Lobo Trio Ready For National Championship Debut
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  06/06/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

June 6, 2005

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For the first time in twenty years, three in-state products will represent the University of New Mexico at the highest level of collegiate track and field competition when they join the field of the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships this week in Sacramento, Calif. Senior Amanda Barnes (Carlsbad, N.M.) and juniors Dan Feltman (Deming, N.M.) and Matt Keeran (Albuquerque La Cueva) each will be making their national championships debut on Wednesday and Thursday, June 8-9, at the Hornet Stadium. The trio is New Mexico's largest contingent at the NCAA Championships since 1991.

Feltman opens the meet on Wednesday with five decathlon events (100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters) from 2:30-9:05 p.m. (MST). Keeran, meanwhile, begins the qualifying round of the javelin on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Feltman wraps up the final five events of the decathlon (110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, 1,500 meters) from 12:15-9:20 p.m. on Thursday, followed by Barnes in the qualifying round of the shot put at 9:30.

Track and field is the oldest of the NCAA championships, going back to 1921. With the advent of regional qualifying in 2003, it's now the largest as well with a field of 1,100 athletes set to compete in Sacramento.

For the first time since World War II, the NCAA meet has a semi-permanent home. The NCAA track and field committee broke with tradition in awarding the 2005, 2006 and 2007 collegiate track championships to Sacramento. The NCAA meet hasn't been held at the same site in successive years since Marquette University in Milwaukee played host to the 1944-45 championships.

Sacramento State hosted the 2003 NCAA meet, attracting 31,900 fans over four days of competition at 21,000-seat Hornet Stadium in the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex. Sacramento averaged more than 20,000 spectators over 16 days of competition at the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.

The weather forecast in Sacramento calls for sunny skies and temperature highs in the low to mid-80s each day of the national championship meet.

Complete information and results from the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be available on the official website of the host institution, California State University, Sacramento:

NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Central

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

NCAA Sports

The UNM coaching staff will accompany Dan Feltman to Sacramento on Monday, June 6. Matt Keearan will depart for California on Tuesday, followed by Amanda Barnes on Wednesday. Barnes will practice on the hammer throw fields across from the UNM Track Stadium on Monday and Tuesday at approximately 2:30 p.m. Due to an injury, Keeran will not be training until he arrives in Sacramento. Contact Lobo track and field SID Alfredo Moreno (505-925-5524) with any questions or if you need assistance in contacting the UNM coaches or athletes.

Under fifth-year head coach Matt Henry, New Mexico has sent at least two athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet each of the past four years. Four different men and three different women have competed at the national meet since 2002. Hammer thrower Stephen Dunbar (1998, 2000) was the lone UNM representative at the NCAA Outdoor Championships from 1998-2001. The following is a year-by-year breakdown of the Lobos' performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet under Henry.


no competitors


Jr. Keren Sari-Bentzur (Omer, Israel) • Heptathlon • 5,285 pts. (9th)

Fr. Kelli Myers (Lovington, N.M.) • High Jump • no height


So. Matt Gonzales (Santa Fe, N.M.) • 10,000m • 28:26.88 (3rd)

Sr. Keren Sari-Bentzur (Omer, Israel) • Heptathlon • 4,887 pts. (22nd)


So. Matt Gonzales (Santa Fe, N.M.) • 10,000m • 29:58.05 (4th)

Sr. Mark Johnson (Fontana, Wisc.) • Decathlon • 7,277 pts. (15th)

Italics indicate All-America honors

Since 1930, New Mexico athletes have earned All-America honors 58 times (men - 34, women - 24) and won eight event titles at the national outdoor championship meet (including women's AIAW championships). The UNM men have scored 22 times at the national championship meet, including seven top-25 finishes. New Mexico finished fifth in 1965, seven points out of first, and tied for fifth in `67. The Lobo women, meanwhile, have scored at seven outdoor championship meets, notching top-25 finishes at the 1976 (12th), `79 (9th) and `81 (14th) AIAW National Championships.

New Mexico has three competitors in the NCAA Outdoor Championship field for the first time since 1991 when seniors Lavern Clarke (Winnipeg, Canada) and Simon Arkell (Stirling, Australia), and sophomore Tony Eziuka (Jos, Nigeria) made the trip to Eugene, Ore. for the national championship meet. Arkell led the Lobo men to a finish of 63rd by tying for fifth place in the men's pole vault (18-00.50). His performance earned him All-America honors for the third year in a row at the outdoor championships. Clarke, meanwhile, just missed becoming a back-to-back All-American in the triple jump as she finished ninth in the finals with a leap of 41-05.25. Eziuka, however, was forced to pull out of the 400-meter competition after suffering an injury during training.

Since taking over at his alma mater in the summer of 2000, UNM head coach Matt Henry has made New Mexico's finest high school track and field athletes the cornerstone of his up-and-coming program. This year, over 80 percent (74 total) of Henry's Lobos hail from the Land of Enchantment, including 31 former New Mexico high school state champions on the men's and women's roster. Former prep champs Amanda Barnes (shot put - 5A Carlsbad HS), Dan Feltman (5 events - 4A Deming HS) and Matt Keeran (javelin - 5A Albuquerque La Cueva HS) will represent UNM this week in Sacramento, marking the first time in 20 years that three New Mexicans have donned the cherry and silver at the NCAA Championships. In 1985, Albuquerque natives Ted Crouch (hammer), Carole Roybal (3,000m) and Pam Posey (100m) were among the five UNM men and women to qualify for the national meet.


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

The Lobos' top-ranked competitor at the NCAA Championships, entering the shot put competition as the No. 15 seed...advanced to the national meet by earning the fifth automatic qualifying berth out of the Midwest Region

with a mark of 51-11.25...scratched on her first two attempts at the regional meet before securing a spot in the finals on what could have been the final throw of her career...finished 13th as a sophomore and ninth as a junior at the Midwest Regionals before earning her long-awaited trip to the national meet...is the first UNM woman ever to compete in the shot put at the NCAA Championships...last Lobo shot putter to qualify for the national meet was former All-American Darren Crawford in 1990...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 eight of nine meets this year and improved by over six feet since her rookie season...won five shot put competitions this spring...two-time MWC outdoor shot put champion and league runner-up in `05...holds UNM indoor/outdoor shot put records and the top discus mark as well...15 career outdoor victories including 13 in the shot put...exemplary student-athlete who will earn Academic All-MWC for a fourth-straight season after earning her degrees in both Applied Mathematics and Biology in May...NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee who has earned all her athletic and academic accolades while remarkably balancing her responsibilities as mother to her 6-year-old daughter Sable...flew to the Midwest Regional meet one day before competition after watching Sable graduate from kindergarten on May 26...two-time New Mexico state 5A champion in the shot put (2000-01) at Carlsbad High School...Shot Put qualifying - Thurs., 9:30 p.m./finals - Sat., 7:30 p.m.

Dan Feltman • 6-4 • Jr-2L • Deming, N.M. • Decathlon

2005 Mountain West Conference champion who could be one of the best kept secrets in the NCAA decathlon field...was selected out of the provisional qualifying pool and enters the meet ranked 18th after recording a

career-best score of 7,278 in mid-April at the Mt. SAC Relays...Mt. SAC appearance was his first multi-event competition of the year after missing the entire indoor season with a severe quadriceps injury he suffered in his first race of 2005...coaches believe he would have scored at least 200 points higher at the MWC Championships if not for unseasonably cold temperatures, rain, lightning and wind in Fort Collins, Colo...still managed to dominate the field, earning a 534-point victory with a score of 7,250...a javelin specialist who is also a top threat in the shot put and 110-meter hurdles...has really improved his sprint speed this year, dropping his times in the 100 and improving his consistency in the 400...also upped his discus PR by over 20 feet and his pole vault height by over 18 inches...is the second straight Lobo decathlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships after UNM went 19 years without a representative in the two-day competition...former teammate Mark Johnson was the 22nd man added to the field last year, but went on to finish 15th in the field of 26...former U.S. Olympic team member Gary Kinder is the Lobos' most decorated decathlete, earning All-America honors with a second place finish in 1985...Kinder led the competition for nine events before being edged in the 1,500-meter run...was ranked 42nd in the country in 2004 after recording a provisional qualifying score of 7,022 en route to a fourth place finish at the MWC Championships...has competed in 122 individual events, 5 decathlons, 2 heptathlons and 1 pentathlon during his indoor/outdoor career...2002 Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year of the state of New Mexico...captured 7 4A titles in his prep career at Deming High School, including all five events (100, 200, 400, LJ, TJ) he competed in at the `02 state meet...qualified for a stunning 12 events at the state meet, but rules limited his participation to five...was the nation's third-ranked prep decathlete as a senior...Decathlon (Day 1) - Wed., 2:30 p.m./Day 2 - Thurs., 12:15 p.m.

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

2005 Mountain West Conference javelin champion who has had a dramatic two-week surge to get into the NCAA Championship field...underwent elbow surgery in the spring of 2004 after earning all-MWC honors in 2002 and

2003...made gradual progress in his return to action this spring, but was considered a long shot to return to the MWC medals podium in 2005...shocked the MWC field, however, winning the conference title with a career-best throw of 211-05 on his final attempt...had competed just three times all year, notching a top mark of 191-04 before uncorking the winning throw at the MWC Championships...suffered a strained hamstring on the throw and pulled the muscle completely on his first attempt at the Midwest Regional Championships two weeks later...battled through the pain, however, and went on to finish seventh (197-04) at the regional meet...regional finish and his MWC-winning mark were good enough to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA meet as the 24th competitor selected to the 26-man field...came back from the Midwest Regional meet with his entire right hamstring a dark shade of purple and will not practice again until he arrives in Sacramento...a real student of the event inside the oval and standout in the classroom as well...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, the same position his dad, Bob, played for UNM in the early `70s...Javelin qualifying - Wed., 4 p.m./finals - Fri., 6 p.m.