Lobos Treat Home Crowd To 10 Event Victories At Don Kirby Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/29/2006
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 29, 2006

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The University of New Mexico track and field team didn't disappoint in its lone home meet of the spring, winning 10 events in the 16th Don Kirby Memorial Invitational on a perfect afternoon at the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium. An enthusiastic crowd was on hand to watch the homegrown Lobos take on 11 teams, including Mountain West Conference rivals Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming, and Division II power Adams State College.

Sophomore Whitney Johnson turned in the highlight of the meet for the Lobos, flying 13' 1/4" to set the UNM women's pole vault record after several near misses. Johnson improved her regional qualifying status as she became the first UNM woman to clear 13 feet outdoors. Junior teammate Stefany Setliff, a first-year vaulter, finished second with a season-best mark of 11' 9 3/4."

New Mexico opened the day with a freshman sweep of the javelin. Former Albuquerque Highland standout Anthony Fairbanks dominated the field with a season-best throw of 213' 9", while Ruidoso, N.M. product Katie Coronado turned in a season-best mark of 149' 6" to win the women's event by more than 12 feet. Both athletes increased their previous NCAA regional qualifying marks in the event.

The Lobos also earned a 1-2 finish in the first track event of the day, the women's 5,000-meter run. Redshirt freshman Leslie Luna improved to 2-0 on the season with a wire-to-wire victory, missing the regional qualifying standard by a mere two hundredths of a second with a season-best time of 16:52.02 (altitude adjusted). Senior teammate Jacquelyne Gallegos ran the fastest 5K of her career in her final appearance in Albuquerque, crossing the line with an altitude-adjusted time of 16:57.95. Gallegos held off Colorado State's April Thomas by a tenth of the second to secure second place.

UNM kept rolling in the 4x100-meter relay as the women's all sophomore foursome of Kirstan Matison, Ariel Burr, Tabatha Shaw and Shakira Williams clocked a season-best time of 45.97 (46.09 altitude-adjusted) to beat the runner-up New Mexico State by 0.59 seconds. The men's team of Phillip Merritt, Taylor Siemon, Jarrin Solomon and Aaron Brack, meanwhile, got the stick around in 41.15 seconds (41.27 altitude-adjusted), 0.52 seconds ahead of the second place Colorado State.

New Mexico's sophomore duo of Burr and Solomon dominated the 400-meter race, both earning their second straight victory in the quarter mile. Burr, who also won the event at the 2005 Don Kirby Invite, cruised to a 1.28-second victory over the runner-up, Katrina Powell of New Mexico State, crossing in 54.10 (altitude adjusted 54.21). Solomon then came from behind over the final 200 meters to notch a 0.88-second victory over the field with a time of 47.17 (altitude adjusted 47.28).

Matison kept the momentum going, winning the women's 100-meter dash at home for the second straight year with a time of 12.02 (altitude adjusted 12.05), while sophomore Domnick Meadows picked up his first victory outdoors, winning the long jump with a strong leap of 23' 2".

There were plenty of other Lobo highlights on the day, including:

-Junior Mark Lamb finishing second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.97 (altitude adjusted 15.01).

-Freshman Taylor Siemon and junior Randle McCain finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the 400, both clocking season-best times...Siemon crossed in 48.27 (48.38 adjusted), followed by McCain in 48.80 (48.91 adjusted).

-Junior KC Pritchard (58.58 adjusted) and sophomore Janelle Hartog (58.68 adjusted) placing 4-5 in the women's 400.

-Freshman Phillip Merritt finishing second in both the 100 (10.99 altitude adjusted) and 200 (22.10 altitude adjusted).

-Sophomore Kristan Matison placing second in the women's 200 (24.76 altitude adjusted).

-The Lobo 4x400m relay teams both finishing second, including a season-best time of 3:12.98 (altitude adjusted) by the men's foursome of McCain, Solmon, Kurt Henry and Siemon.

-Senior Jamie Fishencord finishing fourth in the hammer with a season-best throw of 184' in her final home meet.

-Rookie Sandy Fortner recording a season-best mark of 19' 2 3/4", the best by a Lobo since current coach Keren Bentzur in 2003, to place third in the long jump.

-Senior Derek Mackel and junior Robert Caldwell finishing 2-3 in the pole vault with marks of 16' 10 3/4" and 16' 6 3/4", respectively.

-Sophomore Tiyana Peters placing second in the women's high jump with a leap of 5' 7".