Feb. 27, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Senior Lee Emanuel swept the mile and 800 meters to lead the University of New Mexico men to a third place finish and program record score of 123.5 today on the final day of the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Emanuel finished with the meet with three gold medals after anchoring the Lobos' winning distance medley relay team last night. The UNM women, meanwhile, were fifth for the second straight year.
BYU held off hard-charging TCU (135 pts.) and UNM to win its eight straight and 10th overall MWC Indoor title. The Cougars 159.5 points, however, were there lowest since joining the MWC while the margin of victory was the lowest since 2005.
The Cougar women cruised to their second straight crown and ninth overall with a 193-129.5 victory over runner-up TCU.
Emanuel's sensational day began as expected, with a dominant performance in the mile. The 2009 NCAA champion took the lead immediately, followed by senior teammate Rory Fraser. The duo ran side-by-side en route much of the race, before Emanuel pulled away late for a convincing victory, shattering the MWC Championship record with a time of 4:05.85, which converts to a 4:00.53 time at sea level.
Emanuel and Fraser (4:10.04 - also under the previous MWC Championship record) led a dominant team effort by the Lobos, who combined for 32 points in the event to briefly take a 14-point lead in the team standings through 10 events. Senior David Bishop took the bronze (4:12.06) and redshirt freshman Ross Millington used a late surge to take fourth (4:13.94). Sophomore Matt Everett ran the best race of his career, finishing sixth (4:15.57) after running with the top chase pack much of the way.
Two events later, Emanuel struck again, coming from ninth to first to win the 800.
Freshman teammate Raffi Cote set a strong early pace, leading the pack around for the first three laps while Emanuel moved into striking distance for the bell lap. BYU junior Brian Weirich jumped out to a 15-meter lead with roughly 70 meters to go before Emanuel shifted gears. The Lobo star flew around the final turn and rode the roaring Convention Center crowd past Weirich on the final straight.
Emanuel finished with a time of 1:50.87 (1:50.26 altitude adjusted) - 0.41 seconds ahead of Weirich. Cote, meanwhile, capped an outstanding debut season with a fourth place finish (1:52.79).
Emanuel attempted to come back yet again to compete in the 3,000, just 40 minutes after his 800 victory. However, it proved to be too tall an order and he dropped out midway through the race when it became apparent that he didn't have the energy to factor into the scoring. He finished the meet with a team-high 22.5 points scored.
Emanuel's two individual indoor titles were the most by a Lobo since the late Darren Crawford swept the weight throw and shot put at the 1990 WAC Championships. He became the first UNM athlete to win three total golds since the great Dwayne Rudd captured the 60 yards, long jump and triple jump at the 1983 WAC meet. UNM had won just five total MWC Indoor men's events in the previous 10-year history of the league.
The men of New Mexico finished with seven all-MWC performances today, giving them a program record 10 medals for the meet.
The sprinters and hurdlers got into the action as well as redshirt freshman De'Vron Walker just missed the gold medal in a photo finish 60-meter hurdles final and sophomore transfer Lamaar Thomas picked up the bronze in the 60 dash.
Walker tied his own school record with a time of 8.09 - just one-hundredth behind TCU's defending champion Jordan Pitts. No Lobo had ever finished higher than fifth in the event in 10 prior MWC meets.
Thomas then smashed his own school record and became the first MWC runner in four years to break up TCU's medal sweep in the event. The former Ohio State standout and newest wide receiver on the Lobo football team got out of the blocks well and crossed the line in 6.75 - less than one-hundredth out of second and nearly a full tenth better than his previous best. It was New Mexico's first medal in the event.
Senior Jacob Kirwa capped the men's medal haul with a third place finish in the 3,000, crossing the line with an altitude adjusted time of 8:10.58 - less than a second out of first place and two-hundredths shy of the silver.
On the women's side, senior Ashley Gibson turned in the New Mexico's lone all-MWC performance of the day, finishing third in the mile - the best by a Lobo in the event at the MWC meet. Gibson was forced to lead most of the way, but was unable to hold on, slipping to third (4:58.53) in the final 200 meters.
Meanwhile, senior Sandy Fortner continued her remarkable meet, adding a fourth place finish in the high jump (5-07.75, 1.72m) and seventh place effort in the 60 hurdles (8.72) to finish with a team-high 20 points over the three-day meet.
Fortner's record-setting performance in Thursday's pentathlon (4,147) gave her a share of the MWC Outstanding Performance award with San Diego State pole vaulter Stephanie James (14-01.25, 4.30m).
Other Lobo highlights from Saturday included:
-Sophomore Alex Darling finishing eighth for the second straight year in the women's 800 with a career-best altitude adjusted time of 2:12.35
-Fraser (altitude adjusted 8:18.85) and junior transfer Keith Gerrard (altitude adjusted 8:19.82) running seventh and eighth, respectively, to give UNM nine points in the men's 3K
-Junior Kyle Walker finishing seventh in the pole vault (16-04.75, 5.00m), scoring in the event for the third straight year indoors
-Junior Ruth Senior finishing seventh in the mile (altitude adjusted 4:58.74)
-UNM's 4x400m relay teams finishing sixth on the men's side (season-best 3:17.09) and seventh on the women's side (3:54.74).
Final Team Scores (Men):
1. BYU - 159.50; 2. TCU - 135; 3. New Mexico - 123.50; 4. Wyoming - 98; 5. Air Force - 83.50; 6. Colorado State - 57.50.
Final Team Scores (Women):
1. BYU - 193; 2. TCU - 129.50; 3. San Diego State - 87; 4. Utah - 63; 5. New Mexico - 48; 6. Colorado State - 46.50; 7. Wyoming - 37; 8. Air Force - 34; 9. UNLV - 25.
2010 MWC Indoor Track & Field Championships Award Winners:Men's Coach of the Year - Darryl Anderson, TCU
Women's Coach of the Year - Craig Poole, BYU
Men's Outstanding Performance - Phillip Bettis, BYU (Heptathlon)
Women's Co-Outstanding Performances - Sandy Fortner, New Mexico (Pentathlon); Stephanie James, San Diego State (Pole Vault)
Men's High Point Award - Jeremiah James, WYO (26)
Women's High Point Award - Karoline Koehler, San Diego State (33)