May 13, 2007
SAN DIEGO - Junior Jarrin Solomon secured his elusive gold medal in the 400-meter dash to lead the University of New Mexico on Saturday at the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the San Diego State Sports Deck. Solomon's was one of seven all-conference performances for New Mexico on the fourth and final day of competition. The Lobo women finished fifth with a score of 68 points - their highest since 2000 - while the men's team was sixth (75).
Second in 2005, third in '06 and the '07 indoor runner-up in the 400, Solomon became the first Lobo since Tony Eziuka in 1991 (Western Athletic Conference) to win the event. The Albuquerque La Cueva High School product clocked a time of 46.50 - 0.24 seconds ahead of Colorado State's Drew Morano. Morano recorded the second-fastest time in Mountain West history on Friday with a preliminary time of 46.14.
Solomon's title also snapped a two-year drought for the UNM men at the MWC Outdoor Championships. Sophomore teammate and fellow La Cueva alumn Taylor Siemon was sixth in the 400 with a time of 48.66.
The pair came back in the final event of the day to lead the all-New Mexican 4x400 relay team to a second place finish. Solomon, Siemon, junior Kurt Henry (Albuquerque Cibola HS) and senior Randle McCain (Silver City) combined to clock a time of 3:11.73 to earn all-MWC laurels for the sixth time in seven years. Top ranked TCU won with a season-best time of 3:08.09.
In the distance events, senior Jeremy Johnson earned a pair of medals in the 1,500 and 5,000. Johnson finished second behind BYU All-American Josh Rohatinsky (14:09.70) in the 5K with a time of 14:13.16 and came back to place third in the 1,500 with a career-best time of 3:50.94. Johnson finished less than a second behind the winner in the 1,500 - BYU's Chandler Goodwin (3:49.95).
The Albuquerque Manzano High School product became the first Lobo ever to earn all-conference honors in both events. Johnson will compete in the 5,000 at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships and is expected to see his name added to the 10,000 field at the NCAA Championships.
Freshman Brian Vallie grabbed silver in the 800, recording a season-best time of 1:50.78 - just 0.12 seconds behind Air Force's Kevin Hawkins. Rookie teammate Nick Arguelles was seventh with a time of 1:54.56.
On the women's side, meanwhile, junior Ariel Burr earned all-MWC honors for the third straight season with a third place performance in the 400. Burr crossed the line with a season-best time of 53.17 - 0.67 seconds behind gold medal winner Deborah Jones of TCU.
Senior Timmie Murphy led the UNM women in the distance events with a third place finish in the 5,000. Murphy earned outdoor all-conference honors for the first time in her career with a time of 16:47.60. BYU's Whitney McDonald won the race with a time of 16:00.16, while UNM sophomore Leslie Luna was seventh (17:17.41).
Other New Mexico highlights on Saturday included:
-Burr, Pritchard, Tress Richardson and Kristan Matison also placed fifth in the 4x100 relay with a time of 46.57. UNM edged BYU by 0.01 seconds and were just 0.02 seconds behind fourth place Wyoming.
-Junior Domnick Meadows placing seventh in the triple jump with a mark of 46' 2".
-Sophomore Briana Paxton scoring for the first time at the MWC Championships with an eighth place finish in the women's shot put (43' 6 ½").