June 11, 2008
ALL ACCESS: ROBERT CALDWELL
DES MOINES, Iowa - The rain and lightening that swept through the Des Moines area this morning had no effect on University of New Mexico fifth-year senior Robert Caldwell. The Socorro, N.M. product continued his sensational 2008 outdoor campaign by clearing 17' 2 3/4" (5.25m) this afternoon at Drake Stadium to advance to the men's pole vault final at the NCAA Track and Field Championships. The 15-man competition will begin at 3:15 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday.
A redshirt last year, Caldwell erased all memories of his NCAA Outdoor Championships debut in 2006 when he missed on all three attempts at his opening height of 16' 10 3/4" (5.00m) in the qualifying round. The No. 2 seed opened at 16' 8 3/4" (5.10m), which he cleared on his second attempt, and secured his place in the finals by clearing the final bar on his first attempt.
Caldwell joined three-time outdoor All-American Simon Arkell as the only Lobo pole vaulters to advance to the finals at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Arkell finished tied for fifth in his final NCAA appearance as a fifth-year senior in 1991.
As usual, the national pole vault competition took its toll on some of the pre-meet favorites in the event, including top-ranked Rice sophomore Jason Colwick. Colwick passed on the first two bars, then missed all three attempts at 17' 2 3/4" (5.25m). Midwest Region champion Jordan Scott of Kansas, No. 7 Eric Sparks of Purdue and No. 9 Bob Low of BYU also bowed out early after finishing tied for 16th (16' 8 3/4" - 5.10m).
Air Force sophomore Nick Frawley joined Caldwell to give the Mountain West Conference a pair of representatives in the NCAA pole vault finals.
Later in the day, senior Tiyana Peters saw her outstanding outdoor career come to an end in the women's high jump qualifying round (5' 7" - 1.70m). Strong winds prevailed during the event, which was pushed back three hours due to a weather delay earlier in the day.
Peters, who entered her first NCAA Championship meet as the No. 23 seed, narrowly missed her final attempt at 5' 8 1/4" (1.74m). The two-time MWC Outdoor champion was the second Lobo to compete in the event at the NCAA meet. She joined Kelli Myers, who advanced to the 2002 Outdoor Championships but did not clear the opening height in the qualifying round.
Peters - the two-time defending MWC champion indoors as well - will return to UNM for her final indoor season in 2009.
The largest UNM contingent in modern NCAA Championship history resumes competition tomorrow. Junior Katie Coronado opens javelin qualifying at 1:15 p.m., while junior Lee Emanuel runs in the 1,500-meter semifinals at 6:10 p.m. Senior Jeremy Johnson and junior Mat Ashton will the cap day when they toe the line for the 10,000 finals at 7:50 p.m.