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Lobos To Face Stiff Early Season Challenge In El Paso
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/25/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 25, 2004

UPCOMING

Following a stellar start to the 2004 outdoor season, the University of New Mexico men's and women's track teams return to competition on Saturday, March 27 at the UTEP Springtime Invitational. New Mexico will take on a top-notch field in the scored meet, including Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and UTEP. The action at historic Kidd Field in El Paso gets underway with the field events at 9:30 a.m. (MST). The running events are scheduled to begin at 12:15.

In last year's Springtime Invitational, a dual meet between UNM and UTEP, Amanda Barnes swept the shot put, discus and hammer throw to lead the Lobo women to victory. Saturday's competition is the fourth scored regular season meet of 2004. Excluding championship competition, UNM competed in just two scored meets during the 2003 indoor and outdoor seasons. Team scoring at the Springtime Invitational will follow a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 format.

MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS

Complete information and results from UTEP Springtime Invitational will be available at the official athletic department website of the Mountain West Conference:

UTEP Springtime Invitational results

FROM THE HARDWOOD TO THE HIGH JUMP

Junior Alfred Neale is slated to make his UNM track and field debut this weekend in El Paso when he joins the high jump field. A high-flying 6-5 forward for the Lobo

Jr. Alfred Neale will make his track & field debut on Saturday.


basketball team, Neale was an indoor and outdoor junior college All-American in the high jump as a true freshman (2001) at Barton County Community College. Owning a career-best mark of 7-04.50 in the event, Neale could be an All-America candidate once again this spring if able to maximize his brief training time.

OTHER TWO-SPORT TALENTS

Along with Neale, former Lobo defensive lineman Guillermo Morrison should also return to competition this weekend following a year off from competition. The 6-4, 295-pound Morrison earned all-MWC honors in the discus and also led the team in the shot put in 2002.

The Lobo jump group should get a big boost next month with the scheduled return of juniors Hank Baskett and Mike Powdrell, both wide receivers on the UNM football team. Baskett has been the outdoor MWC runner-up in the high jump the past two years, while Powdrell earned all-conference honors in the high jump and finished fifth in the long jump at the MWC meet in 2002. The duo started spring football practice this week, but should begin training on the track following the April 10 Cherry-Silver spring football game.

FROM HEAD COACH Matt Henry

(on Lobos' competing in their fifth scored meet of the year this weekend): "I wish they had scored the meet last week (at the Willie Williams Classic). I think we would have won it. I thought we performed very well and to have five people qualify for regionals in our first outdoor meet was something else. This meet down in El Paso is going to be tough though. We're going up against some really talented teams, but I think our kids are looking forward to challenge."

LAST TIME (at Willie Williams Classic)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Junior Jamie Fishencord shattered her own school record in hammer throw to lead a strong University of New Mexico effort over the weekend (March 20-21) in the Lobos' first meet of the 2004 outdoor season, the Willie Williams Classic. Fishencord won the hammer with a throw of 174-10, which was nearly 20 feet beyond her previous best set last spring. Fellow junior Amanda Barnes also started the season strong, capturing the shot put crown with a mark of 48-02.75. Fishencord and Barnes were two of five New Mexico throwers to record qualifying marks for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships over the two days of competition.

UNM freshman Kayla Brown had an outstanding collegiate debut, finishing second in the javelin with a toss of 142-05, just four inches ahead of teammate Veronica R. Gonzales, who was third. The marks for both women were career bests and secured their place in the Midwest Regional field at the end of the season. Barnes and Fishencord, meanwhile, also enjoyed career days in the discus, recording marks of 146-04 (6th) and 142-03 (8th), respectively.

Senior Jason Barkemeyer started his final campaign well, finishing fourth in the shot put with a regional qualifying mark of 54-05.50. Barkemeyer also placed fourth in the discus with a solid throw of 166-11. In other throwing events, redshirt junior Joshua Parra was fifth in the hammer (158-11), while sophomore decathlete Dan Feltman led a 2-3-5 finish by the javelin crew with a toss of 189-09.

New Mexico's pole vaulters also excelled over the weekend, placing three in the men's top-5. Junior Derek Mackel each cleared career bests, tying for third with a height of 16-02.75. Senior Mark Johnson, meanwhile, was fifth with a mark of 15-09.00. Junior Willie Yuen got his outdoor season off to a good start as well, finishing fifth in the triple jump with a career best leap of 46-00.75.

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"I wish they had scored the meet last week (at the Willie Williams Classic). I think we would have won it. I thought we performed very well and to have five people qualify for regionals in our first outdoor meet was something else. We're going up against some really talented teams (on Saturday in El Paso), but I think our kids are looking forward to challenge."
Head coach Matt Henry
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Sophomore Kimilia Davis paced the Lobos on the track, clocking a time of 56.85 in the 400 meters to earn her first career outdoor victory. Davis, who was also ninth in the 200, finished just over two seconds ahead of teammate Brandilyn Williams (58.59), who was fourth overall.

Junior Jacquelyne Gallegos finished just off her career-best in the 1,5000 in what was just her second outdoor race in the last two years. After missing virtually all of 2003 due to injuries suffered in a car accident, Gallegos was the top collegiate finisher, crossing the line with a time of 4:36.68. Senior Sarah Gonzales and freshman Riann Lucy turned in solid performances as well, finishing fourth in the 5,000 (18:10.73) and 800 (2:18.32), respectively.

On the men's side, junior Cameron Clarke led a 2-3-4 finish by the Lobos in the 1,500 meters, clocking a time of 3:55.37, just ahead of teammates Sean Flaherty and Nick Martinez. Senior Matt Bishop looked sharp in the 800, placing third with a time of 1:53.30. Senior Chris Garofola, meanwhile, turned in a career-best in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing second in the event with a time of 53.76.

JOHNSON STRIKES GOLD

Senior Mark Johnson ended a 13-year drought by becoming the first member of the UNM men's team since 1991 to capture an indoor conference title with his stirring victory in the inaugural heptathlon competition at the Mountain West Conference Championships. Johnson, who entered day two of the competition in seventh place, won two of his final three events to earn his second career conference title.

The 2002 MWC decathlon champion won the 60m hurdles, then soared a career-best 16-00.75, over a foot higher than his nearest competitor, to take the pole vault. Holding a slim 78-point lead entering the final event of the day, the 1,000-meter run, Johnson did not falter, finishing second to tally an NCAA provisional qualifying score of 5,263. A two-time all-MWC honoree in the indoor pentathlon (replaced by the men's heptathlon in 2004), Johnson is also the first UNM man to win an indoor multi-event title.

2004 INDOOR SEASON NOTES

The New Mexico men's team recorded its best indoor conference meet score in 14 years...the Lobos finished fifth for the fourth straight year, but their 66 points were the most since tallying 118 in a second place finish at the 1990 WAC Championships...Amanda Barnes (shot put), Matt Gonzales (mile), Chris Garofola (200m), Mark Johnson (heptathlon), and the men's and women's distance medley relay teams earned all-MWC honors for New Mexico...the UNM men and women combined for 15 event victories over the winter, one more than their total of a year ago...four women and four men earned the first wins of their indoor career this season...head coach Matt Henry decided to redshirt senior sprinter Ahmed Raji for the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons...Raji, an all-MWC honoree in the 200m and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, will return in 2005 for his final collegiate season.

GONZALES STANDS TALL AMONG NATION'S BEST

INDIANAPOLIS -- University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales finished 13th out of a field of 112 runners in the 4,000-meter race at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships on Feb. 7. Gonzales clocked a time of 11:42, just 20 seconds shy of earning a spot on the national team, in his first Cross Country Championships appearance. The top six finishers in the men's 4K and the 12,000-meter race were automatically selected for the USA national team.

Gonzales' time was also just 28 seconds behind the winner, Charlie Gruber, who was running for Nike Unattached. The Santa Fe native also finished 12 spots ahead of former Colorado State standout Bryan Berryhill, a former NCAA Champion and USA runner-up in the 1,500 last year.

"I really thought he could make that team," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He told me that he got off to a slow start and that it took him awhile to get used to the snow on the course, but he said that he passed at least 10 people on the final loop."

The 4,000-meter race is half the distance of most regular season collegiate cross country courses. The men move up to run a 10,000-meter race at NCAA regional and national championship competitions.

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