Johnson, Feltman Combine For 13 Points In MWC Decathlon
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  05/13/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

May 13, 2004

LAS VEGAS - Senior Mark Johnson and sophomore Dan Feltman finished second and fourth, respectively, today in the decathlon to start the University of New Mexico men in second place at the 2004 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Johnson (7,325) and Feltman (7,022) each recorded career-best and NCAA provisional qualifying scores to combine for 13 points in the team standings. True freshman Stefany Setliff, meanwhile, got the Lobo women on the scoreboard as well, moving up a spot to finish her first collegiate heptathlon in eighth place (4,433).

Johnson, the 2002 MWC decathlon champion, moved up a spot on day two, but finished 137 points shy of BYU senior Curtis Pugsley, who captured his first conference title in the grueling 10-event competition. However, Johnson recorded two more career bests, including an inspired run at the gold in the final event of the day, the 1,500-meter run.

After beginning the day in second place behind Pugsley and the defending MWC champion, Devin Scoresby of BYU, Johnson opened with a personal record time of 15.17 in the 110-meter hurdles (2nd). Following a solid effort in the discus (120-06 - 4th), Johnson surged into second place behind Pugsley, after tying the BYU senior for first place in the pole vault. Though the Fontana, Wisc. native closed to within a mere 49 points of the lead, his height of 15-09.00 was nearly eight inches shy of his PR in the event (16-04.75), which he set as he passed the Cougar duo earlier in the season in the Texas Relays decathlon. Pugsley increased his margin in the javelin, outscoring Johnson 669-482 to take a 236-point lead entering the final event. Johnson, however, made one last valiant charge at the title in the 1,500, the 160th event competition of his four-year career. He finished a narrow second with a time of 4:35.40, nine seconds faster than his previous career best, and made up 99 points on Pugsley, who was sixth with a time of 4:51.32.

Despite settling for the silver medal, Johnson earned all-MWC honors for the second time in the decathlon and fifth time overall, including his victory in the indoor heptathlon in March. The senior improved on his NCAA provisional qualifying score by 184 points and established career-bests in six of the ten events over the past two days. Johnson, who this week completed in masters in business administration in just four years, will now wait to see if his qualifying score is good enough to secure his spot in the NCAA Championship field.

Feltman overcame his past misfortune to finish a strong fourth on Thursday.

Feltman, meanwhile, overcame a personal history of bad luck to score in the decathlon for the first time in his promising career. A blue chip decathlete from Deming (N.M.) High School, Feltman had yet to post a complete score in four multi-event competitions. As a true freshman, he was forced to pull out of the MWC indoor pentathlon due to injury, then, at the MWC decathlon in Albuquerque last spring, fell from third place after failing to keep his discus in bounds on three attempts. This year, Feltman was unable to clear a height in the pole vault during the indoor heptathlon and once again scratched on all three discus attempts in three weeks ago in a decathlon competition at BYU.

The sophomore got out of the gates well today, however, finishing fourth in the 110-meter hurdles in a season-best 15.55, then secured a confidence-building fifth place in the discus with a throw of 118-02. Feltman got over the hump in the pole vault as well, placing fourth with a season-best mark of 13-05.25. Though under his career-long, he went on to win the javelin with a throw of 186-03 and turned in a strong time of 4:52.44 in the 1,500 (7th).

On the women's side, Setliff recorded season-bests in each of her final three events to score in her heptathlon debut. The El Paso, Texas native opened the day with a mark of 17-02.75 in the long jump (7th), placed a solid eighth (99-02) in the javelin and clocked a time of 2:30.88 (12th) in the 800. Junior Bridgid Isworth, who was also competing in her first heptathlon for the Lobos, dropped two places to 10th overall (4,298 pts.) despite tying for fourth place in the long jump (17-08.75). Sophomore Suzanne Nguyen, meanwhile, dropped out of the competition after six events.

MEN'S TEAM SCORES (through 1 event)

1. BYU - 20 pts.

2. New Mexico - 13 pts.

3. Air Force - 4 pts.

4. Wyoming - 2 pts.

WOMEN'S TEAM SCORES (through 1 event)

1. BYU - 11 pts.

2. San Diego State - 10 pts.

3. UNLV - 8 pts.

4. Colorado State - 7 pts.

5. Wyoming - 2 pts.

6. New Mexico - 1 pt.