Jan. 16, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fifth-year senior Sandy Fortner made a triumphant return to action after redshirting all of 2009 to lead the University of New Mexico today at the Lobo Opener. The tune-up meet was the first of six UNM events and 13 total meets, including the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships and USA Indoor Championships, this winter at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Fortner began the day with a victory in the long jump, winning the event with a leap of 19' 4" (5.89m) on her third attempt. She then clocked an altitude adjusted 8.97 in the 60-meter hurdles before coming back to win the event with an adjusted time of 8.82. Fortner finished the day by anchoring the Lobos' victorious 4x400 relay team (3:55.12).
The Fort Sumner, N.M. product swept the MWC multi-event crowns in her last season of action, winning the pentathlon indoors and heptathlon outdoors while qualifying for the NCAA Championships in both in 2008. Nagging injuries forced her to sit out all of 2009.
Freshman Kendall Spencer continued the solid start to his collegiate career, leading all collegians in the long jump (second - 23' 6 ½" (7.17m)) and 200 (third - 22.15), and fellow freshman De'Vron Walker was the top collegiate finisher in the 60 (third - altitude adjusted 7.01).
Sophomore Amber Menke also had a solid performance for the young Lobo women's team, winning the pole vault with a leap of 11' 7 ¾" (3.55m).
Back on the track senior Michelle Corrigan was the top collegiate finisher in the mile, clocking an altitude adjusted time of 5:01.67. Corrigan, who earned All-America honors in the 10,000 last spring, trailed only 2009 USA champion and World bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury and three-time USA champion Treniere Moser. Rowbury shattered the facility record with a time of 4:34.14, while Moser also ran under the previous record, crossing the line in 4:43.72.
Rowbury and Moser were two of several world class competitors among the field of the Lobo Opener with more expected to visit Albuquerque's elite facility in the coming weeks.
Beijing Olympic 100 and 200 finalist Churandy Martina (Netherlands Antilles) won the 60 today with a time of 6.66, while Halimat Ismaila swept the women's 60 (7.38) and 200 (24.26) titles. Ismaila helped Nigeria win bronze in the 4x100 relay at the 2008 Olympics.
Former Oregon long distance star Galen Rupp, a six-time NCAA champion and 2009 Bowerman Award winner (college track's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy), was also among the field in one of several scheduled training performances in the Duke City leading up to the USA Championships.
Rupp, however, was upset in the men's 800 by the most unlikely of sources as Lobo freshman walk-on Raffi Cote surged past the American indoor 5,000 record holder in the final 50 meters to win with an altitude adjusted time of 1:54.25 - 0.46 seconds ahead of Rupp. Cote (Grand Junction, Colo.) was a last minute addition to the race after false starting out of the 400 earlier in the day.