Jan. 30, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The marquee men's event of the New Mexico Invitational lived up the hype today at the Albuquerque Convention Center. University of New Mexico senior Rory Fraser rode the roaring home crowd down the final 60 meters, past Team USA Minnesota's Patrick Smyth to win the 3,000 with a facility record and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 8:08.29. Fraser's altitude adjusted time of 7:56.31 eclipsed teammate Lee Emanuel's 2009 school record in the event by four-hundredths of a second.
Fraser and Smyth had a compelling back-and-forth throughout the race with Smyth - a seven-time All-American at Notre Dame - holding the lead through the first 11 laps. Fraser then made a strong move with 800 meters to go, bringing the crowd to its feet before Smyth took control again with roughly 300 to go.
Fraser refused to fold, however, and stayed within striking distance on the bell lap before surging into the lead down the final stretch and holding off Smyth by 0.98 seconds. He bested a sensational field of distance runners, particularly for a high altitude venue, that included seven former All-Americans.
The Leicester, England product broke the facility record by nearly two seconds and was just 2.41 seconds off the NCAA automatic qualifying standard. Fraser qualified for both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the 5,000 last year and his slated to run his specialty in two weeks in Seattle.
Junior teammate Brock Hagerman also had a strong performance in the 3K, finishing eighth with an altitude adjusted time of 8:18.61 - moving him into 10th on the all-time performers list.
On the women's side, sophomore Alex Darling capped an oustanding weekend with a career-best altitude adjusted time of 2:12.88 to finish third in the 800. Darling, who ran a strong altitude adjusted time of 4:58.00 last night in the mile, went under 2:13 for the first time in her career indoors.
Redshirt freshman Bianca Martin also ran well in the 800 after a solid mile performance the previous night. The Beaverton, Ore. product clocked an altitude adjusted time of 2:14.14 (ninth on the all-time performers list) to finish fourth in the event.
Fellow redshirt freshman Lacey Oeding turned in a strong race in her collegiate track debut, finishing third in the 3,000 with an altitude adjusted time of 10:04.28 (eighth on the all-time performers list). A two-time first team all-Mountain West Conference cross country runner, Oeding redshirted all of 2009 on the track.
Elswhere, the UNM women's 4x400 relay team of freshman Tawsha Brazley, sophomore Rachel Kelchner, freshman Ashley Miknis, and freshman Shirley Pitts clocked a season-best time of 3:53.61 (fifth), which was good for ninth on the all-time list.
Senior Sandy Fortner capped a solid all-around weekend with a fourth place finish in the long jump, leaping 18-07.00 (5.66m).