Feb. 27, 2008
2008 MWC Indoor Track & Field Championships Central
Peters Looks For Third Consecutive MWC High Jump Title
UPCOMINGThe New Mexico track and field team will head north to the Air Force Academy this weekend (Feb. 28-March 1) for the Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships. The MWC meet returns to the Cadet Field House after a record-setting two-year stint at the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque. The Indoor Championships will be back to the Duke City in the winter of 2009.
While the team emphasis has traditionally been on the outdoor season, the Lobos have several individuals who could factor into the gold medal race this weekend. Defending indoor/outdoor MWC high jump champion Tiyana Peters, multi-event standout Sandy Fortner, mile record holder Lee Emanuel, distance runners Mat Ashton and Michelle Corrigan, high jumper Josh Cosio and All-American pole vaulter Robert Caldwell are expected to be New Mexico's top medal hopes.
THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT A GLANCEMeet Information/Results: Start lists and complete results from each day of competition will be available at www.themwc.com and www.golobos.com.
Schedule: The meet begins on Thursday with the women's pentathlon (5 events) and first four events of the men's heptathlon. Thursday's events are scheduled to run between 11:00 a.m. and approximately 4:05 p.m. (MST).
Friday's schedule opens at 12 p.m. with the final event of the men's heptathlon. The day will feature finals for the men's and women's weight throw, long jump, 5,000m run and distance medley, the women's pole vault and men's high jump. Prelims for the 60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, 800 and mile will also be held on Friday.
The third and final day of competition gets underway at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Finals for the women's high jump, men's pole vault, men's and women's triple jump and shot put, and all remaining track events (60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, 800, mile, 3,000, 4x400 relay) will be held. The meet is expected to conclude around 4 p.m.
Teams Competing (9): Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State (women only), TCU, UNLV (women only), Utah (women only), Wyoming.
UNM HEAD COACH Joe Franklin's WEEKLY ADDRESS"We're looking to have a good meet. Three is our record is for the most individual titles (at the MWC Indoor Championships), but we're looking to beat it this year. The athletes that we're expecting strong performances from on the men's side are Lee Emanuel, Mat Ashton, Brock Hagerman, Philip Reid, Domnick Meadows, Robert Caldwell, Josh Cosio, Brian Valle and Ryan Steadman. These are the guys that have performed well all season and they are continuing to get better. We look for these guys to score and score big in the conference. On the women's side, it'll be Alesha Walker, Sandy Fortner, Tiyana Peters, and some of the distance runners. We hope to score and score big with these groups."
NEW MEXICO AT THE MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPSAlthough it remains a traditional outdoor-oriented program, New Mexico has become more of an indoor threat each year. The UNM women have scored at least 49 points in four of the past seven seasons after surpassing the 49-point mark just once from 1990-2000. In 2006, the women matched their highest score at the MWC Indoor Championships with 57 points and had a record 6 athletes earn all-MWC medals. Seven of the women's 9 all-time indoor conference event titles have come in past seven years as well, including a program-best 3 victories in 2003 and 2 last year. Former multi-event star Keren Sari-Bentzur was the most decorated Lobo at the MWC Indoor Championships, earning the meet High Point Award (30) with her performance as a senior in 2003.
The Lobo men, meanwhile, have been steadily returning to the high levels of performance they were accustomed to throughout the 1970s and `80s. New Mexico has averaged 61 points in its last six MWC indoor meets, including a score of 67 in 2006 and `07 - the team's highest in 15 years. UNM scored just an average of just 12 points per meet from 1992-2000. The Lobos have also won 4 event titles since 2004 after enduring a 13-year title drought between 1991-2003. Overall, the team has captured 54 conference (WAC and MWC) event titles since 1970.
UNM RESULTS AT THE MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPSMEN
Year.....MWC Finish.....Events Won.....All-MWC Honors
2000.....6th (26 pts.).....---.....2
2001.....5th (29 pts.).....---.....1
2002.....5th (53 pts.).....---.....3
2003.....5th (49 pts.).....---.....3
2004.....5th (66 pts.).....1.....4
2005.....5th (67 pts.).....2.....5
2006.....5th (67 pts.).....---.....4
2007.....6th (62 pts.).....1.....4
Year.....MWC Finish.....Events Won.....All-MWC Honors
2000.....6th (39 pts.).....---.....3
2001.....4th (57 pts.).....1.....4
2002.....7th (51 pts.).....1.....5
2003.....6th (49.5 pts.).....3.....4
2004.....6th (23 pts.).....---.....2
2005.....7th (31 pts.).....---.....3
2006.....5th (57 pts.).....---.....6
2007.....7th (38 pts.).....2.....2
READING THE RANKINGSFour women and five men are ranked among the top five in the MWC event rankings, including four ranked among the top three in the league. The top three finishers in each event earn a place on the all-MWC team and corresponding medals. The following is a list of the UNM athletes that rank among the top-10 in each declared event:
So. Alesha Walker - 9th (7.70)
60 Meter Hurdles
Sandy Fortner - 8th (8.86)
Vanessa Ortiz - 9th (17:51.24)
Whitney Johnson - 8th (12-01.50)
Briana Paxton - 7th (45-00.25)
Sandy Fortner - 2nd (3,691 Points)
Chris Keeling - 10th (7:03)
Philip Reid - 6th (22:00)
Philip Reid - 7th (49.01)
Mat Ashton - 4th (8:13.44)
Joseph Garcia - 10th (14:57.34)
Josh Cosio - T-2nd (6-09.00)
Domnick Meadows - 5th (22-11.75)
Domnick Meadows - 5th (47-11.25)
Matthew Henry-Marshall - 8th (54-02.50)
2007 MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES (Albuquerque, N.M.) New Mexico finished seventh in the MWC women's team standings (38), but just nine points out of fifth place. The men's team was sixth (62), trailing TCU by just seven points. While a lack of depth indoors and slow start on Thursday kept them from a better finish in the team standings, the Lobos ignited the home crowd with a series of thrilling performances (3 titles, 6 all-MWC medals) in the meet's final day on Saturday.
Sophomore Tiyana Peters opened the day with a win in the women's high jump (5' 10"), followed by junior Ariel Burr's victory in the women's 400m (school record 53.73). The all-New Mexico team of Taylor Siemon, Randle McCain, Kurt Henry and Jarrin Solomon capped the meet with the Lobos' first 4x400m relay crown in 20 years.
Peters' conference title ended a three-year indoor drought for the Lobo women. After finishing second last year, she became the second Lobo to win the high jump indoors. Aura Cook was the first to do so, capturing the 1993 Western Athletic Conference crown.
After notching just the fifth-fastest qualifying time Burr earned her first MWC title the hard way, dominating heat one with a time that the four runners in second and fastest heat were unable to beat. When TCU senior Nathandra John, the defending champion, crossed the line in 53.80 to win heat two, Burr's gold medal was secure. Her time was 0.54 seconds under her own UNM indoor record and 0.67 faster than the NCAA provisional qualifying time in the event.
The all-New Mexico men's 4x400 team finished the indoor season on a three-meet winning streak on its home oval with its its first MWC title after earning all-conference honors five times in the past seven years. The gold medal was the first for UNM at the conference meet since the 1987 team won the WAC indoor title at the Air Force Academy.
Jarrin Solomon also finished second in the men's 400m, clocking a school record time of 47.00 to earn all-MWC honors in the event for the first time indoors.
Senior Jeremy Johnson finished second in the men's 3,000 to earn his second silver medal of the meet, finishing with an altitude-adjusted time of 8:09.68 - the fastest in head coach Matt Henry's seven years at UNM. Johnson overcame a painful foot injury that kept him off the track the previous three weeks to claim meet high point honors for the Lobos for the second straight season. He racked up 16 points in the 5,000 and 3,000 on Friday and Saturday.