May 31, 2004
STANFORD, Calif. - Matt Gonzales showed once again why he should be considered one of America's top young distance running prospects with his 5,000-meter performance late Sunday night at the Payton Jordan U.S. Open. The University of New Mexico junior erased an 18-year-old UNM record and finished eighth in the 31-man professional field with a time of 13:35.59.
Gonzales decided to pull out of the recent NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet, where he was ranked second in the 5,000, in order to compete against the world class runners at the U.S. Open. His decision paid off as the Santa Fe native ran 3.59 seconds under Ibrahim Kivina's 1986 school record and bettered his previous career best by 8.93 seconds. His time, the fifth-best by a collegian this year, was also nearly 30 seconds faster than the winner of the 2004 Midwest Regional 5,000 crown.
Gonzales has already recorded the nation's third-fastest 10,000-meter time to qualify for the 2004 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas in two weeks. An All-American in the 10K (third place) last year, Gonzales will go for his first national title when he toes the starting line in Austin at 10:05 p.m. (Central) on Thursday, June 11.
He has also qualified to run in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter races at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials following the NCAA Championship meet. The Olympic Trials will be held in Sacramento, Calif., July 9-18.