Lobos Going Back To Cali For UC San Diego Triton Invite
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/20/2005
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 20, 2005

The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field teams head back to California this weekend for the UC San Diego Triton Invitational, April 22-23. The meet will mark New Mexico's final competition at sea level before the NCAA Midwest Region Championships. The Lobos return home to host the 15th Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, sponsored by the Modrall Sperling law firm, on April 30 before traveling to For Collins, Colo. for the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships (May 11-14).

The Triton Invitational field will be comprised mostly of Southern California universities, including USC, UCLA, San Diego State, Cal-Poly and the host Tritons of UC San Diego. A large, talented group of unattached athletes is also expected to bolster the field.

New Mexico is competing at the Triton Invitational for the second straight year after a highly successful trip in 2004, which saw the Lobos record season-best times/marks in four events. Only the team's home meet, the Don Kirby Invite, yielded more top performances during the regular season. UNM athletes recorded a pair of NCAA regional qualifying marks and the women's 4x400-meter relay team defeated UCLA to win the final event of the meet.

Complete information and results from the UC San Diego Triton Invitational will be available at the official website of the UC San Diego Athletic Department:

UC San Diego Track & Field Website

The Lobos will host the 15th annual Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, sponsored by the Modrall Sperling law firm, on Saturday, April 30 at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. The meet will provide a sneak peek at the upcoming Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships (May 11-14) with league foes Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming headlining the field of opponents. Athletes from New Mexico State and Western State College will also be competing. The meet opens at 9:30 a.m. with the field events, while the action on the oval starts at 10:30.

Last year, New Mexico dazzled the home crown, recording season-best marks/times in an 12 events, eight more than any other regular season meet. Among the highlights last year were: Amanda Barnes setting school records in the discus and shot put, Hank Baskett winning the high jump, the Lobo men edging Wyoming for the 4x100-meter relay title and Kimilia Davis' victory in the 400.

The University of New Mexico track and field program boasts an elite tradition of excellence that has included 11 national championship event victories, 67 All-America honors, 19 national top-25 team finishes, 195 conference championship event victories and five conference team titles. While many of the architects of the New Mexico's track and field tradition made their mark in the 1960s and `70s, several current Lobos have grown up with a unique appreciation of the program's proud history. Five athletes on the 2005 roster are second generation members of the Lobo track and field program, many of whom can still see their surnames prominently displayed in the UNM record books.

Freshman Kristan Matison is the daughter of one of New Mexico's finest sprinters, Rene Matison, who earned All-America honors in the 100-yard dash and as part of the 440-yard relay in 1966. Matison was also a member of four Western Athletic Conference champion relay teams and played a year of football for the Lobos before being drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. Matison's name is also in the UNM record books as he anchored the record-setting 4x100y relay team and matched the fastest 100-yard time ever recorded at UNM.

Fellow freshman Jarrin Solomon can also find his family name featured throughout the history of New Mexico track and field thanks to the efforts of his father Michael Solomon. The elder Solomon was a two-time All-American and the 600-yard champion at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships. From 1974-77, Solomon claimed four-straight 600 titles, one 440 crown, was a member of the Lobos' three-time WAC champion mile relay team indoors and part of the outdoor record-setting 4x400m relay team. Solomon was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Kurt Henry is another Lobo rookie who has been in surrounded by UNM track and field tradition his entire life. His dad, Matt Henry, is of course the fifth-year head coach at New Mexico, a former All-American for the Lobos and member of four WAC Champion relay teams. Kurt's uncle Mark was also a letterwinner for UNM and is currently the associate head coach, while his grandfather Bub and great-grandfather Gwinn have a legacy of success in UNM athletics that goes back to the 1930s.

Redshirt freshmen Erik Coleman and Veronica K. Gonzales round out the group of second generation UNM track and field athletes. Erik's father, Ed Coleman, was the Lobos' first conference cross country champion, claiming the WAC title in 1963. Veronica's father, Rick Gonzales, meanwhile, was also a member of the UNM track and field team.

So far the cherry and silver genes appear to be paying off for the second generation Lobos. Matison leads the team in both the 100 (6th Mountain West) 200 (13th MWC). She leads all MWC freshmen in the 100 and ran the anchor leg on the Lobos' fourth-ranked 4x100m relay team. Solomon, meanwhile, leads the squad in the 400 (6th MWC) and is also the top freshman in his event. Both rookies won the first races of their careers last week at the Mesa Classic. Henry clocked the team's third-fastest (19th MWC) time last week in his first 400-meter race of the outdoor season and owns the Lobos' top time in the 800. Solomon and Henry also helped both UNM relay teams clock their fastest times of the year last week.

• A freshman or sophomore owns the women's best time in all but two track events. The top ranked women's relay teams have no seniors and just one junior. Seniors Amanda Barnes (shot put/discus), Jamie Fishencord (hammer) and Veronica R. Gonzales (javelin) dominate the throwing events, but rookies Tiyana Peters and Whitney Johnson lead the way in the high jump and pole vault, respectively, while sophomore Stefany Setliff owns the top mark in the long jump.

• Senior Amanda Barnes is the Mountain West Conference's top-ranked shot put competitor and is No. 2 in the NCAA Midwest Region, behind defending regional champion Michelle Carter of Texas. Barnes, the two-time defending outdoor MWC shot put gold medalist, has won four of her five shot put competitions this season and placed fifth in the elite section A at the Texas Relays. Her four wins are already a career high and her average margin of victory over the runner-up has been an amazing five feet, 10 inches.

• Junior Dan Feltman notched the second-highest decathlon score of head coach Matt Henry's five-year tenure last week at the Mt. SAC Relays, scoring a MWC-high 7,278 points. Currently ranked 10th in the nation, Feltman leads the team in the javelin, 100m and owns top-5 marks in eight events, including the discus, shot put, long jump, high jump, 110-meter hurdles and 400 meters.

• Middle distance man Frank Hemingway was recently selected as a 2005 Goldwater Scholar. A junior majoring in Electrical Engineering, Hemingway is one of 320 recipients in the U.S. Goldwater scholars were selected from a field of 1,091 mathematics, science and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide. Awards are made on the basis of merit. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to $7,500 per year. Hemingway has appeared in three meets this spring, notching four top-10 finishes. The Las Cruces native currently owns the team's third-fastest 800 time.

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