Lobo Sprinters and Jumpers Take Center Stage At Air Force
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/31/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 31, 2008

The New Mexico track and field team travels to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the Air Force Invitational on Friday and Saturday. This will be the first of three scheduled visits to the Air Force Academy this season, including the Mountain West Conference Championships (Feb. 28-March 1).

This weekend New Mexico will face MWC foes Air Force, BYU, Colorado State and Wyoming. With head coach Joe Franklin giving the distance runners a week off to rest, the Lobo sprinters and jumpers will make the trip alone to see where they stand against the stiff competition.


MEN: Adams State, Air Force, BYU, Colorado, Metropolitan State, Mesa State New Mexico, Northern Colorado, UC-Colorado Springs, Utah State, Western State, Wichita State, Wyoming - (13)

WOMEN: Adams State, Air Force, BYU, Fresno State, Colorado, Colorado State, Mesa State, Metropolitan State, New Mexico, Northern Colorado, Western State, UC-Colorado Springs, Utah State, Wichita State, Wyoming - (15)


"This week we are looking to move up in MWC rankings and we are looking to up some lifetime bests. It's important for the all of the pole vaulters to have a good meet this week. We want them to push themselves. Domnick Meadows also needs have a good meet as does Hagit Solomon and Deanna Young. This meet is for them. They haven't really competed fully this year and we look to get big things out of them. Alesha Walker has caught my eye with her performances this year so far. She has improved significantly from last year. We look for her to continue improving this weekend."


After just two full weeks of competition, New Mexico athletes have already posted some of the best marks in the conference. Junior transfer Lee Emanuel leads the MWC in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.15* (Flagstaff, Ariz. - Jan. 19). On the women's side junior high jumper Tiyana Peters cleared a height of 5-07.75 on Jan. 19 in Flagstaff to set the bar for the MWC. Junior pentathlete Sandy Fortner scored 3,691 points at the Penn State National Invitational on Jan. 25 to claim the top spot.

Other performances that deserve a tip of the hat, include redshirt freshman Brock Hagerman's time of 4:12.74* in the mile (Jan. 25 in Flagstaff), which is the third-best in the MWC. Junior high jumper Josh Cosio cleared a height of 6-09.00 at Penn State, giving him the second-best jump of the young season. Sophomores Alesha Walker and Deanna Young, meanwhile, recorded the second-best marks in the long jump (19-02.75) and triple jump (39-06.00), respectively, on Jan. 19 in Flagstaff.


At NAU's Friday Night Invitational

Redshirt freshman transfer Brock Hagerman and sophomore Nick Argüelles finished 1-2 in the mile run as the University of New Mexico's distance runners took center stage Jan. 25 at Northern Arizona's Friday Night Challenge meet.

On the women's side, senior transfer Kara Henry clocked a career best time of 5:10.37 (altitude adjusted) to finish third in the mile in her UNM track debut. The Horizon League steeplechase champion at Butler University last year, Henry was the No. 2 runner for the Lobo cross-country team during the fall.

New Mexico's success wasn't limited to the distance events, however, with a number of strong efforts in the sprints and field events.

Sophomore Matthew Henry-Marshall destroyed his previous best in the weight throw, recording a mark of 54' 2 1/2" (16.52m) to finish fifth in the event. Henry-Marshall, who surpassed the 48-foot mark for the first time last week (48' 3 1/2"), recorded the best throw by a Lobo in over a decade to put himself among the MWC leaders in the event this winter.

Elsewhere in the field, junior Briana Paxton finished fourth in the shot put (42' 11 3/4" - 13.10m) and fifth in the weight throw (47' 3 1/2" - 14.41m), while junior Whitney Johnson and sophomore Aditi Majumdar were third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault.

At Penn State National Invitational

Junior Sandy Fortner placed fifth in her first pentathlon of the year with a score of 3,691 points to lead the University of New Mexico on Jan. 25 at Penn State's National Invitational meet. Fortner's score was just nine points off the NCAA provisional qualifying standard and 18 shy of her career-high.

University of New Mexico junior Josh Cosio cleared an indoor career best 6' 9" (2.06m) to finish ninth in the men's high jump as the Lobos wrapped up their two days of competition at Penn State's National Invitational meet. Earlier in the day, junior teammate Tiyana Peters tied for sixth in the women's high jump with a leap of 5' 5 3⁄4" (1.67m).


New Mexico will not have the luxury of any indoor home meets this year. The Albuquerque Convention Center, home to New Mexico indoor Track and Field, will not host any events this year as the facilities are booked through the spring. The Lobos are slated to return to the Convention Center in the winter of 2009. UNM competed in all but one regular season indoor meet at the downtown Albuquerque venue in 2006 and 2007.


New Mexico will be without the services of a pair of MWC 400 champions this winter as seniors Jarrin Solomon and Ariel Burr will both redshirt the indoor season. Solomon and Burr will return to action during the outdoor season.

The Lobos also hope to get a huge boost during the outdoor season with the return of senior Jeremy Johnson, a two-time All-American. Johnson has petitioned the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver to replace his injury-plagued 2004 outdoor track season while he was at Arizona. Johnson sat out the '04 outdoor season due to a stress fracture in his leg before returning to UNM in 2005.

Junior distance runner Leslie Luna hopes to return in the spring after undergoing surgery on her foot in November. Junior thrower Sarah Swartwood had knee sugery in December. and will redshirt both the indoor and outdoor seasons.