NCAA Championship Berths At Stake For 12 Lobos This Weekend
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/24/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 24, 2005

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A program-best six women and six men from the University of New Mexico track and field team will travel to Norman, Okla. this week for the 2005 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet. The University of Oklahoma will host the event on Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 at the John Jacobs Track and Field Complex. Each member of the New Mexico dozen will be looking for a top-five finish in their respective events to secure their first career national championship berth. The meet opens with the field events at 11 a.m. (MST) each day. The action on the track begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Five members of the Lobo contingent competed at the 2004 Midwest Regional Championships in College Station, Texas, including seniors Amanda Barnes and Veronica R. Gonzales who are making their third straight appearance. Fifth-year senior Jordan Parker and fourth-year junior Matt Keeran lead the group of seven Lobos that will be making their NCAA Regional debut this weekend. The complete list of UNM competitors is as follows:

WOMEN: Senior Amanda Barnes (shot put/discus), freshman Ariel Burr (400m), junior Jamie Fishencord (hammer), senior Veronica R. Gonzales (javelin), freshman Whitney Johnson (pole vault), junior Jessica McIntyre (javelin).

MEN: Sophomore Robert Caldwell (pole vault), junior Matt Keeran (javelin), freshman Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott (1,500m), senior Derek Mackel (pole vault), senior Jordan Parker (shot put/discus), freshman Jarrin Solomon (400m).

A program-high 15 individuals qualified for the 2005 regional meet during the regular season. Seniors Matt Gonzales (1,500m/5,00m), Alfred Neale (high jump) and Ben Ortega (5,000m), however, will not join the field this weekend. New Mexico will have five women competing six times in the field events, while rookie Ariel Burr is the lone competitor on the track. The UNM men, meanwhile, have four men competing five times in the field events and two runners entered in two events on the track.

The meet will mark New Mexico's first ever outdoor trip to Oklahoma. Parker, however, was on the UNM team that competed at OU's J.D. Martin Invitational during the 2001 indoor season. The weather forecast for Norman this weekend calls for highs in the low 80s, a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms and humidity over 50 percent for the two days.


Complete information and results from the 2005 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships will be available on the following website:

NCAA Midwest Regional Championships Central

Information and results can also be found on the official website of the NCAA:

NCAA Sports


The 2005 season will mark the third year of the head-to-head qualifying format for the NCAA Championships. All national championship meet qualifiers advance automatically by finishing in the top-five of their event, regardless of their time or distance, at one of the four regional championship meets (East, Mideast, Midwest, West). There is also some flexibility to the head-to-head format if a highly ranked athlete stumbles a bit at the regional meet. An the minimum, athletes have to finish in the top eight in an individual event and top six in a relay to be put into the at large selection pool. Once in that pool, the athlete's season best mark can be used for qualification. NCAA competitors in the 10,000-meter run, men's decathlon and women's heptathlon events still use the old system which requires an automatic or provisional qualifying mark during the regular season to secure a spot in the national field. The Midwest Regional field includes all athletes from Division I schools in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming.

UNM had 14 individuals and two relay teams qualify during the 2003 regular season for the inaugural NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Lincoln, Neb. Three women, seven men and both men's relay teams competed in the meet. Then sophomore Matt Gonzales shocked the 1,500-meter field, winning the event to help the Lobo men tie for 21st place.

Last year, 12 individuals surpassed the regional qualifying standard during the season with five women and five men eventually joining the field in College Station, Texas. Bridgid Isworth just missed a trip to the national meet as she came up short in the fifth place tie-breaking jump-off in the pole vault. Isworth's effort netted the New Mexico women 3.5 points, which was good for 29th in the standings.


Amanda Barnes • 5-9 • Sr-3L • Carlsbad, N.M. • Shot Put/Discus

The Lobos' top-ranked competitor at the regional championships, entering the shot put competition as the No. 3 seed...recorded her top mark of 52-09.50 on April 23 in San Diego and also surpassed the 52-foot mark in the March 19 season-opener at Arizona...has gone over 51 feet in seven of eight meets this year...won five shot put competitions this spring...Michelle Carter of Texas (No. 1) and Colorado State's Loree Smith (not competing) are the only Midwest shot put competitors to defeat her head-to-head this season...two-time MWC outdoor shot put champion and league runner-up in `05...is making her third straight trip to the Midwest Regional meet...finished 13th in the shot as a sophomore (45-11.75) and was ninth last year, posting a mark of 48-10.75 on her first and only legal attempt...will also compete in the discus, where she is seeded 11th with a top throw of 166-11 (April 30 - Albuquerque)...she has surpassed the 150-foot mark only twice in her career, however...holds UNM indoor/outdoor shot put records and the top discus mark as well...15 career outdoor victories including 13 in the shot put...three-time Academic All-MWC honoree...NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee...Discus - Sat., 11 a.m./Shot Put - Sat., 5 p.m.

Ariel Burr • 5-4 • Fr-HS • Carrizozo, N.M. • 400 meters

UNM school record holder and recent all-Mountain West Conference honoree in the 400...enters the meet as the No. 13 seed after clocking the school record time of 54.11 (altitude adjusted) en route to a third place finish at the MWC Championships...MWC finals performance was her only regional qualifying time of the year...has lowered her time in each of her six 400 races this spring...opened the season with a 57.17 (April 2) and has shaved 3.06 seconds off her time over the past seven weeks...pair of 400m victories on the year...2004 graduate of tiny Carrizozo HS in southeast New Mexico...had to train 20 miles away as CHS did not have its own track facility until `04...dominated the 1A competition throughout her career, capturing 14 individual gold medals and an additional four relay titles in state track meet appearances...top 100 and 400-meter runner in the entire state as a senior...400-meter prelims - Fri., 4:30 p.m./finals - Sat., 4:45 p.m.

Jamie Fishencord • 6-0 • Jr-2L • Littleton, Colo. • Hammer

New Mexico record holder in the hammer throw who is making her second straight appearance at the Midwest Regional Championships...earned the No. 6 seed in the regional field with her record-setting throw of 192-06 at home in Albuquerque on April 30...has surpassed the 190-foot mark only once in her career, but has been over 180 feet in five of her past six meets this spring...became the first Lobo ever to earn all-conference honors in the event with a third place finish on May 13 at the MWC Championships...finished six spots higher than her seed at last year's regional meet, placing 11th with a mark of 178-11...has enjoyed a meteoric rise after coming to UNM three years ago as an unheralded walk-on...two-time Academic All-MWC honoree and a black belt in shotokan karate...Hammer - Fri., 2 p.m.

Veronica R. Gonzales • 5-4 • Sr-3L • Carlsbad, N.M. • Javelin

Two-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree in the javelin who is making her third straight trip to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships...was the second-best javelin competitor in the MWC during the season, only behind national leader Dana Pounds of Air Force...seeded 14th entering the Midwest Regionals with a season-best mark of 150-07, recorded April 23 in San Diego...career-best throw is 152-01 last year in Albuquerque...surpassed the regional standard in her last six meets in `05...won three straight meets from April 15-30...placed 13th at the regional meet in 2004 with a mark of 142-10...was 15th as a sophomore in 2003, placing 13 spots above her seed with a throw of 136-01...three-time Academic All-MWC honoree as well...Javelin - Sat., 2 p.m.

Whitney Johnson • 5-8 • Fr-HS • Mission Viejo, Calif. • Pole Vault

Top freshman pole vaulter in UNM women's history...enters the meet as the No. 9 seed with a career-best clearance of 12-11.50 in the section A competition at the Texas Relays on April 9...mark was just 0.25 inches shy of the New Mexico record, but was her only time over the NCAA regional standard during the outdoor season...has cleared 12 feet in three meets...earned all-conference honors and was an NCAA provisional qualifier during the indoor season with a top vault of 13-00.25 at the MWC Championship meet...cleared the 12-06.00 mark four times indoors...second Lobo woman to qualify for the regional meet in the pole vault...former teammate Bridgid Isworth tied for fifth in 2004, but missed a trip to the NCAAs in an ensuing jump-off...Pole Vault - Fri., 2 p.m.

Jessica McIntyre • 5-3 • Jr-Tr • Farmington, N.M. • Javelin

New Mexico high school record holder in the javelin who returned to competition this spring after a three-year absence...got off to a tremendous start, recording a qualifying mark of 144-10 in the March 18 season-opener in Tucson...however, has not thrown over 135-05 in five meets since then...enters the Midwest Regionals as the No. 19 seed and will look for strong finish to the season...was ranked No. 7 in the country by Dyestat.com as a senior at Farmington HS...attended Troy University as a freshman before returning to UNM...did not join the Lobo track team until 2004-05...Javelin - Sat., 2 p.m.


Robert Caldwell • 6-0 • So-1L • Socorro, N.M. • Pole Vault

One of two Lobos in the Midwest Regional pole vault field...punched his ticket with a career-best vault of 17-00.75 in the section B competition at the Texas Relays on April 7...is the No. 14 seed in his second straight regional championships appearance...probably the Lobos' most consistent vaulter...surpassed 16 feet five times this season and had just one meet without a clearance...notched regional qualifying marks in three of his final five competitions and placed fifth (16-09.50) in the MWC, the nation's premier pole vaulting conference...five top-five finishes this spring...was the No. 17 seed at the Midwest Regional meet last year, but failed to clear the opening height...has improved by over 15 inches since his freshman year...Pole Vault - Sat., 2 p.m.

Matt Keeran • 6-2 • Jr-2L • Albuquerque, N.M. • Javelin

2005 Mountain West Conference javelin champion...shocked the field with a career best throw of 211-05 on his final attempt, his first regional qualifying mark of the year...tweaked his hamstring on the throw, but should be ready to compete this weekend...a two-time all-MWC honoree who qualified for the 2003 Midwest Regional Championships as a sophomore with a top mark of 206-09 before an elbow injury forced him to miss the meet...underwent surgery the following year and missed all of 2004...has slowly worked his way back to health, but UNM coaches say they do not expect him to be 100% recovered until 2006...had competed just three times with a top mark of 191-04 before uncorking the winning throw at the MWC Championships...earned his degree in Business Administration in just three years, graduating last spring with a 3.68 GPA...two-time MWC Scholar-Athlete Award winner...began his Lobo athletic career on the football field as a walk-on quarterback...Javelin - Fri., 2 p.m.

Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott • 5-10 • Fr-HS • Eldoret, Kenya • 1,500 meters

True freshman Shadrack Kiptoo-Biwott, a qualifier in the 5,000 as well, will focus on the 1,500 this weekend.

One of the nation's best and perhaps most versatile freshman distance runners...NCAA Midwest Regional qualifier in both the 1,500 and 5,000, but will only run the 1,500...just missed qualifying for the 800 as well, clocking a season-best 1:50.76 (altitude adjusted)...top 5K time of 14:03.32, recorded on March 25 at Stanford, was the 12th fastest in the region this spring...finished as the MWC runner-up in the 1,500, five spots above his seed, and placed third in the 800, two spots higher than his seed, to earn all-conference honors in both events two weeks ago at the league championship meet...enters the Midwest Regional Championships as the No. 8 seed in the 1,500 with a top time of 3:46.53 (altitude adjusted) which he recorded on April 30 in Albuquerque...turned in perhaps the best rookie cross country season in Lobo history as a 19-year-old last fall, sweeping MWC Cross Country Runner of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards...earned All-America honors by finishing 14th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships to help lead the Lobos to a program best ninth place finish in the team standings...USA Today high school All-American at Albuquerque La Cueva HS...clocked a career-best 1,500m time of 3:41.0 (hand-held), three seconds off Alan Webb's the U.S. high school record...1,500-meter prelims - Fri., 3:45 p.m./finals - Sat., 4:22 p.m.

Derek Mackel • 5-10 • Jr-2L• Albuquerque, N.M. • Pole Vault

Probably the Lobos' most improved athlete in 2005...a real rags to riches story who has gone from marginal walk-on to one of the top pole vault threats in the country over the past three years...has improved by more than six feet since joining the program in 2002 and is making his second straight Midwest Regional Championship appearance...enters this weekend's meet as the No. 8 seed with a top clearance of 17-08.50 which he recorded en route to a third place finish on April 9 in the Section A competition at the Texas Relays...defeated the No. 2 seed, Gabe Balwin of Nebraska, and tied seventh-seeded Scott Martin of Oklahoma State in Austin...vault was the second-best in New Mexico history...was ranked as high as seventh in the country this spring by Trackwire.com, but has struggled with his consistency largely due to chronic pain in his knees...has gone over 17 feet in three meets, winning twice, but has failed to clear the opening height in his other four appearances this spring...missed the opening height in his regional championship debut last year and has been unable to clear the bar in two career MWC Outdoor Championship appearances...was one of the last men left out of the NCAA Indoor Championship field during the winter...owned the 18th best mark in the country indoors, clearing 17-05.50 in an all-conference performance (3rd) at the MWC Championship meet...second-degree black belt in tae kwon do...Pole Vault - Sat., 2 p.m.

Jordan Parker • 6-6 • Sr-3L• Albuquerque, N.M. • Shot Put/Discus

Fifth-year senior who has worked diligently throughout his career to turn himself into one of the top shot put and discus men in the MWC...began his career near the bottom of the league rankings, but has improved by 10 feet in the shot put and 26 feet in the discus since 2001...will make his NCAA Midwest Regional Championships debut in both events this weekend...seeded 22nd in the shot put with a career-best mark of 55-03.00 in the March 18 season-opener in Tucson..is the No. 23 seed in the discus with a career-long throw of 171-00 in his final home meet on April 30 in Albuquerque...earned all-MWC honors for the first time in his career with a third place finish in the discus (170-05) two weeks ago at the conference championships...eight top-five finishes this spring...he and former teammate Jason Barkemeyer have given the Lobos a representative in both the shot put and discus at the Midwest Regional meet each of the past three years...Discus - Fri., 11 a.m./Shot Put - Fri., 5 p.m.

Jarrin Solomon • 5-9 • Fr-HS • Albuquerque, N.M. • 400 meters

Mountain West Conference runner-up with a career-best time of 47.05 (altitude adjusted), the fastest of head coach Matt Henry's five-year tenure...has lowered his time in each race this spring after opening the season with a 49.53 at Arizona...caught fire in late April, running under 48 seconds for the first time in his career at San Diego (April 23) and every meet after...placed among the top-three in his final three meets...three-time all-state soccer player at Albuquerque La Cueva HS and only trained part-time on the track before joining the UNM program this year...father, Mike Solomon, was one of the finest middle distance runners in UNM history, earning two All-America awards and winning the 600-yard title at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships...Mike Solomon was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics for his native Trinidad and Tobago...400-meter prelims - Fri., 4:45 p.m./finals - Sat., 4:52 p.m.


Though the field of the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championship meet is still several weeks away from being announced, New Mexico junior Dan Feltman is a safe bet to become the second straight Lobo selected to join in the national decathlon competition. Feltman is currently ranked 18th in the country with a top score of 7,278, which he recorded April 13-14 in his first decathlon of the year at the Mt. SAC Relays. Head coach Matt Henry, however, said he believes the Deming, N.M. native has yet to approach his peak in the grueling two-day competition and could vie for All-America honors at the NCAA meet.

Junior Dan Feltman owns the nation's No. 18 decathlon score and is a strong candidate to make the NCAA Outdoor Championships field.

Feltman missed all of the 2005 indoor season and was limited early in the outdoor campaign with a pulled quadriceps muscle. Though he posted a strong score at the Mt. SAC Relays, Feltman still had to shake off some rust in his first multi-event competition since May of 2004. Two weeks ago in Fort Collins, Colo., a combination of rain, lightning and unseasonably cold temperatures kept the decathlon scores down at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Feltman cruised to the league title with 7,250 points, but was unable to improve on his qualifying score due to the inclement weather. The early June conditions in Sacramento should be ideal for a break-out performance by Feltman at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet.

Last year, 26 athletes were named to the NCAA decathlon field, including former Lobo Mark Johnson, who was the 22nd selection. Johnson, however, defied the rankings and finished seven spots above his seed to place 15th overall. Feltman finished the 2004 season ranked 42nd in the country. He surpassed the NCAA provisional qualifying standard for the first time in his career with a score of 7,022 at the conference championship meet, but was not selected to the national championship field.