May 6, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - University of New Mexico senior Jeremy Johnson and Colorado Sate senior Drew Morano have been selected as the Mountain West Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Co-Athletes of the Week, the conference office announced this afternoon. Johnson is the third Lobo to earn the men's award this outdoor season, matching a program record and tying BYU for the most in the MWC this spring.
New Mexico has taken home six Men's Outdoor Athlete of the Week awards over the past two years, equaling its total from its first seven years in the MWC (2000-06). The Lobos' four total awards this year (indoor and outdoor) are a men's program record.
Johnson secured his return to the NCAA Outdoor Championship meet with a sensational performance in the 10,000-meter run late Sunday night at Stanford's elite Payton Jordan Invitational. The Albuquerque Manzano product clocked a career-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 28:33.08 to finish seventh out of 34 runners in his first 10K race of the year. His time was fourth among all collegians at the meet.
An All-American in the event last year, Johnson ran over 14 seconds under his previous best in the 10,000 and was nearly 12 seconds under the NCAA automatic qualifying time. His time was also 27 seconds under the Olympic Trials "B" standard and just 18 second shy of the automatic qualifying time for the Olympic Trials.
Johnson, who moved into eighth place on the NCAA performance list, is the third-fastest 10K runner in MWC history behind BYU All-American Josh Rohatinsky and former Lobo teammate Matt Gonzales. Gonzales and Johnson are the only 10,000 runners in UNM men's history to qualify for the NCAA Championship in back-to-back years.
Johnson earned the weekly award for the second time in his career, joining Gonzales and current teammate Anthony Fairbanks (javelin) as the Lobos' only two-time winners outdoors.
Morano, a native of Paola, Kan., broke his own 400-meter school record Friday at the Arkansas Twilight meet in Fayetteville, Ark., with a regional-qualifying time of 45.65. Morano's time currently ranks first in the league this season, No. 2 ranking in the MWC all-time record book and is eighth nationally.