April 13, 2007
WALNUT, Calif. - Jarrin Solomon is starting to catch fire. The University of New Mexico junior picked up his second straight win in the 400 meters, cruising to victory in the university/open section with a time of 46.63 this afternoon at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays. The Mountain West Conference leader in the event entering the weekend, Solomon finished 0.57 seconds ahead of the runner-up and clocked his second sub 47-second time of the year.
Rookie Brian Vallie also picked up his second consecutive win in the 800, defeating 19 other runners with a season-best time of 1:51.15. Vallie crossed the line 0.87 seconds ahead of Columbia freshman Mike Mark and shaved 1.39 seconds off his previous best this spring. Freshman teammate Nick Argüelles was ninth overall with a season-best time of 1:53.65.
UNM junior Ariel Burr opened the day with a strong 400 performance of her own, finishing second in the women's university/open section with a time of 54.39. Burr won her heat with ease, but finished 0.19 seconds behind heat 3 winner Sherraine Pencil of San Diego State (54.20).
In other action this afternoon, sophomores Leslie Luna and Sheyenne Lewis finished 16th (18:01.21) and 17th (18:05.07), respectively, in the 5,000. Luna competed for the first time in 2007 after missing the entire indoor season and first month of the outdoor season with several nagging injuries. The Albuquerque Academy product was an all-MWC and all-NCAA Mountain Region honoree during the 2006 cross country season.
Seniors Timmie Murphy and Jeremy Johnson capped the meet with a pair of sensational performances in their first career 10,000 races. Murphy finished fourth in the field of 32 with a strong NCAA provisional qualifying time of 34:17:47. The Farmington native's time was easily the fastest in head coach Matt Henry's tenure and just 10 seconds off the school record in the event.
Johnson, meanwhile, may have assured himself a spot in the 2007 NCAA Championships field with his time of 28:47.76. The former Albuquerque Manzano standout was less than three seconds off the NCAA automatic qualifying time as he finished ninth in a field of 57 runners.