Oct. 15, 2003
The University of New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams head west to Tempe, Ariz. on Saturday, Oct. 18 for the final regular season meet of 2003, the Canyon West Cross Country Classic. New Mexico will be looking to fine tune its performance before returning to San Diego for the Mountain West Conference Championships on Nov. 1.
In order to beat the near 100-degree weather, the Canyon West competition gets underway bright and early at Kiwanis Park, beginning with the women's 5,000-meter race at 9 a.m. (MST). The men toe the line 45 minutes later for the start of their 6K run.
This meet, which is presented by the Quest Running Club, has quickly become one of Arizona's premier cross country events with competition coming from the community colleges around the State of Arizona. Also expected to participate are the teams from Arizona State, Northern Arizona, Utah Valley, Victor Valley, and many others. The event is open to all athletes, collegiate and open.
Complete information and results from the Canyon West Cross Country Classic can be found on the official meet website:
NEW MEXICO TRAVEL SQUAD
UNM head coach Matt Henry will take 17 men and women, including eight first-year runners, to Tempe. The women's team will be composed of: Jr. Vanessa Funston, Fr. Myrriah Gomez, Sr. Sarah Gonzales, Sr. Brooke Gosling, Fr. Riann Lucy, So. Timmie Murphy, So. Janice Tosa and Sr. Amy Yactor. Meanwhile, the UNM men will be represented by: Fr. Chris Bratton, Jr. Nate Clem, Fr. Michael Deason, Sr. Sean Flaherty, Sr. Leighton Katsuda, Fr. Steven Martinez, Fr. Juan Ortega, Sr. Chris Rogers and So. Brandon Vigil.
LAST TIME OUT
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of New Mexico men's cross country team scored a season-low 25 points to pick up its first victory of the season on Oct. 4 at the Mountain West Conference Pre-Championship meet at Morley Field. New Mexico, which was running its first meet in San Diego since 1995, received a career-best second place finish from senior Sean Flaherty to defeat conference foes Wyoming (49) and Utah (59). The UNM women placed four runners in the top 20 to finish a strong fourth (85 points), just four points behind third place Wyoming.
Flaherty, who has led the Lobos in all three meets this year, was one of six UNM men to finish in the top 10. He completed the 8,000-meter course in 26:31 and shattered his previous-best finish of 13th last year. Fellow senior Leighton Katsuda turned in the best performance of his Lobo career, finishing fourth with a time of 26:39. Junior Nate Clem (5th - 26:43), sophomore Brandon Vigil (6th- 26:45) and freshman Stephen Martinez (8th - 26:50) wrapped up the scoring five for New Mexico. The win was the seventh for the Lobo men in head coach Matt Henry's four-year tenure. UNM had won just one meet in the five years prior to Henry's arrival.
On the women's side, senior Sarah Gonzales became the third different runner to lead the Lobos this season, finishing 12th with a season-best time of 23:25. Gonzales, who led the women in five meets last fall, finished less than a minute behind the winner, Rena Williams of BYU. Sophomore Timmie Murphy (23:38) and true freshman Riann Lucy (23:51) finished 14th and 15th, respectively, while sophomore Janice Tosa (24:01) was close behind in 17th. First year runner Brooke Gosling was 28th (25:04) to conclude the scoring for New Mexico.
FROM HEAD COACH Matt Henry
(on the women's performance through three meets): "I keep saying and I still believe that this is one of the best groups we've had. We certainly haven't reached our peak and run like we're really capable of. We've shown our talent and potential in practice, but just need to do it in a meet. I love the fact that we've had a different runner lead us in each meet this year and I hope somebody else will do it again this week. But we're not about individuals here. Our team is what's most important. We've got a lot of girls really running well right now. I'm really hoping somebody steps up and becomes that fifth runner we need to move up the standings, like I think we can, at the conference meet next month."
(on the men's performance at the Pre-MWC Championships): "Anytime you can get a win like that it's a good thing. Our guys were a little unhappy that only two other teams decided to run, but we really got a good look and feel for the course. Hopefully we'll be a little more comfortable than some of the other teams when we come back for the conference meet. Once again, I think Sean Flaherty did a great job. I'm still working on getting him out quicker, but he's going to have a chance to qualify for nationals if he keeps running like he has. Obviously, we're going to miss some of our redshirting runners at the conference meet, but our young guys are doing great and teams are really going to have to run to beat us."
HAIL TO THE VICTORS
In the five years prior to Matt Henry's arrival as head cross country coach at New Mexico, the Lobo men's team had notched just one meet victory. However, since Henry took control of the program in 2000, the men have captured seven team titles, including this year's Pre-MWC Championship meet (Oct. 4).
Last fall the men of New Mexico opened the season undefeated through three meets (UNM did not field a full team in its fourth meet, the Cowboy Jamboree) before finishing 17th at the Pre-National Invitational. After opening with another dominating win at the Lori Fitzgerald, UNM followed with a victory over a 12-team field in their home-opener, the UNM Lobo Invitational, then notched an impressive first place finish ahead of 29 teams at the 29th annual Stanford Invitational.
In his debut season, Henry's Lobos captured the men's race at the (NMSU) Kachina Classic. The 2001 team finished three-points short of perfection with a winning score of 18 in its season-opener at the Lori Fitzgerald Invitational, then went on to best 10 teams in a victory at the ASU Invitational.
Several fresh faces on the New Mexico men's and women's cross country teams are gaining valuable experience this fall. Through two meets, 10 runners have made their collegiate debuts, including six true freshmen. In addition, four runners on the men's and women's sides are beginning their second year of collegiate competition.
Head coach Matt Henry said he hopes this core of young runners will provide a valuable foundation for the future of the program. On the men's side, the eight first and second-year runners should give the team tremendous depth when redshirting veterans Cameron Clarke, Matt Gonzales, Nick Martinez and Ben Ortega return to action.