Nov. 12, 2005
PROVO, Utah - The University of New Mexico women placed three runners in the top-25 en route to a sixth place (114 total) finish today at the NCAA Mountain Region Championship meet at the East Bay Golf Course. While New Mexico likely fell short of earning a berth to the national meet, the Lobos notched their best finish at the regional meet since 1988. Earlier in the day, the UNM men finished eighth (222 points), four spots higher than their regional ranking.
Senior Jacquelyne Gallegos placed 15th among the field of 114, finishing the 6,000-meter course in 21:50.6 to become the second Lobo ever to earn all-region honors three times in a career (Carole Roybal, 1983-86). Junior Timmie Murphy followed close behind in 19th (22:05.0), followed by sophomore Leslie Luna, who was 23rd (22:11.9). Both Murphy and Luna received all-region honors for the first time in their career, giving UNM three all-region runners for the first time since 1988.
The Lobos also received points from senior Janice Tosa and sophomore Lindsay Barr, who finished 52nd and 54th, respectively. Tosa completed the 24th and final race of her career with a time of 23:13.3, while Barr improved seven spots on her finish of a year ago and crossed the line in 23:12.4. Rookie Seny Archuleta ran sixth for UNM and 76th overall (23:46.4), while junior transfer Roxann James was 84th (24:05.7).
The New Mexico trio ran a strong, confident race, battling among the leader for roughly 3,000 meters on the cold, breezy afternoon. In her second race back from a hamstring injury, Gallegos recorded her second-best finish at the regional meet and put herself in contention for a third trip to the NCAA Championships. Luna, who was 94th at the 2004 regional meet, ran side-by-side with Gallegos, while Murphy kept herself within striking distance in a solid, consistent performance.
All three will have to wait until Monday to find out if their effort was good enough to earn a berth in the national championship field on Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. The Lobo runners need to be one of the first four individual finishers not on a NCAA qualifying team. The top two teams automatically advance to the national meet, but UNM will need two or three at-large teams to be selected out of the region to bolster its individual chances.
Earlier in the men's 10,000-meter race, senior Cameron Clarke wrapped up his Lobo cross country career with his best performance at the regional meet, finishing 30th (31:55.4) in the field 102. Clarke faded a bit after running among the top-25 during the first half of the race, but closed strong, placing 16 spots higher than he did in 2004.
Fellow senior Nate Clem used a steady surge over the final half the course to finish 36th (32:11.0), 29 spots higher than he was a year ago. Junior Juan Ortega, meanwhile, turned in a tremendous race, battling among the lead pack for virtually the entire race before eventually finishing 39th (32:14.7). Ortega was 78th in his last appearance at the regional meet in 2003.
Sophomore Joseph Garcia ran a gutsy race in his first NCAA regional appearance, finishing fourth on the team and 53rd overall with a time of 32:40.0. Junior Steven Martinez capped the scoring for the Lobos, finishing 64th (33:03.3). Sophomore Chris Bratton pulled out of the race due to an injury.
Colorado won both the men's and women's races, while the UTEP men and BYU women claimed the other two automatic bids to the NCAA meet.