Oct. 8, 2005
AUBURN, Ala. - Senior Cameron Clarke notched his highest finish in three years, placing seventh overall to lead the University of New Mexico men's cross country team to a strong second place finish in wet conditions at the Auburn Invitational this morning. New Mexico, the 10th ranked team in the Mountain Region, defeated 23 squads in the field, including three that were ranked among the top-five in their respective regions. The Lobo women, meanwhile, had a respectable sixth place finish despite running without senior leader Jacquelyne Gallegos.
Clarke completed the 8,000-meter course at the Indian Pines Golf Course in a season-best time of 24:06.55, his fastest since clocking a 23:51 in a second place finish at the 2002 Stanford Invitational. The two-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree has led the team in all three races this fall, but had gone seven meets without a top-10 finish until today.
Fellow senior Nate Clem had his best race of the year as well, placing 18th with a career-best time of 24:33.23, while junior Juan Ortega followed close behind in 20th place with a career-best time of 24:36.59. Sophomore Joseph Garcia checked in at 33rd with a career-best time of 24:50.54 and junior Steven Martinez capped the UNM scoring with a 45th place finish with a career-best time of 25:05. Junior Brandon Vigil (69th - 25:37.61) and sophomore Chris Bratton (84th - 25:49.94) also turned in career-best 8K times to round out the New Mexico top-7. The Lobos pack spread was a season-low 32 seconds and third sub-minute spread in the team's four meets.
Auburn placed four runners in the top-30 to hold off the Lobos' 99-118 for the meet title, while South Alabama junior Vincent Rono won the race with a time of 23:33.46.
The absence of Gallegos, a two-time MWC Athlete of the Week honoree this fall, was tough to overcome for the UNM women, but junior Timmie Murphy carried the flag with a seventh place finish, her highest since 2003. A redshirt last year, Murphy completed the 5,000-meter course in 17:17.24, less than a minute behind the winner, Chattanooga senior Shannon Wommack. Sophomores Leslie Luna (17:56.69) and Lindsay Barr (18:09.60) finished 28th and 39th, respectively, while senior Janice Tosa was 43rd (18:13.69). True freshman Seny Archuleta was the fifth scoring runner, placing 79th overall with a time of 18:51.00. Junior transfer Roxann James was 95th (19:03.95), while sophomore Melanie Velarde was 107th (19:13.84) to round out the New Mexico top-7.
Samford won the women's team title with a score of 86.
The Lobos return to action in two weeks for the Mountain West Conference Championship meet in Fort Collins, Colo. on Oct. 29.