Nearly 700 Set To Compete In Two-Day New Mexico Classic
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/04/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 4, 2010


The University of New Mexico concludes its five-meet homestand this weekend with one of the largest meets ever held at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Nearly 700 athletes, respresenting 28 collegiate teams and several postcollegiate teams will take part in the New Mexico Classic & Combined Events on Friday and Saturday. Friday's action will consist mostly of the women's pentathlon and men's heptathlon competitions, along with non-seeded field events and the 5,000-meter races.

Friday night's combined events competitions begin at 2 p.m. The final event is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Saturday's field and combined events begin at 9 a.m., followed by the first race on the track at 9:30. Admission each day is $5 at the door for adults, $3 for kids ages 4 to 18, and free for UNM students (with a valid Lobo ID) and children age 3 and under.

In just four years of action, the indoor track and field facility at the Albuquerque Convention Center has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the premier venues in the America. This weekend's events will be the fifth of six UNM home meets, including the Mountain West Conference Championships, and 13 total events held this winter at the Duke City's world class indoor facility. The Albuquerque Convention Center will also be the home of the 2010 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships (Feb. 27-28), the NCAA Division II Championships (March 12-13), and five Saturday night high school meets (Jan. 16-Feb. 21).


FULL COLLEGE TEAMS (15 women, 10 men): Abilene Christian (Division II), Adams State (Division II), Air Force, Colorado School of Mines (Division II), Colorado State, Colorado State-Pueblo (women only - Division II), Mesa State (women only - Division II), Missouri Southern (men only - Division II), New Mexico, New Mexico Highlands (women only - Division II), New Mexico State (women only), Sacramento State, San Diego State (women only), San Francisco State (women only - Division II), Utah State, Western State (Division II).


RANKED DIVISION II MEN'S TEAMS (3): No. 4 Abilene Christian, No. 5 Adams State, No. 17 Missouri Southern.

RANKED DIVISION II WOMEN'S TEAMS REPRESENTED (3): No. 5 Adams State, No. 15 Abilene Christian, No. 25 New Mexico Highlands.

MARQUEE EVENTS: While there will be outstanding athletes in virtually every event this weekend, local track and field fans may want to pay close attention to the following competitions:

Women's Pentathlon - Friday, 2:30 p.m.
New Mexico's school record holder and 2008 NCAA pentathlon qualifier, Sandy Fortner, makes her 2010 multi-event debut in front of her home crowd on Friday afternoon. Fortner redshirted all of 2009 after sweeping Mountain West Conference crowns in the pentathlon (indoor) and heptathlon (outdoor) as a junior. She came from behind to defeat the favorite, Colorado State's Emily Pearson, in both victories. The two square off again on Friday as Pearson returns to compete unattached after finishing her collegiate career in 2008.

Men's Heptathlon - Friday, 2 p.m. & Saturday, 9 a.m.
Two-time NCAA decathlon champion Jake Arnold (formerly of Arizona) will look to challenge the Convention Center heptathlon record on Friday and Saturday. Arnold was among the field in 2006 when former Texas great Tray Hardee set a collegiate record with a score of 6,208. Hardee's record, which still stands as the best score in the facility, was broken last weekend by Oregon's Ashton Eaton. New Mexico will have three athletes in the competition: junior Brian Wilson, freshman Richard York, and senior Jeremy Lee.

Men's 60 Meters - Saturday, 10 a.m. (prelims) and 12:25 p.m. (finals)
Highly touted Ohio State transfer Lamaar Thomas makes his Lobo debut in the 60 on Saturday. Thomas was fourth in the 100m (10.65) at the 2009 Big 10 Outdoor Championships and led the Buckeyes 4x100 team to the conference title. He was announced on Feb. 3 as part of UNM football coach Mike Locksley's impressive 18-man signing class, but will be limited to the football practice field until 2011. However, NCAA transfer rules do allow him to compete immediately in track, where he will have three years of eligibility remaning for the Lobos. While all the local eyes will be on Thomas, Colorado All-American Jeremy Dodson will be the favorite to win the event on Saturday after running under 6.70 this winter.

Men's 200 Meters - 1:20 p.m.
Many of the top competitors from the men's 400 are slated to return for the 200m later in the day. Rubin Williams, a 17-time All-American and 2008 NCAA Indoor Champion at Tennessee, will likely be the favorite, but Greg Nixon, Michael Mathieu, Jimmie Gordon and 2009 Division II 400m runner-up Dane Hyatt should make him work which could threaten former LSU star Xavier Carter's 2006 facility record (20.74).

Women's Triple Jump - Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Two-time defending USA Indoor triple jump champion Shakeema Welsch will be the class of the women's triple jump field and should challenge the new facility record of 44-02.50 (Erica Ashley McClain) in what could be a preview of her third straight USA title on Feb. 28 in Albuquerque.

Men's 400m - Saturday, 11:30 a.m.
2008 Olympic gold medalist (4x400) and two-time Big 12 400m champion Reggie Witherspoon returns to Albuquerque four years after helping open the facility with his Baylor Bears team. Witherspoon and Baylor set the facility record in the 4x400 in 2006. His primary competition on Saturday will be former Colorado State All-American Drew Morano, who also enjoyed his last visit to Albuquerque. Morano held off former Lobo standout Jarrin Solomon to win the MWC 400 title in 2007. Solomon, however, did nip Morano on the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay to give the Lobos' the conference gold.

RESULTS: Event-by-event results will be posted on the bulletin boards at the finish line corner of the facility, near the timing table. Complete HTML results will be available on www.GoLobos.com immediately following the meet.


New Mexico seniors Ashley Gibson and Michelle Corrigan, and freshman Ross Millington will all head to South Ben, Ind. for Saturday's Meyo Invitational. All three Lobos will run the mile. Gibson will be looking to lower her own school record of 4:44.58, while Millington aims for the NCAA provisional qualifying standard in his first mile of the year.

Results of Saturday afternoon's race will be available on und.com.