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Lobos Look To Continue National Rise In Terre Haute
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/15/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 15, 2009

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UPCOMING

The University of New Mexico's big October schedule continues on Saturday when the Lobos take on another large, elite field at Indiana State's Pre-Nationals Invitational at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The UNM men and women are both ranked 21st in the most recent USTFCCCA national coaches poll. The men's team will run in the 8,000-meter (5 miles) White section race at 9:40 a.m. (Mountain), followed by the women's 6,000m (3.7 miles) White race at 10:55.

The Lobo men are one of nine nationally ranked teams in their section, including No. 1 Stanford and No. 6 BYU, while the women are one of 11 top-30 squads, including defending NCAA champion and top-ranked Washington, in their race.

The LaVern Gibson Course, which has been the longtime home of the NCAA Championships, is one of the nation's only courses built specifically for cross country racing. Built on reclaimed mining land, the course was dedicated in 1997 and hosted its first NCAA Championships meet in 2002. It has been the site of the national meet every year since 2004.

NEW MEXICO PROJECTED TOP-SEVEN

WOMEN:
Jr. Ruth Senior (Trans. from Loughborough (England) U...has led team in first 2 official races...12th at Notre Dame (Oct. 2))
Sr. Nicky Archer (Lobos' No. 1 4x in '08...1st team all-MWC, NCAA all-region...NCAA Outdoor 10K qualifier)
Sr. Ashley Gibson ('08 NCAA all-region...scored in 7 of 10 career races...NCAA 1,500m qualifier in `09)
So. Lacy Oeding (1st team all-MWC (2nd)/MWC Fr. of the Year...NCAA all-region...scored in all 9 career races)
Fr. Janna Mitsos (3x all-state XC runner at Lockport (Ill.) Township HS...Lobos' No. 5 in official debut at Notre Dame on Oct. 2)
Jr. Vanessa Ortiz (RS all of 2008-09...has scored in 12 of 13 career races...'06 MWC Freshman of the Year)
Jr. Delyth James (12th in UNM debut on Sept. 19...XC specialist from Birmingham (England) Univ.)

MEN:
Sr. Jacob Kirwa (Lobo Invite (Sept. 5) & Notre Dame (Oct. 2) winner...1st team all-MWC (5th), NCAA all-reg. in `08...MWC `09 5K champ)
Sr. Chris Barnicle (27th in UNM XC debut at Notre Dame (Oct. 2)...'09 10K All-American...2x NCAA all-reg. at Arkansas)
Sr. David Bishop (Led UNM 2x and scored in all 8 career races...'08 NCAA all-reg...'09 NCAA reg'l 1,500m qual.)
Sr. Rory Fraser (Scored in all 7 career races...NCAA all-reg., 2nd team all-MWC in '08...'09 NCAA indoor/outdoor 5K qual.)
Sr. Lee Emanuel (Scored 10x in 13 career XC races...'08 NCAA all-region...'09 NCAA mile champ/1,500 All-American (3rd))
RS-Fr. Allen Pittman (Scored in 2 of 3 races...XC RS in `08...No. 1 runner for nat'lly ranked Los Alamos HS in `06 & `07)
Jr. Brian Vallie (RS in `08...scored 4x in 9 career races...2007 2nd team all-MWC...all-MWC 800m in `07)

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from the 2009 ISU Pre-Nationals Invitational can be found on the official athletic department website of the Indiana State University Sycamores:

www.GoSycamores.com

PRE-NATIONALS INVITATIONAL AT A GLANCE

Course: LaVern Gibson Championship Course (sea level; some hills)

Schedule (Mountain Time):
Men's White Section 6K Race - 9:40 a.m.
Women's White Section 8K Race - 10:55 a.m.

Race Conditions: The weather forecast for Saturday afternoon calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 50s and light winds. Humidity could be a factor though with levels reaching 67%. There is a 20% chance of precipitation.

The Fields: The men's and women's White section races will each feature 35 and 37 teams, respectively.

Nationally Ranked Teams: Men's (9) - No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 Colorado, No. 6 BYU, No. 8 Portland, No. 12 Iona, No. 18 Iowa State, No. 19 Arizona State, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 28 Florida State.

Women's (11) - No. 1 Washington, No. 5 Princeton, No. 8 Minnesota, No. 9 Florida, No. 12 Baylor, No. 15 Syracuse, No. 17 Arizona State, No. 18 Illinois, No. 21 New Mexico, No. 27 Northern Arizona, No. 30 Notre Dame.

LAST TIME AT THE ISU PRE-NATIONALS

Junior transfer Nicky Archer finished 26th to lead the 27th-ranked University of New Mexico women's cross country team to an impressive 10th place showing last year (Oct. 18) at Indiana State's Pre-Nationals Invitational. New Mexico defeated 31 teams in the Blue section field, including No. 18 North Carolina State, No. 21 Providence and No. 26 BYU.

Archer led all Mountain West Conference and Mountain Region competitors in a field of 278 runners. The product of Cheshire, England covered the 6,000-meter course in a season-best 20:54.6.

Senior Michelle Corrigan ran a second on the team, placing 41st overall with a time of 21:13.4. True freshman Lacey Oeding and junior Carolyn Boosey ran side-by-side, finishing 60th and 66th, respectively. Oeding covered the course in 21:23.6 - two seconds ahead of Boosey.

Senior Leslie Luna crossed the line in 21:54.4 (103rd) to give the Lobos' scoring five a pack spread of one minute.

Junior transfer Jacob Kirwa paced the UNM men for the third time this season, finishing a strong 19th in the massive field. Kirwa finished the 8,000-meter course in a season-best 24:03.9 - 28 seconds ahead of fellow junior Rory Fraser (57th - 24:32.4).

New Mexico, which was running without two of its top runners in senior Mat Ashton and junior David Bishop, placed 25th overall (685 points).

Junior Alex Willis (25:33.4) and junior Lee Emanuel (25:34.2) finished 182nd and 183rd, respectively, while sophomore Jason Petty was 244th (26:11.9) to cap the Lobo scoring.

MIDWEST CONNECTIONS

The Lobos' have become frequent visitors to the state of Indiana under third-year head coach and Greenwood, Ind. native Joe Franklin, increasing the program's visibility in the Midwest and helping to attract some of the top distance running talents in the region to the University of New Mexico. This week's appearance at the ISU Pre-Nationals will be the second of a projected three visits to the Hoosier State this fall, including the NCAA Championship meet.

UNM has five runners from the Midwest on its diverse 2009 roster, including four from Indiana.

Sophomore Lacey Oeding (Jasper, Ind.) has scored in each of her nine career races at New Mexico and led the Lobo women to their first conference title last year with a second place finish at the Mountain West Conference Championships, earning first team all-MWC and MWC Freshman of the Year honors. She went on to earn all-NCAA Mountain Region honors and helped the team finish 18th at the NCAA Championships.

Senior Brock Hagerman (Pendleton, Ind.), who is redshirting this fall, has scored in seven of 10 meets and earned both all-region and second team all-MWC honors for the Lobos since transferring from Notre Dame in 2007.

Last year's Indiana state cross country champion and Gatorade Runner of the Year Sarah Higgens (Greenwood), Indiana class 3A-4A Runner of the Year Kelsey Lewark (West Lafayette), and three-time Illinois all-state honoree Janna Mitsos (Lockport) are the Lobos' latest Midwest additions. Mitsos was the team's No. 5 runner in her official collegiate debut on Oct. 2 at Notre Dame, while the promising Higgens and Lewark are both projected to redshirt this fall.

NATIONAL RANKINGS WATCH

The University of New Mexico men and women maintained identical No. 21 rankings in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national poll. It's the highest both teams have been ranked in 2009.

The UNM women debuted at No. 22 in the preseason poll and have been ranked as high as 21st (Oct. 6). The men's team opened at No. 26 in the preaseason poll and have climbed as high as No. 21 (Oct. 6) this fall.

New Mexico In The 2009 USTFCCCA Rankings
Preseason (Sept. 15): Women - No. 22, Men - No. 26
Week 1 (Sept. 29): Women - No. 25, Men - No. 24
Week 2 (Oct. 6): Women - No. 21, Men - No. 21
Week 3 (Oct. 13): Women - No. 21, Men - No. 21

2009 SEASON REWIND

Lobo Invitational (Sept. 5)
He may have not been officially wearing the cherry and silver, but University of New Mexico senior Jacob Kirwa left no doubt that he was the class of the 10th Lobo Invitational meet at the UNM North Golf Course. Kirwa, who ran unattached, opened his second season at New Mexico with a dominating 54-second victory in the men's 8,000-meter race, crossing the line in 24:03.59. He was the first Lobo to win the men's race since Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott in 2004.

Senior Ashley Gibson paced the Lobo women with a second place finish in the 5K, crossing the line in 17:31.45 - 10 seconds behind the winner, UTEP's Risper Kimaiyo. Gibson - an NCAA Championships qualifier in the 1,500 - notched the highest finish of her cross country career.

The top eight women's finishes all ran under the previous 5K course record of 18:13.

Sprits were high in the easy-going opener. Lobos Lee Emanuel, David Bishop and Allen Pittman joined hands and high-fived fans down the final stretch as they crossed the line ninth, 10th and 11th, respectively.

Sophomore Lacey Oeding (fourth), senior Laura Bowerman (sixth) and junior Vanessa Ortiz (10th) joined Gibson in the top-10 of the women's race. It was Bowerman's UNM cross country debut and Ortiz's first race since 2007 after both women redshirted last fall.

Kachina Classic (Sept. 19)
The No. 22 University of New Mexico women's cross country team placed its five scoring runners in the top-10 en route to a 29-33 victory over UTEP at New Mexico State's Kachina Classic. For the first time in his tenure, third-year head coach Joe Franklin sent his top women's runners to the NMSU Golf Course, but held out several of his top runners from the 26th-ranked men's team, which finished second behind UTEP (31-52).

As they've done for the past two seasons, the New Mexico women used a tight pack to dominate the top-10 in the 5K race. Junior transfer Ruth Senior (18:17.1), senior Ashley Gibson (18:28.0), and sophomore Lacey Oeding (18:33.7) finished 3-4-5. Senior Nicky Archer was seventh (18:43.0) in her season debut, while junior Vanessa Ortiz was 10th (19:01.4) to cap the scoring. The Lobos' top five runners were separated by just 45 seconds.

Senior David Bishop continued his strong early season running with a second place finish in the men's 8K, crossing the line in 26:02.0 - 50 seconds behind Dine College standout Nicolas Kipruto. Redshirt freshman Allen Pittman joined Bishop in the top-10, finishing ninth with a time of 26:55.2.

Notre Dame Invitational (Oct. 2)
Senior Jacob Kirwa won for the second time in as many races this fall to lead the 24th-ranked University of New Mexico men's cross country team to a fourth place finish (152 points) at the Notre Dame Invitational. Kirwa sprinted past Arizona State All-American Brandon Bethke down the final stretch as New Mexico defeated four top-30 teams in the field, including No. 11 Tulsa (seventh).

The No. 25 UNM women, meanwhile, finished a strong sixth in the loaded field, edging No. 3 Florida State by a single point, 178-179. All five teams that finished above the Lobos were ranked in the top-25.

Kirwa covered the 8K course at the Notre Dame Golf Course in 23:44 - one second ahead of Bethke in a battle of reigning conference 5,000-meter champions on the track.

Senior transfer Chris Barnicle was 27th (24:21) in his Lobo cross country debut, while fellow senior David Bishop was three seconds behind in 32nd place (24:24). True freshman Ross Millington was a surprising 41st (24:24) in his official collegiate debut and senior Rory Fraser was 50th (24:46) in his season debut to cap the Lobo scoring. The top five were separated by 1:02.

On the women's side, New Mexico put four runners in the top-40 with junior transfer Ruth Senior leading the way for the second straight meet. Senior finished a strong 12th, completing the women's 5K loops in 17:03 - six seconds ahead of senior Nicky Archer who was 17th (17:09).

Senior Ashley Gibson and sophomore Lacey Oeding crossed the finish line side-by-side, placing 33rd (17:23) and 36th (17:24), respectively. True freshman Janna Mistos was the fifth scorer for the Lobos', finishing 81st (17:51). Despite the discrepancy in order of finish, the top five UNM runners were separated by just 48 seconds.

Duel In The Desert vs. New Mexico State (Oct. 9)
Several University of New Mexico runners got some extra work in as the Lobos took on Rio Grande rival New Mexico State in a rare split squad dual meet dubbed the "Duel In The Desert." The Lobos and Aggies met on an isolated dirt course near Elephant Butte, N.M. - roughly midway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces - for women's 5K and men's 8K races.

New Mexico freshman transfer Shawna Winnegar won the women's event (19:38) and senior Jacob Kirwa cruised to a second place finish (28:09), behind redshirting teammate Brock Hagerman (28:08), in a surprise appearance in the men's run. Kirwa was the lone member of the Lobos' regular starting seven to compete on either side.

UNM swept the Duel, winning the women's event, 17-38, and taking the men's title, 20-35.

KIRWA NAMED MWC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Senior Jacob Kirwa was selected as the Mountain West Conference Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 6, following his performance at the Notre Dame Invitational. Kirwa was recognized for the second time in his career, joining former All-Americans Matt Gonzales and Jeremy Johnson as the only UNM men to earn multiple MWC Athlete of the Week awards.

Kirwa won his second consecutive race on Oct. 2 to lead the 24th-ranked Lobos to a fourth place finish in South Bend, Ind. The Eldoret, Kenya native sprinted past Arizona State All-American Brandon Bethke down the final stretch as New Mexico defeated four top-30 teams in the men's blue race, including No. 11 Tulsa.

Bethke captured the Pac-10 5,000m title and went on to finish fourth in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last spring.

Kirwa finished the 8K course in 23:44.00, clocking the fastest time by a Lobo since Johnson's program record time of 23:27.00 in 2007. His victory was the first by a New Mexico runner in a road meet since 2004 when Gonzales won the NCAA Mountain Region title in Fort Collins, Colo.

New Mexico has had at least one runner earn MWC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week accolades each year since 2004. Kirwa was the lone UNM men's winner last fall following his early September performance at the Lobo Invitational..

2009 LOBO CROSS COUNTRY SNEAK PEEK

Take one look at the 2009 men's and women's roster and it's clear that third-year head coach Joe Franklin is building a national cross country powerhouse at the University of New Mexico. Both teams return a slew of experienced runners and have added several impact newcomers. Both were also picked to finish second in the preseason Mountain West Conference coaches poll and are expected to be ranked among the top-30 when the national preseason poll comes out in two weeks.

The Lobo women broke through for their first conference cross country title last year, defeating eight-time champion BYU, 31-33, in the closest championship meet in MWC history. New Mexico went on to finish second at the NCAA Mountain Regional and 18th in their first NCAA Championship appearance since 1985.

Senior Nicky Archer leads a group of four returning NCAA all-region runners and is one of three first team all-MWC honorees back this fall. Archer, a two-time MWC Athlete of the Week, led the Lobos' in four of seven meets in 2008 and followed that with strong indoor and outdoor track seasons, including an NCAA berth in the 10,000m (14th). Fellow all-region and first team all-MWC honorees Lacey Oeding (So.) and Carolyn Boosey (Sr.) also return after excellent 2008 campaigns.

Oeding shocked the league with a second place at the MWC Championships, leading the team to the conference title en route to MWC Freshman of the Year recognition. She went on to finish 10th at the USA Junior Cross Country Championships in February. Boosey, meanwhile, was third at the MWC Championships and 18th at the NCAA Mountain Regional meet during a breakthrough fall.

Senior Ashley Gibson earned all-region honors as the Lobos' No. 6 runner last fall and, according to Franklin, is in the best shape of her career. An NCAA Championships qualifier in the 1,500 last spring, Gibson could be one of the most improved runners on the team this fall.

Junior Vanessa Ortiz - the 2006 MWC Freshman of the Year - also returns after redshirting all of 2008-09. Like Gibson, Franklin says Ortiz has never been in better shape and could give the Lobos a major scoring punch in `08. Franklin is also looking for rejuvenated senior Laura Bowerman to make a big impact after overcoming a serious foot injury to earn all-MWC honors in the 5,000 during the outdoor season.

Several newcomers will push for top-seven spots as well. Junior transfer Ruth Senior is a top flight steeplechase runner, freshman Sarah Higgens was the top prep steeplechase runner in the country last spring and owns the Indiana state meet record in cross country, and fellow freshman Janna Mistos has also been impressive during summer training.

The deep, talented men's team will be led by five outstanding seniors in Jacob Kirwa, Chris Barnicle, Rory Fraser, David Bishop and Lee Emanuel.

Kirwa enters the 2009 season in fantastic condition, following a stellar outdoor track season. Kirwa captured the MWC 5,000m title and was the NCAA Midwest Region runner-up in the event after leading the Lobos in four of six meets during the cross country season. The Diné College transfer was fifth at the MWC Championships to earn first team all-MWC honors and was an all-region selection as well.

Barnicle, an Arkansas transfer, made his UNM debut during the outdoor season and went on to earn All-America honors with a 13th place finish in the 10,000m at the NCAA Championships. He was a two-time all-region runner for the Razorbacks and helped the team advance to the 2007 NCAA Championships.

Fraser was an all-region and second team all-MWC runner for the Lobos last fall and went on to compete in the 5,000 at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A strong middle distance man on the track, Bishop led the team in two meets last fall, including the NCAA Mountain Region Championships where he earned all-region honors with a 14th place finish.

Emmanuel, meanwhile, was a surprising 17th at the NCAA Mountain Championships before turning in the greatest track and field campaign ever by a UNM middle distance runner. The two-time All-American won gold in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships after rewriting the UNM record book at every distance from 800 to 3,000 meters during the winter, then followed with a bronze medal performance in the 1,500 at the NCAA Outdoor meet.

Promising redshirt freshman Allen Pittman, junior Brian Vallie - a second team all-MWC runner in 2007 - and junior transfer Keith Gerrard have all shown the ability to be elite scoring runners for the Lobos as well.

A LOOK BACK AT 2008

The 2008 season saw the bar raised once again under head coach Joe Franklin. The fall produced the school's first ever conference championship in women's cross country. That team had its most all-league picks in school history and went on to finish 18th in its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1985. The Lobo men's cross country team had its best score ever at an NCAA Regional, just missing the NCAA Championship cut. Both squads were nationally ranked during the regular season.

Like all Lobo programs, success and progress also is measured and stressed in the classroom. Both the UNM men's and women's cross country teams earned All-Academic Team honors handed out by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The men's team had eight named to the MWC All-Academic Team and the women matched that number.

Here is a list of some of the many highlights of New Mexico's 2008 cross country season:

-- The UNM women won their first Mountain West title, which also marked the first conference title in school history for the women. UNM placed Lacey Oeding, Carolyn Boosey and Nicky Archer on the all-MWC first team with Leslie Luna and Michelle Corrigan making the second team. It was the most all-conference Lobos in school history.

-- Joe Franklin was the MWC's 2008 Women's Cross Country Coach of The Year.

--The UNM women finished second at the NCAA Mountain Regional and returned to the NCAA Championships for the first time in 23 years, finishing 18th. The women's score at regionals was their best since 1981.

-- On the men's side, Jacob Kirwa was first team all-MWC with teammates Rory Fraser and Mat Ashton notching second team honors.

--The women had program record six runners on the all-region team: Michelle Corrigan, Lacey Oeding, Nicky Archer, Carolyn Boosey, Leslie Luna and Ashley Gibson. Luna became the second Lobo to earn all-region honors three times in a career.

-- The UNM men finished fourth at the NCAA Mountain Regional, placing a program record four runners on the all-region team: David Bishop, Lee Emanuel, Jacob Kirwa and Rory Fraser. Their regional score was their best ever.

-- Nicky Archer became the second Lobo woman ever to earn MWC Athlete of The Week honors twice in a season.

Friday, October 03
All Day - 
Cross Country
at Notre Dame Invitational
Friday, October 17
All Day - 
Cross Country
at Wisconsin Invitational
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