Jan. 25, 2006
UPDATE -- Some of the premier track and field talent in the country is in Albuquerque once again this week as 13 nationally ranked athletes, including New Mexico pole vaulter Derek Mackel, and the No. 3 men's 4x400-meter relay team are set to compete in the University of New Mexico Multis (Thursday-Friday) and UNM Invitational (Saturday) indoor meets at the Convention Center. For the first time this year, fans will be welcome to watch the men's heptathlon and women's pentathlon competitions at the city's state-of-the-art track facility free of charge. The heptathlon begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday with the first event of the pentathlon set for 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Saturday's University of New Mexico Invitational will feature 13 teams, including the 15th-ranked Texas Tech men, Florida (women), Oklahoma, Long Beach State, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Division II national powers Adams State and Western State, and host UNM. The meet opens with the field events 9 a.m., followed by the first event on the track at 10:30. Tickets will be available at the door - $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under.
University of Texas All-Americans Donovan Kilmartin and Trey Hardee, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, lead a strong heptathlon field that also includes New Mexico's Dan Feltman, the Mountain West Conference decathlon champion and an NCAA qualifier last year. Kilmartin was the 2005 indoor heptathlon runner-up and finished fourth in the decathlon outdoors. Hardee was the national decathlon champion and placed third in the heptathlon. The Longhorn men are currently ranked fourth in the country.
Three-time All-American Ryanne Dupree of UT-San Antonio leads a pentathlon field that also includes Lobo rookie Sandy Fortner of Fort Sumner, N.M. Fortner, who will be making her collegiate debut on Friday, was named 2005 Albuquerque Journal Female Athlete of the Year - the first competitor from a class 1A program ever to win the award.
The Texas Tech men feature four ranked athletes, led by the No. 2 400-meter runner in the country, Andre Williams. The Red Raiders also have three nationally-ranked hurdlers in Shawon Harris (No. 8), Marlon Odom (No. 10) and Daryl Burgess (No. 11), along with the third-ranked 4x400 relay team.
Oral Roberts boasts two ranked 800-meter men in Prince Mumba (No. 4) and Shaun Smith (No. 12), while Albuquerque Sandia product Mackel has soared up to fourth after opening the year unranked in the pole vault. Mackel will join the men's pole vault competition some time after 10:30 a.m.
The Red Raider women are led by All-American Tori Polk, the No. 4 long jumper, and the nation's eighth-ranked 800-meter runner, Althea Chambers. Florida, meanwhile, boasts the No. 6 ranked weight throw competitor in four-time All-American Rachel Longfors.
The three-day meet will be the fifth event held on the 2-year-old track at the Albuquerque Convention Center and the fourth of eight meets scheduled for 2006. Last weekend's Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational lived up to its billing as one of the premier indoor meets in the country as seven automatic qualifying marks and 44 provisional qualifying marks for the NCAA Indoor Championships were recorded. The Florida State men also moved up to No. 1 in the national rankings after their strong performance in Albuquerque.