Jan. 5, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico and City of Albuquerque are joining forces for another season of elite indoor track and field competition at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The Convention Center earned a well-deserved reputation as America's best new indoor facility in 2006 as 14 NCAA automatic qualifying marks, 108 provisional qualifying marks and the collegiate heptathlon record were recorded at the world-class venue last year.
Fourteen top-25 men's and women's teams, 56 nationally ranked athletes and seven of the nation's top 4x400-meter relay teams competed in downtown Albuquerque during the regular season. Six of those individuals and two relay teams went on to win gold medals at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet
The 2007 season promises more of the same as the homegrown New Mexico Lobos will welcome a prestigious list of collegiate track and field programs from around the nation to the Duke City. Seventeen top-25 men's and women's teams from a year ago will be visiting Albuquerque, including eight NCAA gold medalists.
"We're really pleased with the schedule we've put together and with the caliber of teams we have coming here this year," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "For a few dollars fans can come down the Convention Center every weekend this winter and see some outstanding track and field competition at a world-class facility."
The first collegiate meet of the season, the Modrall Sperling Lobo Invitational (Jan. 19-20), is expected to be one of the finest in the country this year with UNM facing a ten-team field that includes perennial powers Baylor, BYU, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, and UTEP.
The action resumes four days later when Texas, California, Houston, Arizona, Kansas and Arizona State highlight the field of the Roger Cox Multis (Jan. 25-26) heptathlon/pentathlon competition and Dan DeHart Invitational (Jan. 27). BYU, Texas Tech and UTEP will also make the return trip for the three-day event.
The Lobos will then battle a four-team field in the Dennis Heimrich Invitational (Feb. 9-10) before hosting 11 squads the following week for the TCR Race Productions Invitational (Feb. 2-3). USC, Arizona, Arizona State and four Mountain West Conference teams will be among the field of the TCR Invite - the final tune-up before UNM hosts the Mountain West Conference Men's and Women's Championships (Feb. 22-24) for the second straight season.
Bolstered by one of the best recruiting classes in Henry's seven years at his alma mater, the New Mexico men and women will look to continue their ascent this winter. The Lobos return six all-MWC selections this indoor season in Jeremy Johnson (distance), Jarrin Solomon (400m), Josh Cosio (high jump), Ariel Burr (400m), Riann Lucy (800m) and Tiyana Peters (high jump).
The UNM men also boast one of the top mile relay squads in the conference, a standout long and triple jumper in junior Domnick Meadows and one of the most improved distance runners in the league in junior Juan Ortega. The New Mexico women, meanwhile, feature a talented distance runner in sophomore Leslie Luna, the 2006 MWC Cross Country Freshman of the Year, Vanessa Ortiz, and a promising multi-event talent in sophomore Sandy Fortner.
UNM Track & Field and the City of Albuquerque will also put on three all-comer meets this winter (Jan. 13 & 21, Feb. 4) and one of the premier indoor high school meets in America, the New Mexico High School Invitational (Feb. 16-17). The all-comer meets are open to all athletes, regardless of age and ability, for just $10 per event.
"Again, we have to thank Mayor (Martin) Chavez and the City of Albuquerque for their support of indoor track and field," said Henry. "We had a great response from all the collegiate and high school teams that competed here last year and I was really pleased that so many athletes of all ages took part in our all-comer meets. We want to encourage even more runners, jumpers and throwers to come out and experience competing at this facility this year. This track belongs to the Albuquerque community and we think people are really going to enjoy what you can see and do at the Convention Center this winter."
Tickets for the collegiate invitational meets and Mountain West Conference Championships will be available at the door. Visit www.GoLobos.com for complete information on all of the meets at the Albuquerque Convention Center in 2007.
FEATURED COLLEGIATE TEAMS VISITING ALBUQUERQUE IN 2007
Arizona - Men 10th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...Sr. Jake Arnold is the defending national champion in the decathlon.
Arizona State - Women 3rd at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...Men 4th at NCAA Outdoor Championships...Pac-10 women's outdoor champions...Jr. Jacquelyne Johnson is the defending national champion in the pentathlon and heptathlon...Sr. Amy Hastings is the defending indoor national champion in the 5,000 meters.
Baylor - Men 8th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships and 20th at NCAA Outdoor Championships...So. Jacob Norman is the defending national champion in the 60-meter dash.
BYU - Men 9th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships and NCAA Outdoor Championships...men swept MWC indoor/outdoor titles...MWC women's outdoor champions...men's distance medley relay team was the national runner-up.
Colorado State - MWC women's indoor champions.
Houston - Conference USA women's indoor & outdoor champions.
Kansas - Men 16th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...Jr. Agor Agafonov was the national runner-up in the weight throw.
Kansas State - Men 11th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.
LSU - Men 2nd, women 7th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships and NCAA Outdoor Championships...men and women swept 4x400m relay races at both indoor and outdoor championships.
TCU - Men's 4x400m relay team was the national runner-up outdoors.
Texas (multi-event athletes) - Men 4th, women 1st at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...men 3rd, women 6th at NCAA Outdoor Championships...men and women swept NCAA Midwest Regional (outdoor) and Big 12 Conference team titles (indoor & outdoor)...Sr. Donovan Kilmartin is the defending heptathlon national champion.
Texas A&M - Men 25th, women 17th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...Men 20th, women 10th at NCAA Outdoor Championships...Sr. Clora Williams is the defending national champion in the outdoor 400 meters.
UCLA - Women 15th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...men 22nd, women 14th at NCAA Outdoor Championships.
USC - Men 19th, women 8th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships...men 9th, women 2nd at NCAA Outdoor Championships...men's NCAA West Regional and Pac-10 Conference champions (outdoor)...Jr. Carol Rodriguez is the indoor national runner-up in the 200 meters.
UTEP - Men 15th at 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships and 7th at NCAA Outdoor Championships...Conference USA men's indoor & outdoor champions.