May 21, 2007
UPCOMINGAfter months of intense training and competition, eight University of New Mexico men and women have advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships this weekend, May 25-26, in Des Moines, Iowa. An athlete earns an automatic trip to the NCAA Championships, next month in Sacramento, with a top-5 finish in their event, while a top-8 effort makes them eligible for an at-large bid. Arguably the toughest of the four national groupings, the Midwest Region consists of all 39 Division I schools from New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota.
THE NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AT A GLANCEMeet Information/Results: Complete meet information and live event-by-event meet results will be available at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.
Schedule: The meet takes place on Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26 at Drake (University) Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The UNM contingent competes at the following times (Mountain Standard):
Friday, May 25
12 p.m. - So. Katie Coronado (javelin)
1:15 p.m. - Jr. Tiyana Peters (high jump)
3:30 p.m. - Jr. Jarrin Solomon (400m prelims)
3:50 p.m. - Jr. Ariel Burr (400m prelims)
6:10 p.m. - Sr. Jeremy Johnson (5,000m)
6:50 p.m. - Sr. Timmie Murphy (5,000m)
Regional Veterans: Four of New Mexico's eight qualifiers have prior experience at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships. 400-meter runners Ariel Burr and Jarrin Solomon are both competing at the regional meet for the third time, while javelin throwers Katie Coronado and Anthony Fairbanks have one regional meet under their belt. High jumper Tiyana Peters, javelin thrower Dan Feltman and 5,000 runners Jeremy Johnson and Timmie Murphy are first-time qualifiers. Feltman, however, participated in the decathlon at the 2005 NCAA Championship meet.
First Trip To Iowa: None of the UNM athletes or coaches have meet experience in the state of Iowa.
Small, But Powerful...And Smart!: New Mexico's eight regional qualifiers this year is its smallest number since the regional qualifying format began in 2003. However, the group could be one of the best to represent UNM at the Midwest Championships with seven athletes ranked among the top-15 in their respective events. Katie Coronado (5th), Jeremy Johnson (6th) and Anthony Fairbanks (7th) are all ranked among the top-8. A top-8 finish makes an athlete eligible for an NCAA Championship berth.
The Lobos' regional qualifiers are also standouts in the classroom with five athletes earning Academic all-MWC honors during their careers. Johnson, Ariel Burr, Jarrin Solomon and Tiyana Peters are all two-time academic honorees and also 2007 Academic All-America nominees.
Qualifying For Nationals: Athletes need to finish in the top-5 in the finals of their respective events in order to receive an automatic berth in the NCAA Championship field (June 7-10, Sacramento). Athletes who finish sixth, seventh or eighth are eligible for an at-large invitation to the national meet. The at-large candidates are placed into a national pool, ranked according to their top performance of the season and added to the meet at the discrepancy of the NCAA Championship Committee.
Des Moines Weather Forecast: Rain and humidity could be a factor at the regional championships. The highs will range from the high 60s to the low 70s on Friday and Saturday, with the humidity percentage in the high 50s both days. There is a 30 percent chance of rain on Friday and a 60 percent chance with scattered thunderstorms on Saturday. There will also be a bit of a breeze both days with wind speeds reaching 12 miles per hour.
NEW MEXICO AT THE MIDWEST REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPSThe 2007 season marks the fifth year of the regional qualifying format for the NCAA Championships. New Mexico has qualified 49 individuals and two relay teams to the Midwest Regional Championships since 2003.
Senior Derek Mackel led the UNM men to a program-best 16th place finish with a two-day total of 15 points at the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Austin, Texas. Mackel won the pole vault with a career-best and Midwest record setting mark of 18-01.00. Junior teammate Robert Caldwell finished sixth with a outdoor best clearance of 17-05.00 and later earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships. Freshman Anthony Fairbanks placed seventh in the javelin (206-03) to cap the men's scoring, while fellow rookie Katie Coronado got the women on the scoreboard with a seventh place finish in the javelin (159-07). Fairbanks and Coronado were the first freshmen to score for the Lobos at the regional championship meet.
UNM turned in a strong performance at the 2005 regionals in Norman, Okla. as Amanda Barnes and Matt Keeran both advanced on to the NCAA Championship meet. Barnes finished fifth in the shot put, while Keeran used a seventh place finish in the javelin to eventually earn an at-large invitation to the national meet. Both athletes recorded their top mark on their final throw of the meet.
In 2004, 12 individuals surpassed the regional qualifying standard during the season with five women and five men eventually joining the field in College Station, Texas. Bridgid Isworth just missed a trip to the national meet in the women's pole vault, coming up short in the fifth place tie-breaking jump-off. Isworth's effort netted the New Mexico women 3.5 points, which was good for 29th in the standings.
UNM had a program-best 14 individuals and two relay teams qualify during the 2003 regular season for the inaugural Midwest Regional Championships in Lincoln, Neb. Three women, seven men and both men's relay teams competed in the meet. Matt Gonzales shocked the 1,500-meter field, winning the event to help the Lobo men tie for 21st place.
UNM MIDWEST REGIONAL FINALISTS
So. Matt Gonzales, 1st, 1,500m (3:42.83)
Jr. Bridgid Isworth, T5th (lost jump-off), Pole Vault (12-10.00)
Bold indicates athlete qualified for the NCAA Championships
AMERICA'S TOUGHEST REGIONThe Midwest Region has a well-deserved reputation as the strongest of the four national groupings for Division I track and field. Here's where the region ranks in each event the Lobos will be competing in this weekend:
Men's 400m - 1st (10 top-25 competitors)
Women's High Jump - T1st (10 top-25 competitors)
Women's Javelin - 1st (8 top-25 competitors)
Men's 5,000m - 1st (7 top-25 competitors)
Women's 5,000m - T1st (7 top-25 competitors)
Women's 400m - T2nd (6 top-25 competitors)
Men's Javelin - 3rd (7 top-30 competitors)
NEW MEXICO'S REGIONAL QUALIFIERSWOMEN
Ariel Burr 5-4 Jr-2L Carrizozo, N.M. 400 meters
UNM indoor and outdoor record holder in the 400 and a five-time all-Mountain West Conference honoree in the event...MWC indoor champion in 2007...outdoor runner-up in 2005 and `06...is attempting to become the first Lobo woman ever to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the 400...enters the meet as a career-high No. 7 seed after clocking a season-best time of 53.17 (3rd place) at the MWC Championships in San Diego...has faced 5 women in the Midwest 400 field head-to-head during the outdoor season, posting a 2-3 win/loss record...defeated 13th-seeded Sharon Larrier of Wyoming (May 12 - MWC Championships) and No. 12 seed Sandy Wooten of Texas A&M (March 24 - USC Trojan Invitational)...lost to No. 2 Deborah Jones and No. 4 Nathandra John, both of TCU, at the MWC Championships, and third-seeded Clora Williams of Texas A&M at USC (March 24)...also qualified for regionals in the 200 with a career-best time of 23.73 (altitude-adjusted) on April 28 in Albuquerque, but will focus exclusively on the 400 this weekend...owns a career-best time of 53.04 (altitude adjusted), in the event, recorded in the `06 MWC finals in Provo, Utah...has run under the regional qualifying standard 6 times this spring...is making her third Midwest Championship appearance and has been seeded among the top-15 each time, but has not finished higher than 20th in her two previous trips...clocked a time of 55.47 (20th) as a freshman and 55.35 (21st) as a sophomore...one of 14 graduates in the class of `04 at tiny Carrizozo HS (town population 1,043) in southeast New Mexico...dominated the 1A competition throughout her career, capturing 14 individual gold medals and an additional four relay titles in state track meet appearances...two-time Academic all-MWC honoree...400-meter prelims - Fri., 3:50 p.m./finals - Sat., 3:20 p.m.
Katie Coronado 5-11 So-1L Ruidoso, N.M. Javelin
2007 MWC javelin champion and a two-time all-conference honoree...conference runner-up in `06 behind two-time national champion Dana Pounds of Air Force...owns the UNM record and ranks third on the MWC all-time list with a throw of 169' 10" (51.77m) on April 14 at UTEP...mark is ranked 10th in the nation, but only 5th in the country's best women's javelin region...currently ranked 11th in the event by Trackwire.com, but has been listed as high as eighth in the Trackwire power rankings...has a 7-3 head-to-head record this spring against the women in the Midwest javelin field...defeated conference rivals Casey Bayne (Air Force), Katie Weber (Air Force) and Emily Pearson (Colorado State) at the MWC Championships (May 11) and downed all 4 Texas A&M competitors (Michelle Inocencio, Jessica Wingfield, Hillary Pustka and Hali Henderson) at USC (March 24)...has lost to top-ranked Erma Jean Evans of UTEP twice this year at the Texas Relays (April 7) and UTEP Invitational (April 14), and was also defeated by the No. 4 seed, SMU's Andrea Kvetova, at the Texas Relays...was one of the last athletes left out of the NCAA women's javelin field last year after finishing seventh (159' 7") - 4 spots above her seed - at the `06 regional meet...a victim of the powerful Midwest competition, three automatic qualifying athletes from other regions were selected for the NCAA Championships in front of her despite posting lower season marks...looking to become the first Lobo since 1997 to qualify for nationals in the event...has surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying mark in all 7 competitions this year and thrown over 160 feet in her last 4 meets...4 wins and 6 top-3 finishes this spring, including a 3rd place effort in section A at the Texas Relays...Academic all-MWC honoree...Javelin - Fri., 2 p.m.
Timmie Murphy 5-6 Sr-3L Farmington, N.M. 5,000m
Fifth-year senior who has emerged as one of the best distance runners in the region over the past two years...making her regional championships debut on the track after redshirting the 2006 outdoor season...seeded sixth in the region with her career-best time of 16:28.03, recorded on March 31 at Stanford...has only faced two Midwest Region competitors head-to-head this spring, defeating Iowa's Racheal Marchand at Stanford and falling to Colorado State's Nicole Feest on May 12 at the MWC Championships in San Diego...did not compete this winter after completing her indoor career in `06 and has raced just 4 times this spring, including two 5K runs...clocked a time of 16:47.60 at the MWC Championships, earning all-conference honors for the first time outdoors with her third place finish...two-time first team all-MWC and all-NCAA Mountain Region honoree in cross country, and a NCAA Championships qualifier this past fall...5,000m - Fri., 6:50 p.m.
Tiyana Peters 5-8 Jr-2L Flanders, N.J. High Jump
2007 MWC indoor and outdoor high jump champion and a 3-time all-conference honoree in the event...just the second UNM woman to sweep the event indoors and outdoors in the same season...shares the 12th-best mark (5' 10" - 1.78m) in the Midwest in her first regional championships appearance...has posted a 9-3 head-to-head record against her Midwest competitors this spring...downed Kansas State's Marianne Schlachter and Cassie Styers at UTEP (April 14), and Katherine Johnson (Oklahoma), Kim Shubert (Nebraska), Stacey Bennet (UT-Arlington), Valerie Hancock (Texas State), Ryan Hill (North Texas), Meghan Denman (Stephen F. Austin) and Audry Azu (Stephen F. Austin) at the Texas Relays (April 6)...defeated by Lacy Wilson (Texas Tech) and Kaylene Wagner (Kansas State) at UTEP, and Caroline Wolf (Texas A&M) at USC (March 24)...cleared the 5' 10" bar on April 21 at UC San Diego to match her lifetime best...also jumped 5' 10" to win the MWC indoor title in Albuquerque...very consistent this spring, clearing the regional qualifying standard of 5' 8 3/4" in all 7 meets...5 top-3 finishes and 3 wins on the season...two-time Academic all-MWC honoree...High Jump - Fri., 1:15 p.m.
Anthony Fairbanks 6-0 So-1L Albuquerque, N.M. Javelin
Returning Midwest Regional finalist who placed seventh as a true freshman in 2006...joined fellow javelin thrower Katie Coronado as the first UNM rookies to score at the regional championships...finished two spots above his seed with a throw of 206' 3"...enters the `07 Midwest Championships as the No. 7 seed with a career-best mark of 217' 10" (66.39m) in the season-opener (March 17) at Arizona State...has faced 11 of his 22 Midwest opponents head-to-head this year, compiling a 7-6 win/loss record...defeated No. 4 Kyle Becker (Wichita State), No. 9 John Goldsmith (Wichita State), No. 10 Heath Smith (North Texas) and No. 16 Mike Cast (Texas Tech) at the Texas Relays (April 6)...downed No. 21 Trey Peroyea (Texas A&M) at USC (March 24) and has defeated 22nd-seeded teammate Dan Feltman twice...lost to No. 3 Chad Brown (Texas A&M) at USC and No. 5 Hugh Murphy (Kansas) and No. 15 Wade Wittington (Stephen F. Austin) at the Texas Relays...defeated by top-ranked Alex vanderMerwe (UTEP) at UTEP (April 14) and No. 17 Joe Brown (TCU) and Feltman at the MWC Championships in San Diego (May 12)...looking to rebound from a disappointing MWC performance...entered the meet as the gold medal favorite, but finished sixth with a mark of 194' 2" - his first mark under 200 feet since his collegiate debut last year...had surpassed the regional qualifying standard in 7 straight meets entering the MWC Championships...has thrown over 210' 4 times in his career - most recently at UC San Diego on April 21...Javelin - Sat., 12 p.m.
Dan Feltman 6-4 Sr-3L Deming, N.M. Javelin
Former decathlon standout who is making is regional championships debut in his fifth and final season at UNM...won the MWC decathlon title and advanced to the NCAA Championships (16th) in 2005, but injuries forced him to abandon decathlon competition this spring...pulled his groin midway through the first heptathlon event (60 meters) at the `07 MWC Indoor Championships, just days after receiving a medical hardship waiver allowing him to compete...made his outdoor debut in the javelin nearly two months later on April 14 at UTEP, but aggravated the injury again the following week at UC San Diego...refused to end his career quietly, however, responding with a clutch second place performance at the MWC Championships in San Diego (May 11)...earned all-conference honors for the first time in the javelin with a career-best throw of 202' 9" (61.80m) - his first time over the 200-foot mark...enters the Midwest Championships as the No. 22 seed in what will be the 164th event competition of his career...Javelin - Sat., 12 p.m.
Jeremy Johnson 5-8 Sr-1L Albuquerque, N.M. 5,000m
Fifth-year senior who has emerged as one of the top distance talents in the nation this spring...will make his regional championship debut this weekend, but has virtually secured his place at the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 (28:47.76), where he is ranked 13th nationally...also checked in at No. 12 in the most recent Trackwire.com 10K power rankings...seeded 5th in the 5,000 with a career-best time of 13:50.85, recorded at Stanford on March 31...has faced 4 regional rivals head-to-head in the 5K this spring...defeated sixth-seeded Ryan Vail (Oklahoma State) at Stanford and No. 15 seed Sean Houseworth (Air Force) at the MWC Championships in San Diego (May 12)...lost to third-seeded Shadrack Songok (Texas A&M-CC) and No. 4 seed Micah VanDenend (Iowa) in the 5,000 at Stanford...also finished behind Songok in the 10K at the Mt. SAC Relays (April 6)...timed in 14:13.16 in his other 5K race of the season at the MWC Championships...has earned indoor/outdoor all-conference honors 5 times in the past two years, including four medals in `07...MWC indoor/outdoor runner-up in the 5,000 behind BYU's national cross country champion Josh Rohatinsky...also the indoor runner-up in the 3K and a bronze medalist at the `07 MWC Outdoor Championships in the 1,500 (career-best 3:50.94)...was the Lobos' high point man at both MWC meets this year...first team all-conference selection and recorded the fastest 8K time in UNM history this past cross country season...has been outstanding in his second tour of duty at New Mexico...returned to UNM in `05 after transferring to Arizona for 1 1/2 years...sat out the `05 track and cross country seasons due to NCAA transfer rules...returned to competition during the `06 track seasons...originally signed with New Mexico out of high school and was one of the team's top cross country runners as a 17-year-old freshman in `02...redshirted the `03 track seasons before moving on to Tucson, where he competed in cross country and track during the `03-04 seasons...two-time Academic all-MWC honoree...5,000m - Fri., 6:10 p.m.
Jarrin Solomon 5-9 Jr-2L Albuquerque, N.M. 400 meters
2007 MWC 400-meter champion and a 4-time all-conference honoree in the event who is making his third straight regional championship appearance...enters the weekend on a 4-meet winning streak and boasting a career-best No. 9 seed in the 400...last head-to-head loss was on March 24 at USC (4th)...went 2-2 this year in a pair of 400 races against 4 Midwest Region rivals...defeated No. 6 Drew Morano (Colorado State) and No. 16 Dell Guy (TCU) in the MWC finals in San Diego (May 12)...lost to No. 5 Justin Oliver and No. 8 AC Robinson, both of Texas A&M, in his first 400 of the spring at USC (March 24)...recorded a personal record time of 46.42 on March 31 at Arizona...time ranks fifth on the MWC all-time list and is the fastest time in the conference before the month of May...also ran under 47 seconds at the Mt. SAC Relays (46.63) on April 13 and MWC Championships (46.50)...has struggled a bit at the regional meet, however, finishing 18th last year (47.76) and 17th as a freshman (47.85)...UNM hasn't qualified a 400-meter runner to the NCAA Championships since 1991...set the UNM indoor record (47.00) in a second place finish behind Morano at the `07 MWC Championships in Albuquerque...later defeated Morano and the Rams on the anchor leg to lead the UNM 4x400 relay team to its first conference title in 20 years...trained with the Trinidad and Tobago national team over the summer and was an alternate at the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games in Cartagena, Columbia...has become a real student of the sport, studying his opponents and working to perfect his technique and training...was a standout soccer player in high school and did not start training full time in track until his first year of college (2004-05)...strong in the classroom as well, earning a pair of Academic all-MWC awards...father, Mike Solomon, was one of the finest middle distance runners in UNM history, earning two All-America awards and winning the 600-yard title at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships...Mike was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics for his native Trinidad and Tobago...400-meter prelims - Fri., 3:30 p.m./finals - Sat., 3:15 p.m.
BEST OF THE MOUNTAIN WESTThe New Mexico men earned a record three Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week awards this season, while the women were honored once for a combined program record of four awards in 2007. The Lobos had two Outdoor Athlete of the Week winners the previous two years combined.
Sophomore Anthony Fairbanks earned his first career award on March 21 - the first for a Lobo outdoors since 2005. Fairbanks finished second in the javelin at the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. with a career-best and NCAA regional qualifying throw of 217' 10" (66.39m), surpassing his previous personal best distance in the event by over four feet.
Junior Jarrin Solomon later earned his first Athlete of the Week award on April 3 for his performance at the Arizona International meet in Tucson, Ariz. Solomon ran an NCAA regional qualifying time of 46.42 - the fastest by a Lobo since 1991 and fifth-best in MWC history. To win the 400-meter race. He finished 0.13 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Arizona State All-American Domenik Peterson, as he shaved 0.39 seconds off of his previous career-best. Solomon is the only athlete among the league's top-5 in the men's 400 to record his time before the month of May.
Solomon was also a part of the second-place UNM 4x400 relay team that clocked a season-best time of 3:10.72 in Tucson. The time was New Mexico's fastest in the event since 2003 and just 0.72 seconds off the regional qualifying standard.
Senior Jeremy Johnson earned his first award on April 17 after recording the third-fastest time in MWC history in his first career 10,000-meter race at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif. He crossed the finish line in a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 28:47.76, which was less than three seconds off the NCAA automatic qualifying mark. Johnson finished ninth overall and third among collegians in a field of 57 runners.
Sophomore Katie Coronado became the first UNM woman since `05 to win the weekly award after she broke an 11-year-old UNM javelin record with a throw of 169'-10.00" (51.77) in a second-place finish at the UTEP Invitational in El Paso, Texas. Coronado surpassed the previous Lobo school record by over four feet and moved up to third on the all-time MWC list for the event.
THESE ARE NEW MEXICO'S LOBOSOver the past six years UNM head coach Matt Henry has worked to rebuild the track and field program primarily using in-state and in-city athletes. Few D-I athletics programs in the state of New Mexico can match Lobo track and field when it comes to being a truly New Mexican product.Zia pride is what fuels the program, coaches and athletes alike.
The 2007 roster features 71 in-state products, including 38 from the Duke City. Thirty-one men and women are former New Mexico high school track & field champions. More and more, the elite athletes in the state are choosing to stay home at New Mexico, even declining offers from big name out-of-state schools with greater financial resources.
The New Mexico connection is just as strong with the coaching staff as Matt Henry (Albuquerque), Mark Henry (Albuquerque), Scott Steffan (Aztec, N.M.) and Keren Bentzur (Israel), as well as volunteer coaches Mark Johnson (Fontana, Wisc.), Matt Kraft (Albuquerque) and Derek Mackel (Albuquerque) all competed at and graduated from the University of New Mexico.
LOBO LEGACYThe University of New Mexico track and field program boasts an elite tradition of excellence that has included 11 national championship event victories, 70 All-America honors, 19 national top-25 team finishes, 205 conference championship event victories and five conference titles. Several current Lobos have grown up with a unique appreciation of the program's proud history. Six athletes on the 2007 roster are second generation members of the Lobo track and field program, many of whom can still see their surnames prominently displayed in the UNM record books.
Junior Kristan Matison is the daughter of one of New Mexico's finest sprinters, Rene Matison, who earned All-America honors in the 100-yard dash and as part of the 440-yard relay in 1966. Matison was also a member of four Western Athletic Conference champion relay teams and played a year of football for the Lobos before being drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in 1969. Matison's name is also in the UNM record books as he anchored the record-setting 4x100y relay team and matched the fastest 100-yard time ever recorded at UNM. In 2006, he has continued to make an impact on the program with the founding the New Mexico Track & Field Club.
Fellow junior Jarrin Solomon can also find his family name featured throughout the history of New Mexico track and field thanks to the efforts of his father Michael Solomon. The elder Solomon was a two-time All-American and the 600-yard champion at the 1977 NCAA Indoor Championships. From 1974-77, Solomon claimed four-straight 600 titles, one 440 crown, was a member of the Lobos' three-time WAC champion mile relay team indoors and part of the outdoor record-setting 4x400m relay team. Solomon was also a two-time Olympian, competing at the 1976 Montreal games and 1980 Moscow Olympics.
Brothers Kurt and Kyle Henry have been in surrounded by UNM track and field tradition their entire life. Their dad, Matt Henry, is the seventh-year head coach at New Mexico, a former All-American for the Lobos and member of four WAC Champion relay teams. Mom, Lisa (formerly Lisa Chivario), competed at UNM in the early `70s and earned All-America honors in 1971 as the AIAW national runner-up in the long jump. Uncle Mark was also a letterwinner for UNM and is currently the associate head coach, while his grandfather Bub and great-grandfather Gwinn have a legacy of success in UNM athletics that goes back to the 1930s.
Sophomore Briana Paxton's mother, Laurie (formerly Laurie Gilliland), was a standout hurdler at UNM from 1975-78. Laurie was a three-time AIAW national qualifier in the 400 hurdles and won the event at the `77 WAC Championships. She is also a former school and conference record holder in the 100 hurdles. Briana's dad, Matt, played football for the Lobos in the late `70s.
Rookie Lynn Brasher's mom, Lucille, ran track for the Lobos from 1976-77. A second cousin, also named Lynn Brasher, ran track at UNM from 1979-80 and earned All-America honors in 1979 as part of the two-mile relay team.
Freshman Jeremy Newland's dad, Jef, is a former Lobo distance runner (1988-92) who helped UNM win the WAC cross country championship and advance to the NCAA Championship meet in 1988.