March 12, 2009
UPCOMINGThe University of New Mexico wraps up a remarkable 2009 indoor track and field season on Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. The Lobos matched the 1978 team's program record with four individuals and one relay team qualifying for the Indoor Championships. The No. 23 New Mexico men will run senior Lee Emanuel (mile), senior Jarrin Solomon (400m), junior Rory Fraser (5,000m), and the distance medley relay team of junior David Bishop, freshman Dominick Roberts, sophomore Ryan Steadman, and senior Mat Ashton. Junior Deanna Young will represent the UNM women in the triple jump. Every athlete competing for New Mexico is making their NCAA Indoor Championship debut.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSNCAA Championships Schedule (all times Mountain):
Friday - March 13
3:15 p.m. - men's mile prelims
4:15 p.m. - men's 400m prelims
6:30 p.m. - men's 5,000m final
7:40 p.m. - men's distance medley relay final (2 sections)
Saturday - March 14
2:30 p.m. - women's triple jump trials & final
4:10 p.m. - men's mile final
4:50 p.m. - men's 400m finals (2 sections)
Live Video: Available on ESPN360.com beginning at 6:05 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday and 3:55 p.m. on Saturday.
Texas A&M Facility Information: Texas A&M officially opened the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on Jan. 24, 2009. Similar to the Lobos' home facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Gilliam Indoor features a six-lane, 200-meter, hyrdaulic banked oval. The jumping runways are on a flat Mondo surface inside the oval. The spacious facility, which also hosted the 2009 Big 12 Championships, has seating for approximately 5,000 spectators.
SCOUTING THE LOBOSSr. Lee Emanuel - Men's Mile: Emanuel enters the meet as the No. 5 seed in the mile with a school record time of 3:57.91 that he recorded on Feb. 7 on Notre Dame's 320-meter flat track. It's the only individual mile race he's run all season. However, the Hastings, England product ran an unofficial mile split of 3:55 on the final leg of the Lobos' record-setting distance medley relay last week at Notre Dame.
Emanuel will be one of seven men in the second preliminary heat. Top-seeded Shane Knoll (3:57.36) of Michigan State, who edged Emanuel at Notre Dame on Feb. 7, is in the second heat as well. The top three finishers in each heat and the next four fastest times overall advance to Saturday's 10-man final.
Emanuel is the first Lobo to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the mile. He was also the No. 5 seed in the 1,500 at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, but finished 16th in the semifinals.
Sr. Jarrin Solomon - Men's 400m: Solomon enters the meet as the No. 8 seed in the 400 with a school record and lifetime best (indoor or outdoor) time of 46.33 which he recorded last week on Iowa State's 300-meter flat track. His career-best on a 200-meter banked oval is 46.69, which he clocked earlier this year (Feb. 7) in Albuquerque.
Solomon has posted a 5-1 record in head-to-head 400m races this winter. His lone loss was last week in Ames, Iowa when he finished second behind Illinois' Gakologelwang Masheto who clocked a world-leading time of 45.80. Solomon, the MWC Champion in the event, has defeated four runners in the NCAA 400 field - top-seed Masheto (Feb. 14), No. 11 Bobby McCoy of Arizona (three times), No. 12 Justin Oliver of Texas A&M (March 7), and No. 13 Lukas Hullet of Nebraska (twice).
The Albuquerque La Cueva product will be in the furthest lane inside (lane 3) in the first of four preliminary heats. Oliver will be next to him in lane four, while LSU freshman Robert Simmons - the No. 4 seed (46.22) - will be on the outside in lane six. The top eight times overall will advance to Saturday's two-section finals.
Solomon is the first Lobo to compete in the 400 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships although Charles Dramiga earned All-America honors in 1978 in the 440-yard dash. Solomon's father, Michael, was a two-time indoor All-America for the Lobos in the 600-yard run, winning the national title in the event in 1977.
A redshirt during the 2008 indoor and outdoor seasons, Solomon also qualified in the 400m at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He finished 17th in the NCAA quarterfinals - eight spots above his seed - and was one-hundredth of a second shy of advancing to the semifinals.
Jr. Rory Fraser - Men's 5,000m: Fraser is the No. 11 seed in the 5,000 with a top time of 13:49.57 which he recorded on Feb. 14 on Washington's 307-meter flat track. Friday's 14-man final will be the second 5K of the season and fifth individual race overall for the Leicester, England product.
2008 NCAA cross country champion and American indoor 5K record holder Galen Rupp of Oregon and cross country runner-up Sam Chelanga of Liberty are the clear favorites in the race. Rupp enters with a top seed time of 13:18.12, while Chelanga has a best of 13:19.79. Former UNM cross country All-American and current Oregon senior Shadrack Biwott is the No. 5 seed.
Fraser, who transferred to UNM in the fall, is the second Lobo to qualify for Indoor Championships in the 5,000. Matt Gonzales earned All-America honors with a fourth place finish in 2005, recording a school record time of 13:45.72.
Jr. Deanna Young - Women's Triple Jump: Young enters the meet as the No. 13 seed in the field of 18 triple jumpers. She recorded broke her own school record two weeks ago with a leap of 43-01.75 (13.15m) in a third place finish at the MWC Championships. Saturday's event will be the fourth triple jump competition of the season for the Albuquerque Highland product. She won her first two TJ competitions of the year in Albuquqerque and at Iowa State.
Young is one of three MWC women in the field. Only the ACC (4) has more competitors from the same conference. Florida State's Kimberly Williams is the top seed with a mark of 46-00.50 (14.03m). Young will be the final competitor on the runway in the second and final heat on Saturday. Each jumper will get three attempts with the top nine marks advancing to the finals for an additional three jumps.
Young is the first Lobo triple jumper to advance to the NCAA Indoor Championships. UNM has never had a woman earn All-America honors indoors. This marks the first time the New Mexico women have had a representative at the NCAA Indoor meet in consecutive years. Sandy Fortner (Fort Sumner, N.M.) was 12th in the pentathlon last year.
Men's Distance Medley Relay (Jr. David Bishop, Fr. Dominick Roberts, So. Ryan Steadman, Sr. Mat Ashton): New Mexico will be the No. 8 seed and one of a record 18 teams that automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the event. The Lobo foursome of junior transfer David Bishop (1,200m), freshman Dominick Roberts (400m), sophomore Ryan Steadman (800m) and Lee Emanuel (1,600m) smashed the school record with a time of 9:30.38 last week at Notre Dame. Emanuel ran an unofficial anchor leg of 3:55 to move the Lobos from last to second in the race. The time was unofficially the 14th-fastest by any single school in NCAA history.
Senior Mat Ashton, however, will replace Emanuel if the Lobo middle distance standout advances to Saturday's mile finals as expected. Ashton, who was 10th in the 10,000 at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, is running the DMR for the first time this winter although he anchored the Lobos to a silver medal in the event at the 2008 MWC Championships. Ashton clocked an altitude-adjusted mile time of 4:17.87 in his only other middle distance race this year in the season-opener in Albuquerque.
Bishop, who earned all-MWC honors with a different Lobo DMR team two weeks ago, will run the lead leg of 1,200 meters. He has clocked a top mile time of 4:00.38 and top 800 time of 1:52.99 (altitude adjusted). Roberts has recorded a collegiate best of 48.00 and a high school best of 47.98 in the indoor 400m. Steadman earned all-MWC honors with the DMR team last year and clocked an indoor best of 1:52.68 in the 800m two weeks ago.
The Lobos will be one of nine teams in the second and fastest finals section. Top-seeded Arkansas and MWC rival BYU are also in the second section. This is the first time UNM has qualified a DMR team to the NCAA Championships, but it earned All-America honors four times in the two-mile relay from 1972-83, winning a national title in the event in 1978.
LOBO TALK (on the NCAA Championships):Head Coach Joe Franklin:
"This season is a step in the right direction. We have some athletes that are seeded very high. We have just a great group going. This is something that we've talked about for a long time. I know we can go in there and challenge BYU on a national stage and when the scores come out hopefully we'll be in front of BYU. Our team continues to grow."
Senior Lee Emanuel (mile):
"This is a great meet. It's what we train all year for so we can run at the NCAA meet. I'm really confident right now going into the mile that I can run well and place pretty high. There is not one runner that is outclassing everyone else. I think there are five or six guys that can win it and I put myself in that bracket. It's going to be tough, but anything can happen. Whoever races well that day is going to take the title."
Senior Jarrin Solomon (400m):
"I'm taking it one race at a time. I try to keep every race in perspective. No race is bigger than another race. Every race I go into I try to win. We are all pretty close on the list and with that small of a margin of time between us I think I can beat the guys at the top or the guys who are a little bit in front of me."
Junior Rory Fraser (5,000m):
"I'm excited for my first nationals. I'm going against some of the best guys in the county and some of the best guys in the world. It's going to be good to put myself up against those guys. I'm going in with no impression of the meet. I just want to have fun and enjoy myself. I'm planning on getting All-American, getting a PR and hopefully setting a school record."
Junior Deanna Young (triple jump):
"This is going to be a good experience. This year has been a wonderful experience. Last year I was real determined to make it and I missed both indoor and outdoor nationals. This year I'm really happy that I made it and really honored to be here. The competition is going to be really tough, but I'm not too worried about them. I'm just going to do my best."
LOBO MEN SPRINT INTO TOP-25 RANKINGSThe University of New Mexico men's track and field team moved up 10 spots to No. 23 in the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I team rankings released on March 11. New Mexico, which has climbed nearly 60 spots over the course of the season, is the top ranked team in the Mountain West Conference - seven spots ahead of MWC champion BYU.
The USTFCCCA rankings are based on national level performances rather than dual meet strength. BYU used its depth and roster size to defeat the second place Lobos by over 100 points last week at the six-team MWC Indoor Championship meet, but has only two individuals (one in the top-10) and one relay team factoring into the national rankings. New Mexico has three individuals (two in the top-10) and one relay team contributing points in the national rankings.
LAST TIME OUT: Last Chance MeetsThe University of New Mexico saw yet more records fall last weekend, adding to what will go down as one of the greatest men's track and field seasons in program history. This time it was the men's distance medley relay team of David Bishop, Dominick Roberts, Ryan Steadman, and Lee Emanuel which smashed the previous best at UNM by nearly 16 seconds and became the first Lobo DMR team to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships with a time of 9:30.38 at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational on March 6.
Emanuel's blazing anchor leg - unofficially timed at 3:55 - helped New Mexico finish fifth in the 19-team field. The Lobos finished less than a second behind first place Virginia and downed several powerful teams including defending national champion and fourth-ranked Texas, No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 12 Indiana.
In just two seasons at UNM Emanuel has etched his name on four indoor records. He set the mile record last year, smashed it this winter, and has also added records in the 800 meters, 3,000 and the DMR.
The elite performances continued the next day.
Jarrin Solomon finally lost a head-to-head 400-meter race, but it took the fastest time in the world this year to beat him. The UNM senior, however, lowered his school record time in the event to 46.33 and clinched his first NCAA Indoor Championship bid with a second place finish on March 7 at Iowa State's NCAA Qualifier meet. Illinois' Gakologelwang Masheto was the only man faster, clocking a blazing 45.80 - the fastest in the world by 0.23 seconds.
Masheto, who lost to Solomon three weeks earlier on the same track, is a five-time Big 10 Conference champion, two-time All-American, and represented Botswana in the Beijing Olypics in the 400.
Solomon's impressive performance came one week after cruising to the Mountain West Conference title. The race was the first he's lost in six 400 competitions this winter, but just as head coach Joe Franklin predicted, Solomon's appearance at Iowa State was critical.
Tied for 12th in the country entering the day with a previous best of 46.69, Solomon was one of five men at the Lied Recreation Center to run under 46.60 in what was the fastest last chance 400 race of the weekend. With only 14 athletes selected to compete in the NCAA 400, Solomon would have missed the cut had he not made the trip and turned in the clutch performance.
Now he will almost certainly see his name appear when the NCAA release the list of qualifier for the 2009 Indoor Championships on Sunday night.
Meanwhile, back at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational, junior Ashley Gibson also lowered her school record in the mile with time of 4:44.58 (ninth) and fifth-year senior Ariel Burr ended her magnificent collegiate career with an eighth place finish in the women's 400 (54.86).
MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS REWINDThe University of New Mexico men's track and field team tied a program record with a second place finish (102 points) at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships, held Feb. 26-28 at Air Force's Cadet Field House. The Lobos were sixth last year and had never finished higher than fifth in nine prior MWC Indoor meets.
The men's team was also second at the 1990 Western Athletic Conference Championships with a record 118 points.
New Mexico moved up a spot from 2008 to finish fifth in the women's standings with 53 points - just eight out of third place.
Jarrin Solomon won the lone event title of the weekend for the Lobos, cruising to the 400m gold, as expected, with a time of 47.17. He was the first UNM runner since 1990 to win a conference title in the men's 400 and improved to 5-0 in head-to-head competition this winter.
Solomon's was one of a program record eight all-MWC medals for the New Mexico men during the meet. Senior Domnick Meadows earned team high point honors (16) with silver medal performances in the long (23-04.75) and triple jump (49-03.00). It was the highest MWC Indoor finish by a Lobo in either event.
Senior Lee Emanuel finished second in the 800m with an altitude-adjusted school record time of 1:50.15, while junior transfer Rory Fraser was the runner-up in the 3,000m with an altitude-adjusted time of 8:21.44. Fellow junior transfer David Bishop ran an altitude-adjusted time of 4:14.87 to finish third in the mile, while Jermaine McQueen was the bronze medalist in the 200 (21.72) - the Lobos' best finish in the event since 2004.
The UNM distance medley relay team of Fraser, sophomore Kyle Henry, Emanuel, and Bishop finished second behind BYU for the fourth time in six years, this time in the closest DMR race in conference history. The foursome clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 10:05.78 - just 0.26 seconds behind the Cougars.
New Mexico earned four women's all-MWC medals for the second straight year, including silvers from senior Ariel Burr and the DMR team.
Burr ran a season-best 54.05 in her final MWC 400m race while the team of redshirt freshman Alex Darling, junior Kim Perkins, senior transfer Andrea Wright, and junior transfer Ashley Gibson notched the Lobos' best finish in the event since 2004 with an altitude-adjusted time of 12:11.98.
Junior Deanna Young broke her own school record in the triple jump with a leap of 43-01.75 to earn an indoor bronze medal for the second straight year. Senior Michelle Corrigan opened the meet with a third place finish in the women's 5,000 (altitude-adjusted 17:46.28). After missing last year's meet with an illness, Corrigan turned in the highest finish ever by a UNM woman in the 5K, giving the Lobos their first points in the event since 2004.