Feb. 25, 2004
UPCOMINGThe University of New Mexico men's and women's track teams cap a solid indoor season this week at the 2004 Mountain West Conference Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Air Force Academy will host the meet for the fifth straight year, as it welcomes six men's and eight women's teams to Cadet Field House. Competition gets underway on Thursday, Feb. 26, with the women's pentathlon and first day of the men's heptathlon. The action continues with day two of the heptathlon, along with preliminary and finals competition on Friday and Saturday.
UNM enjoyed a well-deserved break from competition last weekend after turning in its best overall performance of the indoor season at Northern Arizona on Feb. 14. The New Mexico men will be looking to improve on last year's fifth place finish (49 points) in the Mountain West, while the women hope to move up from their sixth place finish (49.5 points) in 2003. BYU has swept the women's titles in the previous four MWC meets, while the Cougar men have won three of the past four conference titles. Both BYU squads are the favorites once again this winter with the men and women ranked 15th and 11th, respectively, by Trackwire Online.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSComplete information and results from 2004 MWC Indoor Championships will be available at the official athletic department website of the Mountain West Conference:
2004 Mountain West Track & Field Championships
NEW MEXICO AT THE INDOOR CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPSAlthough traditionally an outdoor-oriented program, New Mexico has become more of an indoor threat each year under fourth-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff. The UNM women have scored at least 49 points each of Henry's first three seasons after surpassing the 49-point mark just once in the previous 10 years. In Henry's first year, the women scored a program-best 57 points and matched their best all-time finish by taking fourth at the 2001 MWC Championships. Five of the women's seven all-time indoor conference event titles have come in the Henry era as well, including a program-best three victories in 2003.
The Lobo men, meanwhile, have been steadily returning to the high levels of performance they were accustomed to throughout the 1970s and '80s. New Mexico has averaged 44 points in each of its last three MWC indoor meets after averaging just 12 points per meet from 1992-2000. Although UNM hasn't had a men's indoor conference champion since 1991, the team captured 50 event titles from 1970-91. Henry himself helped the Lobos capture back-to-back Western Athletic Conference 2-mile relay titles and a mile relay crown from 1972-74. New Mexico was, however, mere seconds away from ending its indoor championship drought in 2003 as the mile relay team finished just 0.66 seconds behind BYU and sophomore Matt Gonzales crossed the line 1.86 seconds behind the 3,000m winner after leading much of the race.
UNM INDOOR RESULTS UNDER Matt Henry
|Year||MWC Finish||MWC Titles||All-MWC Honors|
|Year||MWC Finish||MWC Titles||All-MWC Honors|
LAST YEAR AT THE MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPSCOLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Senior Keren Sari-Bentzur scored a meet-high 30 points, including victories in the pentathlon and long jump, to lead the University of New Mexico women to a sixth place finish (49.5 points) at the 2003 Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships at Cadet Field House, Feb. 27-March 1. Junior Chris Garofola led a balanced men's effort, scoring a team-high nine points and helping the mile relay team to a runner-up finish as the UNM men finished in fifth place with 49 points.
New Mexico athletes earned all-MWC honors five times, including three conference honors for Sari-Bentzur, and won three women's events. The UNM women had won just two indoor conference championship events in program history prior to Henry's arrival in 2000. Since 2000, the women have brought home five gold medals.
Sari-Bentzur capped one of the finest conference championship performances in school history by scoring 10 points in the triple (38-07) and high jumps (5-05.75) on March 1. She earned victory in the long jump (19-01.25) on Feb. 28 and topped her own school record with a winning score of 3,845 in the pentathlon on Feb. 27. Sophomore transfer Bridgid Isworth captured the third title of the weekend, soaring a season and conference championship best 13-02.50 to win the pole vault. Sophomore Amanda Barnes, meanwhile, broke an 11-year-old UNM record in the shot put (47-00.25).
Sophomore Mark Johnson earned all-MWC pentathlon honors for the second-straight year, finishing third with a career-best score of 3,650. The men's distance medley relay team finished fourth on day two, while Garofola led the sprint efforts by taking fourth in the 60 meters (7.01) and fifth in the 200 (21.93). Garofola and the UNM mile relay team nearly captured the men's first ever MWC indoor title in the final event of the weekend, but finished just 0.66 seconds behind BYU. However, the team did clock a season-best time of 3:15.93 to earn all-MWC honors with its runner-up finish. Sophomore Matt Gonzales took home all-conference laurels for the first time with his third place finish in a tight 3,000-meter race (8:21.37). Senior Mike Pestorich was fourth in the 800m finals (1:54.03), while sophomore Willie Yuen led the field efforts with a sixth place finish in the triple jump (45-05.25).
LAST WEEK (at Northern Arizona)FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Distance ace Matt Gonzales won a pair of races in his indoor season debut to lead the University of New Mexico men to an impressive trio of head-to-head victories in a quadrangular meet on Feb. 14 at the J.L. Walkup Skydome. New Mexico cruised past UC-Irvine (97.5-49.5) and Southern Utah (88.5-58.5), and downed the home team, Northern Arizona, 81-69. Amanda Barnes won the shot put and weight throw, but the Lobo women finished the day 1-2. UNM defeated UC-Irvine, 74.5-62.5, but fell to NAU (79-65) and Southern Utah (85.66-53.33).
Both the men and women enjoyed their best meet of the 2004 indoor season, winning eight gold medals and recording season bests in a combined 14 events. The Lobos also set a pair of school records, including an unlikely new standard in the 60-meter dash from true freshman Jeramie White.
White clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 6.91 to win the event, bettering his previous best by 0.20 seconds. Senior Chris Garofola held the previous school record, clocking a time of 6.96 last year. Junior Amanda Barnes, meanwhile, reclaimed the UNM weight throw record from teammate Jamie Fishencord with a winning throw of 53-09.75, over three feet beyond her previous best.
Fresh off his 13th place finish at the USA Cross Country Championships, junior Matt Gonzales cruised to victories in the 800 and 1,500 meters in his first official indoor appearance. He clocked career-best times in both events, running a 1:53.69 800 and recording an unofficial altitude-adjusted time of 4:08.58 in the mile. New Mexico's homegrown distance crew overwhelmed the competition, as Gonzales, junior Nick Martinez, junior Cameron Clarke and senior Sean Flaherty finished 1-2-3-4 in the mile. Gonzales, senior Matt Bishop, junior Nate Clem and freshman Mike Smiel then placed 1-3-4-5 in the 800.
Seniors Jordan Parker and Jason Barkemeyer led the way in the throws as Parker earned his first career indoor victory with a personal-best throw of 53-05.50 in the shot put. Barkemeyer finished second with a toss of 51-03.00 then notched a career-best mark of 52-01.25 to finish fourth in the weight throw. Parker, meanwhile, was just behind in fifth with a mark of 50-04.75.
On the women's side, Barnes picked up her first gold medals of the year, including a winning throw of 45-06.75 in the shot put. Back on the track, sophomore Kimilia Davis and freshman Riann Lucy earned their first career victories in the 400 and 800, respectively. Davis recorded a personal record time of 57.34, while Lucy crossed the line in a season-best 2:15.65, nearly three second ahead of the runner-up.
Indoor sophomore Jacquelyne Gallegos continued her stellar comeback season finishing third in a powerful mile field. Gallegos clocked an unofficial altitude-adjusted time of 4:58.24, a career-best and just one second behind the winner, NAU standout Ida Nilsson.
READING THE RANKINGSSix women and 13 men are ranked among the MWC top-10 in their respective events...sophomore Jacquelyne Gallegos is the Lobos' top-seeded athlete, currently ranked third in the mile...junior Amanda Barnes leads the field athletes with a No. 5 ranking in the shot put...on the men's side, senior Chris Garofola ranks among the top-6 in the 60 (T6th), 200 (4th) and 60-meter hurdles (6th), while true freshman Jeramie White has moved up to fourth in the 60 and ninth in the 200...junior Matt Gonzales enters the weekend ranked fifth in the mile, after clocking the team's fastest time in his season debut on Feb. 14...senior Jason Barkemeyer is the league's fifth-ranked shot putter, while junior Willie Yuen is No. 6 in the triple jump...the Lobos also have three athletes (Derek Mackel, Mark Johnson, Zach Bingham) ranked in the top-10 of the pole vault...New Mexico also has two strong heptathletes in senior Mark Johnson (No. 4) and Dan Feltman (No. 5).
MORE LOBO NOTESThe MWC Championships will mark the Lobos' fourth scoring meet of the indoor season...UNM competed in four scored meets in all of 2003, both indoor and outdoor seasons...the UNM men and women have combined for 14 event victories in their four meets this winter, matching their five-meet total of a year ago...four women and three men have earned the first wins of their indoor career this season...junior distance runner Matt Gonzales is the Lobos' active indoor victory leader...following his 800 and mile sweep in his 2004 season debut at Northern Arizona, Gonzales has now won five of his 10 career indoor races...head coach Matt Henry has decided to redshirt senior sprinter Ahmed Raji for the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons...Raji, an all-MWC honoree in the 200m and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, will return in 2005 for his final collegiate season.
SWIFTER, HIGHER, STRONGERUnder the direction of fourth-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the 2004 Lobos have continued to improve their indoor performances. This winter the Lobos have eclipsed the top marks of a year ago in 18 events, including 10 on the women's side. Thirteen of the top performances this season are the best in Henry's tenure at UNM. The following is a breakdown of the improvement the men and women have made on their top indoor event marks under Henry:
60m: (6.96 ('03) ~ 6.91, -0.05 sec.), 800m: (1:54.03 ('03) ~ 1:53.69, -0.34), Mile: (4:09.78 ('02) ~ 4:08.88, -0.90 sec.), 60m Hurdles: (8.22 ('03) ~ 8.19, -0.03 sec.), Distance Medley Relay: (10:11.60 ('03) ~ 10:11.16, -0.24 sec.), Shot Put: (51-00.75 ('03) ~ 56-06.00, +5 ft., 5.25 in.).
400m: (57.56 ('02) ~ 57.34, -0.22 sec.), 800m: (2:21.07 ('03) ~ 2:15.65, -5.42 sec.), Mile: (5:10.83 ('02) ~ 4:58.76, -12.07 sec.), 3,000m: (10:16.87 ('02) ~ 9:57.47, -19.40 sec.), 5,000m: (18:15.48 ('02) ~ 17:47.01, -28.47 sec.), Distance Medley Relay: (12:54.20 ('02) ~ 12:20.72, -33.48 sec.), Weight Throw: (49-09.25 ('03) ~ 53-09.75, +4ft., 0.50 in.).
RUN LIKE A CHAMPIONStalwart senior David Lloyd will run his final race in Cherry and Silver this weekend when he joins the 400-meter field at the MWC Championships. In just two short outdoor seasons in Albuquerque, after transferring from Gardner-Webb University, Lloyd established himself as one of the top 400-meter hurdlers in UNM history. The Kingston, Jamaica native was a six-time outdoor all-MWC honoree in the 400m hurdles and as a member of both relay teams. A redshirt during the 2003 indoor season, Lloyd was one of the league's premier sprinters over the past two years at any distance from 100-400 meters.
GONZALES STANDS TALL AMONG NATION'S BESTINDIANAPOLIS -- University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales finished 13th out of a field of 112 runners in the 4,000-meter race at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships on Feb. 7. Gonzales clocked a time of 11:42, just 20 seconds shy of earning a spot on the national team, in his first Cross Country Championships appearance. The top six finishers in the men's 4K and the 12,000-meter race were automatically selected for the USA national team.
Gonzales' time was also just 28 seconds behind the winner, Charlie Gruber, who was running for Nike Unattached. The Santa Fe native also finished 12 spots ahead of former Colorado State standout Bryan Berryhill, a former NCAA Champion and USA runner-up in the 1,500 last year.
"I really thought he could make that team," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He told me that he got off to a slow start and that it took him awhile to get used to the snow on the course, but he said that he passed at least 10 people on the final loop."
The 4,000-meter race is half the distance of most regular season collegiate cross country courses. The men move up to run a 10,000-meter race at NCAA regional and national championship competitions.