has won the last two women's 60-meter races and five overall in the history of the MWC...Colorado State junior Janay DeLoach placed second with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7.33 and TCU sophomore Virgil Hodge was third (7.44).
TCU freshman Justyn Warner gave the Horned Frog men their first MWC title, winning the men's 60-meter dash with a time of 6.77...Warner, who became the first freshman in ever to win the event at the MWC Championships, snapped Colorado State's four-year run in the event...TCU also became the first team to sweep the first three spots of the men's 60 at the MWC Championships as junior Delwayne Delaney was second (6.80) and sophomore Otis McDaniel was third (6.86).
TCU junior Calandra Stewart snapped BYU's three-year winning streak in the women's mile, taking the race with a time of 4:59.20...BYU had won five of the previous six women's mile races...Air Force sophomore Kelly Robinson finished second with a time of 5:00.48, followed by CSU senior Danielle Korb (5:01.03)...Korb was the 2005 runner-up, while Robinson was third.
BYU senior Josh McAdams led a 1-2 Cougar finish in the men's mile, winning the event with a time of 4:15.05...freshman teammate Kyle Perry was second (4:16.64) and Air Force senior Mark Walter ran third (4:17.17)...BYU has won four straight men's mile races at the MWC Indoor Championships.
TCU junior Deborah Jones won the women's 400m with a time of 53.98, followed by New Mexico sophomore Ariel Burr (54.27) and TCU junior Marquita Davis (54.31)...all three women ran under the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 54.40...Burr smashed her own school record, which she set in yesterday's prelims, by 1.61 seconds and became the first UNM woman to earn indoor all-MWC honors in the 400.
TCU senior Lewis Banda completed the Horned Frog sweep, taking the men's 400m with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 46.94...Banda broke the MWC Indoor Championships record (47.44) by 0.5 seconds and ended a five-year BYU winning streak in the event...BYU freshman Chris Carter was the runner-up (47.26), followed by Air Force junior Nicholas Luina (47.90).
TCU freshman Candis Kelly ended Colorado State's five-year reign in the women's shot put, capturing the event with a mark of 48-07.50...Kelly is the first freshman woman ever to win the event at the MWC meet...CSU claimed the next two spots as junior Jaimee Troth finished second (47-01.50) and senior Jill McCormick was third (45-10.75).
BYU sophomore Michelle Lindsay led a 1-2 Cougar finish in the women's 800m, winning the event with a time of 2:14.50, just 0.04 seconds ahead of sophomore teammate Challis Firl (2:14.54)...New Mexico junior Riann Lucy gave the UNM women their first all-conference honoree in the indoor 800, finishing third with a time of 2:14.89.
TCU senior Jackson Langat shaved 1.11 seconds off the MWC Indoor Championships record, winning the men's 800m with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:49.93...BYU finished 2-3 with sophomore Jacob Gustafsson finishing in 1:51.06 and junior Jason Dorais crossing in 1:51.22.
TCU sophomore Virgil Hodge won the women's 200m with a MWC Indoor Championships and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 23.46...UNLV sophomore Ashley Owens finished second, also surpassing the meet and provisional record with a time of 23.53...TCU junior Jamee Jones was third in 24.18.
Air Force sophomore Travis Picou defended his title in the men's 200m recording a NCAA provisional qualifying and MWC Indoor Championship record time of 21.11...Picou is the first back-to-back winner in the men's 200 indoors...TCU sophomore Otis McDaniel (21.27) finished second, followed by BYU junior Paul Smith (21.47).
BYU senior Robison Pratt won his third straight men's pole vault title, adding the MWC Indoor Championship meet record and Albuquerque Convention Center record with an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 18-04.50...New Mexico finished 2-3 in the event with junior Robert Caldwell earning all-MWC honors for the first time with a career-best and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17-07.25...UNM senior Derek Mackel was third for the second straight year (17-03.50).
Colorado State junior Nicole Feest completed the third sweep of the women's 5,000 and women's 3,000m in MWC Championships history, winning the 3,000 today with an altitude adjusted NCAA provisional qualifying time of 9:47.68...a day after ending BYU's six-year run in the 5,000, Feest snapped the Cougars six-year streak in the 3,000 as well...New Mexico senior Timmie Murphy earned all-MWC honors for the first time in her career, finishing second (9:51.24), followed closely by BYU junior Anne Heiner (9:52.74).
TCU senior Kip Kangogo made a triumphant return to MWC competition, winning the men's 3,000m with a facility and meet record time of 8:19.36...Kangogo also won the 2003 MWC Indoor 3,000, while competing for BYU as a sophomore...CSU junior Rob Watson, yesterday's 5,000m champion, finished second (8:26.70), followed by BYU freshman Kyle Perry (8:31.26).
BYU junior Kamila Rywelska won her third straight MWC Indoor women's triple jump title with a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 42-00.50...San Diego State freshman Decontee Kaye finished second with a provisional mark of 41-10.50, followed by CSU senior Amanda Miller (39-08.50).
TCU swept the men's and women's 4x400m relay races setting a pair of MWC Indoor Championship records in the process...the Horned Frog men won with a MWC all-time and NCAA provisional qualifying record time of 3:08.19, while the TCU women clocked a time of 3:40.41...BYU had won each of the last five men's 4x400 relay races indoors...the Cougars finished second on the men's side (3:10.25), followed by New Mexico (3:14.06)...San Diego State was the women's runner-up (3:43.63), followed by UNLV (3:48.74).