Thirty-Four Nationally Ranked Athletes Coming To Albuquerque On Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/18/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 18, 2006

UPDATE -- The excitement continues to build as the field for the inaugural Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational indoor track & field meet nears completion. Thirty-four athletes and five 4x400-meter relay teams ranked among the top-12 in the nation in Trackwire's most recent Dandy Dozen list are entered in Saturday's meet at the Albuquerque Convention Center. USC's Virginia Powell (60m hurdles) and Jesse Williams (high jump), Ricardo Chambers (400m) and Rafeeq Curry (triple jump) of Florida State, Texas A&M's Fabrice Lapierre (long jump), LSU's Xavier Carter (200m) and the Tigers' mile relay team all enter the meet ranked No. 1 in their respective events.

The meet, hosted by the University of New Mexico in conjunction with the City of Albuquerque, gets underway with the field events at 9 a.m. (MST), followed by the first event on the track at 10:30. Tickets at the door are $3 for adults, $2 for students and free for ages 5 and under.

The Lobo Invitational is the first collegiate-only indoor track meet in the state of New Mexico in 19 years. The last collegiate meet was in 1987 when UNM hosted the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships at Tingley Coliseum. Saturday's meet will be the third event held on the 2-year-old track at the Albuquerque Convention Center and the second of eight meets scheduled for 2006.

The following is a breakdown of the top athletes entered in the Lobo Invitational field on Saturday:

Women's 60-Meter Hurdles (11:15 p.m.)
Viginia Powell, the defending indoor hurdles champion and the outdoor champ in the 100m hurdles, opens the season ranked No. 1 in the event and will be the clear favorite on Saturday.

60 Meters (12/12:15 p.m.)
This should be one of the best races of the day on both the men's and women's sides. The women's race will feature the country's No. 8 and No. 9 runners in LSU's Kelly Baptiste and Viginia Powell of USC. Powell, however, is also entered in the 60m hurdles, which run 45 minutes earlier. Cal's Antonette Carter, ranked ninth in the 200, will drop down to bolster the field. Four nationally-ranked competitors will be in the blocks in the men's competition, including No. 4 Churandy Martina of UTEP, No. 6 Tyrone Edgar of Texas A&M and No. 11 Greg Bolden of Florida State. LSU's Kelly Willie, a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-winning 4x400 team, will also be in the race. Willie is currently ranked third in the country in the 400.

400 Meters (1:20/1:35 p.m.)
Seminole sophomore Ricardo Chambers is the No. 1 400-meter runner in college track & field and could be poised for a big performance in his season-opener. The Aggies' Justin Oliver, meanwhile, enters the meet ranked eighth in the event. On the women's side, No. 10 Deonna Lawrence of LSU will be the favorite.

Women's 800 Meters (1:50 p.m.)
California's Alysia Johnson is the top-ranked runner in the field, currently listed No. 6 among Trackwire's Dandy Dozen.

200 Meters (2:30/2:45 p.m.)
Carter of LSU enters the weekend as the nation's top-ranked 200 man, but Florida State's Ronald Wright (No. 12) and Bolden, who is doubling in the 60, will provide stiff competition. The women's competition will be led by the Tigers' duo of Junanita Broaddus (No. 6) and Baptiste (No. 7), who is also doubling in the 60.

4x400m Relay (3:40/3:50 p.m.)
The meet should end with a bang as three of the country's top-5 men's 4x400 relay teams battle each other in the final event. LSU, the defending outdoor champions, are ranked No. 1, while Florida State and Texas A&M are fourth and fifth, respectively. The women's race will feature a solid head-to-head competition between the 11th-ranked Tigers and 12th-ranked Aggies.

High Jump (M - 9 a.m./W - 1:30 p.m.)
Some of the top high jumping talent in the country will be on display with a total of six ranked competitors in the men's and women's fields. Trojan senior Jesse Williams, the defending indoor and outdoor champion, is ranked No. 1, followed by Teak Wilburn of Cal, who is ranked eighth. Four top-10 athletes in the women's high jump will make for one of the most compelling field events of the day. The Bears' Inka McPherson (No. 2) and the Aggie duo of Sheree Francis (No. 4) and Caroline Wolf (No. 5) are all ranked among the top-5, while LSU's Shaunette Davidson is ranked 10th.

Long Jump (W- 9 a.m./M - 11:30 a.m.)
The men's long jump will feature top-ranked Fabrice Lapierre of Texas A&M and No. 8 Johnta Griffin of FSU. Cal's Antonette Carter (No.4), who is also entered in the 60, the only ranked jumper in the women's field, but LSU All-American Tina Harris will also be competing.

Pole Vault (M - 10 a.m./W - 1 p.m.)
BYU's Robison Pratt enters the meet ranked second in the country and is coming off an NCAA automatic qualifying vault of 18-00.50 last weekend, while Florida State's Lacy Janson is ranked third in the women's event. New Mexico senior Derek Mackel (17-08.50), however, could challenge Pratt in front of his homecrowd.

Triple Jump (W- 1 p.m./M - 2:30 p.m.)
Rafeeq Curry of Florida State the country's No. 1 triple jumper and the only ranked competitor in the men's field. The women's competition will feature the nation's No. 2 and No. 3 ranked athletes in USC's Brittany Daniels and BYU's Kamila Rywelska.

Shot Put (M - 1 p.m./W - 2:30 p.m.)
There is a pair of ranked athletes in both the men's and women's events. No. 2 Sean Shields of Arizona and No. 4 Garrett Johnson of Florida State lead the men's field, while fourth-ranked Kacey Onwuchekwa of Texas A&M and Arizona's Megan Howard (No. 6) will be the favorites on the women's side.

While there will be no multi-event competition on Saturday, three nationally ranked men (heptathlon) and women (pentathlon) will be competing in various events throughout the day. Arizona's Robert Arnold (No. 10) is entered in four events, while Darion Powell of LSU (No. 6) will compete in the long jump. BYU's Liis Berendsen, the 10th-ranked pentathlete in the country, will also long jump. Lobo senior Dan Feltman, who finished 16th in the decathlon at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships, will compete in the pole vault and 60m hurdles.