March 5, 2010
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - University of New Mexico senior Chris Barnicle clocked a career best time of 13:47.16 to capture the men's 5,000 meters and secure his place in the NCAA Indoor Championship field tonight at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitational last chance meet. Barnicle defeated the runner-up, Alabama All-American Tyson David, by over seven seconds en route to his first collegiate victory and the second-fastest indoor 5K time in UNM history.
The Newton, Mass. Product missed Matt Gonzales' 2004 school record by 1.44 seconds as he joined senior teammate Rory Fraser in the NCAA field. Barnicle also qualified for the NCAA Indoor meet in 2008, finishing 15th as a junior at Arkansas. He earned All-America honors in the 10,000m in his debut season at New Mexico last spring.
Barnicle made his season debut just one week earlier at the Mountain West Conference Championships in Albuquerque, finishing fifth in the 5K.
Barnicle's Postrace Interview (Flotrack.org)
The Lobos currently have four individuals assured places in the NCAA Indoor meet, including defending mile champion Lee Emanuel, which matches their program record set last year and in 1978.
Fellow Lobo senior Jacob Kirwa turned in a strong performance as well tonight, but may still find himself on the outside looking in when the NCAA bids are announced next week. Kirwa finished sixth with a time of 13:59.11 - over three seconds off his altitude adjusted season best time he recorded last week in Albuquerque.
Kirwa entered the week ranked 19th in the 5,000, but will need several higher ranked athletes to scratch out of the race in order to advance to nationals.
The men's distance medley relay team of senior David Bishop (1,200m), sophomore Thomas Trujillo (400m), freshman Raffi Cote (800m), and redshirt freshman Ross Millington (mile) rounded out the evening with a 14th place finish (9:46.21) in their first race together.
The indoor season likely came to an end for the Lobos' last chance milers. Senior Ashley Gibson finished a strong fifth, but was unable to improve her school record time, crossing the line in 4:45.41. Later in the men's race, senior David Bishop finished in 4:06.39 (16th) and redshirt freshman Ross Millington crossed the line in 4:09.04 (23rd), both shy of an NCAA qualifying time.