March 13, 2009
Live Video: Available on ESPN360.com beginning 3:55 p.m. Mountain on Saturday.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The 23rd-ranked University of New Mexico men got out of the blocks well this afternoon at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in College Station, Texas. Seniors Lee Emanuel (mile) and Jarrin Solomon (400 meters) both qualified for the finals, which will be held on Saturday afternoon with live video streamed on ESPN360.com.
Solomon clocked the sixth-fastest qualifying time of the day in the 400 and was second in his heat, crossing the line in 46.95. Solomon was third at the 200-meter mark, but surged down the stretch to punch his ticket to the finals. It was his first race at the NCAA Indoor Championships, though he competed at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor meet in the event.
The Albuquerque La Cueva product, who entered the meet as the No. 8 seed, needs only to finish his race on Saturday to become the Lobos' first indoor All-American in the event. The men's 400 will be a two-section final (four runners in each heat) that is scheduled to start at 4:50 p.m. Mountain.
The finals won't feature top-seeded Gakologelwang Masheto of Illinois. Masheto entered the meet with the fastest 400 time in the world, recording a 45.80 last week to become the first collegian to defeat Solomon head-to-head this season. Masheto won his heat this afternoon, but was 12th overall (47.27). The fastest eight times qualified for the finals.
Emanuel opened the day for New Mexico by recording the fourth-fastest time in the mile (4:01.61). The Hastings, England product had the benefit of running in the second and fastest prelim section that saw six of its seven participants move on to the finals. All seven six qualifiers in heat two ran faster than the heat one winner (Wisconsin's Craig Miller - 4:04.18).
Emanuel, who entered the meet as the No. 5 seed, will be one of 10 men vying for the national title tomorrow. Emanuel is the first Lobo to qualify for the NCAA Indoor meet in the mile.
Like the 400, the men's mile prelims saw the top seed finish well off the qualifying pace as Michigan State's Shane Knoll ran the third-slowest time of the day (4:05.05).
The mile finals (one section) get underway at 4:10 p.m. tomorrow.
In event finals action tonight, junior transfer Rory Fraser was 11th, matching his seed, in the men's 5,000 with a time of 14:10.35. Fraser finished just over 10 seconds shy of eighth place and a spot on the All-America team in his NCAA Championships debut. Oregon phenom Galen Rupp won the race with a time of 13:41.45.
The distance medley relay team of junior transfer David Bishop (1,200m), freshman Dominick Roberts (400m), sophomore Ryan Steadman (800m), and senior Mat Ashton (1,600m) was 18th (9:52.43) in the final event of the night. All four men were making their NCAA debuts and were the first Lobo DMR team to qualify for the national meet.
Rupp stole the show once again, pulling away on the final leg to give Oregon the win with a time of 9:29.59.