New Mexico Sends Thirteen to NCAA Midwest Regional Meet
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/28/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 28, 2008

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The University of New Mexico will be represented at the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships by a record-tying 13 individuals in 16 events this Friday and Saturday (May 30-31) in Lincoln, Neb. Ed Weir Stadium will be the setting for the best athletes in the Midwest to compete. Coming off strong performances at the Mountain West Conference Championships, the UNM women's team has eight athletes with qualifying marks, while the men have five regional qualifiers headed to Lincoln.

A top five finish in each event will guarantee a trip to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, while a top-12 effort makes an athlete eligible for an at-large bid, which is awarded based on a person's best mark/time of the season. The 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held in Des Monies, Iowa on June 11-14.

Two Lobos, however, are already guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Championship field in events that aren't contested at the regional level. Senior Jeremy Johnson earned an automatic berth in the 10,000 meters, while junior Sandy Fortner automatically qualified in the heptathlon.


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Lobos in Action on Friday: (All Times Mountain Standard Time)
12:00 p.m. Men's Javelin - Jr. Anthony Fairbanks
12:00 p.m. Women's Long Jump - So. Alesha Walker, Jr. Sandy Fortner
12:30 p.m. Women's 4x100-meter Relay - Fortner (Perkins), Walker, Burr, Matison
1:20 p.m. Men's 1,500 meters Trials - Jr. Lee Emanuel
3:00 p.m. Women's 400 meters Trials - Sr. Ariel Burr
6:20 p.m. Men's 5,000 Meters Finals - Sr. Jeremy Johnson, Jr. Mat Ashton

Lobos In Action on Saturday:
12:00 p.m. Women's High Jump - Sr. Tiyana Peters
12:00 p.m. Women's Javelin - Jr. Katie Coronado
12:00 p.m. Women's Triple Jump - So. Deanna Young
12:30 p.m. Women's 4 x 100 Relay Finals - Fortner (Perkins), Walker, Burr, Matison (If Qualified)
1:20 p.m. Men's 1,500 meters Finals - Jr. Lee Emanuel (If Qualified)
3:00 p.m. Women's 400 meters Finals - Sr. Ariel Burr (If Qualified)
4:00 p.m. Men's Pole Vault - Sr. Robert Caldwell
5:15 p.m. Women's 3,000-meter Steeplechase - Sr. Kara Henry

Lincoln Weather Report:
On Friday there will be scattered thunderstorms with a high of 82 degrees. The wind will be coming from the south at 13 miles per hour. On Saturday it will be mostly sunny with a high of 82 degrees. With only a 20 percent chance of perception the conditions should be nothing short of perfect for track and field.

Last Year at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships.
New Mexico's 400-meter aces Jarrin Solomon and Ariel Burr capped off a sensational weekend in Des Moines, Iowa for the Lobos as they each finished fifth to automatically qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Burr became the first woman in UNM history to qualify for the Championships in the 400, while Solomon was the first Lobo sprinter from the state of New Mexico to advance.

A pair of 5,000-meter runners also guaranteed themselves one more race as Jeremy Johnson finished third and Timmie Murphy finished fourth. Javelin thrower Katie Coronado also moved on after finishing sixth.

Despite bringing its smallest group of competitors (eight), the Lobos had a program-record six athletes finish among the top-eight at the Midwest Regional Championships. The women tied for 18th out of 32 teams as a program-best three event finalists combined for 12 points - 2.5 more than the team's combined four-year total at the regional meet from 2003-06. The men, meanwhile, scored in double digits for the second straight year with 12 points.


Six Lobos (three men, three women) enter the Midwest Regional Championships ranked among the top-five in their respective events. The top five finishers in each individual event and top three relay teams will automatically advance to the NCAA Championships.

On the men's side, senior pole vaulter Robert Caldwell owns the second-best mark in both the region with his MWC-winning vault of 18' 1" (5.51m). Junior transfer Lee Emanuel is the top threat on the track, with the second-fastest time in the 1,500 (3:40.77). Junior javelin thrower Anthony Fairbanks, meanwhile, has the region's third-best throw of 224' 11" (68.55m).

Sophomore Alesha Walker's school record-breaking jump of 21' 4" (6.50m) is the No. 2 long jump mark in the region, while junior javelin thrower Katie Coronado is third in the region with her MWC-winning throw of 176' 1" (53.73m). Senior Tiyana Peters, meanwhile, is the No. 4 high jumper with a season-best height of 5' 10" (1.78m).

Other Lobos in the Regional Rankings:
5,000 Meters
Jeremy Johnson - 9th (13:51.84)
Mat Ashton - 20th (14:09.78)

Women: 400 Meters
Ariel Burr - 13th (53.98)

3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Kara Henry - 19th (10:38.58)

4 x 100 Meter Relay
Sandy Fortner, Alesha Walker, Ariel Burr, Kristan Matison - 13th (45.70*)

Long Jump
Sandy Fortner - 29th 19' 9" (6.02m)

Triple Jump
Deanna Young - T-9th 42' 10 3/4" (13.07m)


Ariel Burr • 5-4 • Sr-3L • Carrizozo, N.M. • 400 Meters
UNM indoor and outdoor record holder in the 400 and six-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree in the event...four-time NCAA Midwest Regional qualifier in the 400...fifth last year with a career-best time of 52.85...first UNM woman to compete in the 400 at the NCAA Championships in '07 (25th)...finished 3rd at the 2008 MWC championships with a season best 53.98...placed 4th in the Olympic Development section at the Mt. SAC Relays with a regional qualifying time of 54.55...first at the Sun Angel Classic on April 12 with a winning time of 54.90...also qualified for regionals in the 200 for the second straight season, but will scratch in that event.

Katie Coronado • 5-11 • Jr-2L • Ruidoso, N.M. • Javelin
UNM record holder and two-time MWC champion...three-time NCAA Regional qualifier...finished 7th in '06 and 6th in '07...placed 16th at the 2007 NCAA Championships...Went 8-1 this season with her only loss coming at the hands of former UTEP All-American Erma Gene Evans...undefeated against collegiate competition, including a win in the elite section A competition at the Texas Relays (171' 5")...won the javelin by over 22 feet at the MWC championships.

Sandy Fortner • 5-9 • Jr-2L • Fort Sumner, N.M. • Long Jump
NCAA automatic qualifier and MWC champion in the heptathlon...currently ranked 6th in the nation in the event with a school record score of 5,641 points...making her first trip to the NCAA Regional meet...qualified with a personal best jump of 19' 9" (6.02m) at the UNM Don Kirby Invite...battling a nagging knee injury, however, and may scratch from all events.

Kara Henry • 5-4 • Sr-Tr • Elmhurst, Ill. • 3,000 Meter Steeplechase
First Lobo to qualify for regionals in the steeplechase, but a two-time Mideast Regional qualifier at Butler University (2005 & '07)...set the UNM record with a career-best time of 10:38.20 at the Oregon Relays (April 25)...fifth in the event at the MWC championships...MWC runner-up in the 5,000.

Tiyana Peters • 5-8 • Sr-3L • Flanders, N.J. • High Jump
Four-time MWC high jump champion (2 indoor titles and 2 outdoor titles)...sweeping indoor and outdoor titles the past two years...two-time regional qualifier (tied for 13th in '07)...never finished lower than third all season, including wins at Arizona State, UTEP and the MWC Championships...cleared a career-best 5' 10" at the UTEP Invitational (April 12).

Alesha Walker • 5-7 • So-1L • Killen, Texas • Long Jump
UNM indoor/outdoor record holder who is the first UNM woman to compete in the long jump at the NCAA regional meet...set the outdoor record at the UTEP invitational (April 12) with a jump of 21' 4"...took first place in the section B competition at the Texas Relays with a winning leap of 20' 6"...MWC silver medalist with a jump of 21'...lost the tie-breaker to defending MWC champion Janay DeLoach of Colorado State.

Deanna Young • 5-4 • So-1L • Albuquerque, N.M. • Triple Jump
UNM indoor record holder in the triple jump who is the first UNM woman to compete in the triple jump at the NCAA regional meet...also qualified in the long jump, but will not compete in that event...moved up to No. 2 on the UNM all-time list with a career-best leap of 42' 10 3/4" at home at the Don Kirby Invite...surpassed the regional qualifying standard in all five triple jump competitions...cleared 42' 5 1/2" in her first TJ of the season at the Texas Relays (4th - sec. B).

4 x 100 Meter Relay • Sandy Fortner, Alesha Walker, Ariel Burr, Kristan Matison • 45.70*
First women's relay team in UNM history to advance to the NCAA regional meet...clocked an altitude adjusted time of 45.70 at home at the Don Kirby Invite...hurdler Kim Perkins is expected to replace Fortner as she battles a nagging knee injury.

Mat Ashton • 6-0 • Jr-Tr • Oxford, England • 5,000 Meters
Ran a regional qualifying time of 14:09.78 in his first 5,000 race of the season at the Mt. SAC relays...virtually assured a spot in the 10,000 meters with a provisional qualifying time of 28:56.39...NCAA Midwest Championships will mark just his fifth meet of the season.

Robert Caldwell • 6-0 • Sr-3L • Socorro, N.M. • Pole Vault
2008 MWC outdoor pole vault champion with a career-best and championship record height of 18' 1"...four-time NCAA regional qualifier...no height as a freshman in '04 and tied for 15th in '05 before breaking through with a sixth place finish to advance to the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships (no height)...earned All-America honors with an eighth place finish at the '06 NCAA Indoor Championships...redshirted all of 2007... surpassed the regional qualifying standard in six of his seven meets with just one no height...has cleared 17' 2 3/4" or higher and finished no lower than second in his last four competitions.

Lee Emanuel • 5-10 • Jr-Tr • Hastings, England • 1,500 Meters
MWC champion in the 1,500 meters who is the third Lobo to qualify for regionals in the event, including 2003 Midwest champion Matt Gonzales...clocked a career-best time of 3:40.77 to finish fifth in the world-class Invitational 1,500 field at the Sun Angel Classic on April 11...time was the best 1,500 time in the nation at the time...also qualified in the 800 with a career-best time of 1:50.16, but will not compete in that event...indoor school record holder in the mile with a time of 4:02.47.

Anthony Fairbanks • 6-0 • Jr-2L • Albuquerque, N.M. • Javelin
MWC record holder in the javelin with a lifetime best of 224' 11"...making his third trip to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships where he finished seventh in both 2006 and '07...one of the last competitors left out of the NCAA field in 2007...2008 MWC runner-up, losing on the final throw of the competition to TCU senior Joe Brown...has thrown over 210 feet eight times in his career.

Jeremy Johnson • 5-8 • Sr-3L • Albuquerque, N.M. • 5,000 Meters
2007 10,000-meter (7th) and cross country (20th) All-American who is one of the best distance runners in UNM history...was granted a sixth year of eligibility in early April after petitioning the NCAA for a medical hardship wavier to replace his injury-plagued 2004 season at Arizona...automatically qualified for the 2008 NCAA Championships in the 10,000 with a career-best time of 28:33.08, but will tune-up for the 10K with his second straight NCAA Midwest 5,000-meter appearance...placed third (14:01.43) in '07 in a race that included seven of the nation's top-25 5,000-meter men...defeated eventual 10K NCAA champion Shadrack Songok of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the race...clocked a season-best 5K time of 13:51.84 at Oregon.


"The importance of this meet is unparalleled. It is the second biggest meet of the year leading in to the NCAA Championships. We have numerous athletes going to the meet and we have five or six athletes that are ranked in the top ten in the country. Our goals are simple: go to the regional meet, advance to the national championships and become All-American. I think we have a lot of kids that are ready to jump, throw, run and vault very, very well."

"The kids know what they need to do. They are going to go out there and give it their best. They are going to represent New Mexico the best they can, represent their family and friends and strive for greatness."


Junior Katie Coronado helped the women to a 34th ranked finish with her 5th national ranking in the javelin. Her MWC winning throw of 176' 1" (53.75m) moved herself up three spots from 8th. The women threw, jumped and ran up seven spots for which are were the second ranked MWC team behind 23rd ranked TCU.

Senior Robert Caldwell's MWC championship performance of 18' 1" (5.51m) not only vaulted him in to second in the nation but also helped the Lobos to their highest ranking this season. The men finished at 32nd behind fellow MWC members TCU (22nd) and BYU (31st) as the third team in the MWC to crack the top 50.

Other Lobo Women Contributing to National Ranking:
So. Alesha Walker - Long Jump (21' 4") - Ranked 6th Nationally
Jr. Sandy Fortner - Heptathlon (5,641) - Ranked 8th Nationally
So. Deanna Young - Triple Jump (42' 10")/Long Jump (20' 6 ¼") - Ranked 24th Nationally / Ranked 36th Nationally
Sr. Tiyana Peters - High Jump (5' 10") - Ranked 26th Nationally

Other Lobo Men with a National Ranking:
Jr. Lee Emanuel - 1,500 (3:40.77) - Ranked 8th Nationally
Sr. Jeremy Johnson - 10,000 (28:33.08) / 5,000 (13:51.84) - Ranked 11th Nationally / Ranked 25th Nationally
Jr. Anthony Fairbanks - Javelin (224' 11") - Ranked 16th Nationally
Jr. Mat Ashton - 10,000 (29:12.81) - Ranked 22nd Nationally


Three of New Mexico individual champions at the MWC Championships come from towns with New Mexico class 3A high schools or smaller. Robert Caldwell (Socorro, N.M.) in the pole vault, Katie Coronado (Ruidoso, N.M.) in the javelin and Sandy Fortner (Fort Sumner, N.M.) in the heptathlon each brought home the gold medal. Coronado and Fortner are also school record holders in there respective events.

LAST TIME OUT (Mountain West Conference Championships)

The University of New Mexico earned 11 all-conference medals, including victories by junior Sandy Fortner (heptathlon), senior Robert Caldwell (pole vault), junior Katie Coronado (javelin), senior Tiyana Peters (high jump) and junior Lee Emanuel (1,500 meters), at the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships at TCU's Lowdon Track and Field Complex (May 14-17). The women finished fifth with 78 points - their highest since scoring 141 at the 1990 High Country Athletic Conference Championships - while the men's team was also fifth with 87 points - their best score since 2005.

Fortner staked her claim as the greatest female athlete in the MWC with a sensational victory in the heptathlon. Fortner demolished Darcy Ahner's 18-year-old record in the seven-event competition and guaranteed her bid to the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet with a winning score of 5,641 points. She became the first Lobo to win the conference heptathlon since Ahner captured the Western Athletic Conference title in 1989.

Caldwell (Socorro) became the first Lobo since 1991 to win a conference pole vault title and Coronado (Ruidoso) captured her second straight javelin crown. The duo joined Fortner of Fort Sumner to give the Lobos three gold medalists from New Mexico class 3A high schools or smaller.

Peters cleared 5' 8 3/4" (1.75m), knocking off top-seeded Niomi Ridge of CSU (2nd - 5' 7") to become the first woman in MWC and UNM history to win back-to-back outdoor high jump titles. She completed the indoor/outdoor MWC high jump sweep for the second straight year, giving her four conference gold medals in her career.

Top-ranked Emanuel surged to a relatively comfortable victory in the 1,500 with a time of 3:47.63. The product of Hastings, England became the first Lobo to win a conference title in the event since 1986 and also snapped BYU's five-year winning streak in the event.

Caldwell and Coronado later made UNM just the second school to sweep the men's and women's MWC Outstanding Performer awards. Caldwell won the pole vault with a championship record clearance of 18' 1", following Coronado's victory in the javelin with a mark of 176' 1". They were the first Lobos to earn the awards at the Mountain West Championships.


Franklin has built his team using some good old home grown talent. Of the 72 student-athletes on the track and field roster 65 are from the Land of Enchantment. Most of the talent pool comes from right here in the Duke City, with 20 men and 13 women calling Albuquerque their home. The state is well represented though. From Gallup to Clovis and Carlsbad to Aztec there is an athlete that has chosen UNM as their home away from home.