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MWC Championship Meet Returns to Albuquerque Convention Center
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/20/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 20, 2007

MWC Championships Schedule in PDF Format
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UPCOMING

The Mountain West Conference Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships return to the Duke City for the second straight year, running Thursday - Saturday at the Convention Center in downtown Albuquerque. This weekend's event will be the final indoor track meet in Albuquerque until 2009 due to a conflict with the facility next winter.

The action begins at 10:30 on Thursday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Friday. Single session tickets will be available at the door on Friday and Saturday - $4 for adults and $2 for students (high school and under). Thursday's events are free.

The MWC Championships moved to the Duke City in 2006 after six years at the U.S. Air Force Academy's Cadet Field House in Colorado Springs, Colo. Air Force also hosted the Western Athletic Conference Indoor Championships for 12 straight years before the MWC was formed. New Mexico hosted the WAC Indoor Championship meet at Tingley Coliseum on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds six times between 1974-87.

THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT A GLANCE

Meet Information/Results: Live meet results will be available online at the Mountain West Conference's official website: www.themwc.com. The complete results packet will be available immediately following the meet at www.themwc.com and www.golobos.com.

Schedule: The meet begins on Thursday with the women's pentathlon (5 events) and first four events of the men's heptathlon. Thursday's events are scheduled to run between 10:30 a.m. and approximately 4:05 p.m. (MST).

Friday's schedule opens at 10 a.m. with the final three events of the men's heptathlon. The day will feature finals for the men's and women's weight throw, long jump, 5,000m run and distance medley, the women's pole vault and men's high jump. Prelims for the 60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, 800 and mile will also be held on Friday. The day's events are scheduled to conclude at approximately 5:45 p.m.

The third and final day of competition gets underway at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Finals for the women's high jump, men's pole vault, men's and women's triple jump and shot put, and all remaining track events (60, 60 hurdles, 200, 400, 800, mile, 3,000, 4x400 relay) will be held. The meet is expected to conclude around 4 p.m.

Teams Competing (9): Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State (women only), TCU, UNLV (women only), Utah (women only), Wyoming.

Top Individuals: Six MWC athletes and one relay team are ranked in the latest Trackwire.com NCAA Championship projections. The women women's field features No. 5 Mindy Neeley (BYU) in the long jump, No. 6 Whitney McDonald (BYU) in the 5,000m, No. 9 Katie Lloyd (CSU) in the pentathlon, No. 11 Virgil Hodge (TCU) in the 60m and No. 11 Kassi Anderson (BYU) in the 3,000m. The BYU women also have the 12th-ranked distance medley relay team.

BYU's David Pendergrass is the only ranked men's competitor, currently listed 10th in the high jump.

ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST INDOOR TRACK FACILITIES

The Albuquerque Convention Center has been the site of another sensational season of indoor track and field performances. Through the 5 collegiate invitationals at the facility in 2007, there have been 97 NCAA Division I provisional qualifying marks and 10 D-I automatic qualifying marks recorded. Seventeen of those are currently ranked among the top-10 nationally, including the top men's long jump, men's heptathlon and women's shot put marks in the country.

NEW MEXICO AT THE MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Although it remains a traditional outdoor-oriented program, New Mexico has become more of an indoor threat each year under seventh-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff. The UNM women have scored at least 49 points in four of Henry's six seasons after surpassing the 49-point mark just once from 1990-2000. Last year, the women matched their highest score at the MWC Indoor Championships with 57 points and has a record six athletes earn all-MWC medals. Five of the women's seven all-time indoor conference event titles have come in the Henry era as well, including a program-best three victories in 2003. Current assistant coach Keren Bentzur was the most decorated Lobo at the MWC Indoor Championships, earning the meet High Point Award with her 30-point performance as a senior in 2003.

The Lobo men, meanwhile, have been steadily returning to the high levels of performance they were accustomed to throughout the 1970s and `80s. New Mexico has averaged 60.4 points under Henry in its last five MWC indoor meets, including a score of 67 each of the past two years - the team's highest in 15 years. UNM scored just an average of just 12 points per meet prior to Henry's arrival from 1992-2000. The Lobos have also won 3 event titles at the past three MWC Indoor Championship meets after enduring a 13-year title drought between 1991-2003. Overall, the team has captured 53 event titles since 1970 with Henry himself helping UNM win back-to-back Western Athletic Conference 2-mile relay titles and a mile relay crown from 1972-74.

**See attached PDF document for complete breakdown of the Lobos' performance at the MWC Indoor Championships.

ALL-CONFERENCE CANDIDATES

The annual all-Mountain West Conference team is comprised of the top-3 finishers in each event at the MWC Championships meet. Since Matt Henry took over the track & field program in 2001, UNM athletes have earned all-MWC honors 44 times indoors. The following are the athletes currently in top contention for indoor all-conference honors, ranking among the league's top-5 entering this week's conference championship meet:

WOMEN:
Jr. Kristan Matison - 60m (T4th - 7.60),
Jr. Ariel Burr* - 400m (2nd - 55.23),
So. Tiyana Peters - High Jump (1st - 5-08.75),
So. Hagit Salomon - Triple Jump (3rd - 40-00.75),
Fr. Deanna Young - Triple Jump (5th - 39-05.00),
So. Sandy Fortner - Pentathlon (3rd - 3,709 pts.),
Distance Medley Relay (2nd - 13:04.57).

*Burr is also ranked 4th in the 200m, but is only expected to run the 400m this weekend.

MEN:
Jr. Jarrin Solomon - 400m (2nd - 47.34),
Jr. Jeremy Johnson - 3,000m (1st - 8:09.94) & 5,000m (1st - 14:26.94),
Jr. Juan Ortega - 5,000m (3rd - 14:40.31),
Sr. Mark Lamb - 60m Hurdles (3rd - 8.17),
So. Josh Cosio - High Jump (T3rd - 6-07.00),
4x400m Relay Team (1st - 3:13.89),
Distance Medley Relay Team (2nd - 10:06.12).

FELTMAN RECEIVES HARDSHIP WAIVER FOR 2005 SEASON

The Lobos received some timely good news this week when senior multi-event standout Dan Feltman was granted a medical hardship waiver for the 2005 indoor season. Feltman was lost for the winter when he injured his hamstring on his first race in the `05 season-opener at Air Force.

The Deming, N.M. native will make his 2007 debut this weekend at the MWC Championships meet, where he is expected to compete in the heptathlon and long jump. Feltman finished fifth in the heptathlon last year with a personal record score of 5,145. He won the MWC decathlon title outdoors in 2005 and redshirted the `06 outdoor campaign.

LOBO INJURY REPORT

Overall, New Mexico enters the MWC Indoor Championship meet healthy, rested and ready to compete. A few key athletes are dealing with nagging injuries however.

Jr. Jeremy Johnson: Has not competed since Jan. 27 due to foot blisters, but resumed training last week and is slated to run both the 5,000 and 3,000 this weekend. Johnson owns the top times in the league in both events and was the MWC indoor runner-up in the 5K last year. He also helped UNM record a season-best time of 10:06.12 in the distance medley relay on Jan. 27, but is doubtful for that event.

Jr. Whitney Johnson: An NCAA provisional qualifier and all-MWC honoree in the pole vault, but is taking a redshirt season this winter as she continues to rehab from summer knee surgery. Suffered a torn ACL while training for the 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships outdoors. Has made good progress in her recovery and could return to competition this spring.

Sr. Brenton Laws: Clocked a career-best time of 7.00 in the 60m two weeks ago, but felt a twinge in his hamstring while finishing up a 200m race later in the meet. Is nearing full strength this weekend, but will limit his MWC competition to the 60, where he is ranked 7th.

So. Leslie Luna: Seventh in the 3,000 indoors and sixth in the 5K outdoors in 2006, but has been sidelined with a variety of injuries after an all-MWC and all-region cross country campaign. Coaches are hoping she can work her way back in time for the outdoor season.

Jr. Kristan Matison: Missed two weeks early in the season with an Achilles injury, but came back to record a school-record time of 7.60 in the 60m dash on Feb. 9. Should be ready to race in the 60 and the 200m, where she is ranked 13th. Coaches are also hoping she is able to contribute in the 4x400m relay after helping the Lobos clock a season-best time of 3:51.41 on Jan. 27.

Jr. Domnick Meadows: A MWC finalist in both the long and triple jump indoors and outdoors in 2006, but will redshirt the `07 indoor season after injuring has quadriceps muscle during fall training. Resumed training last week and should be full strength when the outdoor season begins.

2006 MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Just as head coach Matt Henry predicted, the UNM men and women thrived in their first year as hosts of the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Without the worries of the road, the New Mexico men (67 points) and women (57) both finished fifth, matching their highest finish and score in seven MWC Indoor meets. It was the best combined performance (127 points) for the Lobo teams in 15 years of joint appearances at the indoor conference championship meet.

The UNM men defeated Wyoming indoors for the first time since it joined the MWC, despite losing 79 percent of their (53) points from the 2005 MWC Indoor meet.

The Colorado State University women won their first indoor title in dramatic fashion, edging six-time champion BYU in the final event. CSU picked up a critical fourth place point in the 4x400-meter relay to defeat the Cougars 156.50 - 155.50. The BYU men, meanwhile, won their fourth consecutive men's title with a score of 206 points. The Ram men were second with 143. The TCU men (106) and women (98) both finished third in their Mountain West Conference debuts.

UNM athletes earned all-MWC honors 10 times, including a program-record six medals for the women.

2006 MWC INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES

• Men's 60m - Former Lobo wide receiver Aaron Brack continued his late season surge, moving up two spots to finish fourth in the finals with an altitude-adjusted time of 6.89, one hundredth of a second out of third and spot on the all-MWC team. Brack entered the meet seeded 11th in the event before clocking the sixth-fastest time in the prelims on Friday, a school record adjusted time of 6.88. His fourth place finish matched the highest by a Lobo at the MWC meet (Chris Garofola, 2003).

• Women's 60m - Sophomore Kristan Matison became the first Lobo since 2001 (Dayna McMillen - 7th) to score in the event, finishing seventh with an altitude-adjusted time of 7.81. Matison, who just missed the school record with an adjusted time of 7.64 in the prelims, was ranked 11th in the league entering the weekend.

• Men's 200m - True freshman Phillip Merritt clocked a season-best time of 22.22 to finish seventh in his MWC Championships debut. Merritt entered the meet ranked 13th in the league with a time of 22.27.

• Men's 400m - Sophomore Jarrin Solomon shaved another 0.05 seconds of his career-best, crossing the line in 48.62 to finish sixth in the finals. Solomon, who was eighth last year, notched the highest finish for the Lobos in the event indoors since 2001 (Nick Lott, 5th). He entered the meet as the No. 8 seed with a top time of 49.02.

• Women's 400m - A day after breaking a 16-year-old UNM record in the event, sophomore Ariel Burr left no doubt in a sensational runner-up performance in a powerful field. Fueled down the final stretch by a roaring crowd, Burr shaved another 1.61 seconds of her day-old record, clocking an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 54.27. The Carrizozo, N.M. native finished the first lap in fourth place and trailed the lead group by roughly 15 meters before making a tremendous move around the final turn. Seventh last year, Burr entered the meet as the No. 9 seed, but finished as the fist UNM woman to earn all-MWC honors in the event.

• Men's 800m - Redshirt freshman Adam Huff ran a season-best (altitude adjusted) time of 2:00.31 to finish seventh. Huff knocked 2.23 seconds off his previous best this season.

• Women's 800m - Sophomore Riann Lucy, the 13th seed entering the weekend, became the first UNM woman to earn all-MWC honors in the event, placing third with a season-best altitude-adjusted time of 2:14.18. Lucy, who was seventh last year, got out quickly and never faded, finishing 0.84 seconds behind the winner.

• Men's 3,000m - Junior transfer Jeremy Johnson finished fourth with an altitude-adjusted time of 8:21.92 to earn meet high point honors for the Lobos. Johnson, who was the runner-up in the 5,000 on Friday, scored 13 points for UNM.

• Men's 5,000m - Johnson set an early tone for the New Mexico men with his second place finish in the 5,000 meters, the first running event final on Friday. Johnson clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 14:28.70 to earn all-conference honors in his MWC debut. Johnson joined 2005 MWC 5K champion Ben Ortega as the only two Lobos to earn all-conference honors in the event.

• Women's 3,000m - Senior Timmie Murphy had no letdown in front of the home crowd as she finished a strong second behind the MWC High Point Award winner, Nicole Feest of CSU, with a school record altitude adjusted time of 9:37.20. Murphy reeled in BYU's nationally ranked 5,000 runner, Chelsea McKell, midway through the race and held off top-seeded Anne Heiner of BYU over the final 800 meters to give the Lobos their first all-MWC honoree in the event. Murphy had never placed in the 3,000 and had scored just once in the 5,000 (8th - 2004), at the MWC Championships. Redshirt freshman teammate Leslie Luna placed seventh in her first individual MWC race, crossing with a career-best altitude-adjusted time of 9:48.65.

• Men's 4x400m Relay - New Mexico earned all-MWC honors for the first time since 2003, placing third in the final event of the day with a season-best time of 3:14.06, the fastest in head coach Matt Henry's six-year tenure. UNM also earned all-conference medals with runner-up finishes in 2003 and '00. Freshman Taylor Siemon, sophomore Jarrin Solomon, sophomore Kurt Henry earned all-MWC honors for the first time indoors, while junior Randle McCain added his second after helping the distance medley relay team finish second last year.

• Women's 4x400m Relay - One of the oldest indoor records in UNM women's history was taken down in the final event of the day as the relay team of freshman Christina Zarrella, sophomores Ariel Burr and Shakira Williams, and junior KC Pritchard clocked a fifth place time of 3:49.48 - 0.82 seconds under the 22-year-old record. None of the four Lobo relay runners were born when the previous mark was set in 1984.

• Women's Distance Medley Relay - The UNM women received a strong third place performance from its DMR team of Leslie Luna, Christina Zarrella, Riann Lucy and Timmie Murphy. The fourseome clocked an altitude-adjusted school record time of 11:56.70 to earn all-MWC honors in the DMR for the third time in the past four years.

• Women's High Jump - Freshmen Tiyana Peters and Khristina Curtis got the Lobos off on the right foot, tying for second in the first event of the day with marks of 5-07.75. Neither jumper missed a single attempt before bowing out when the bar went to 5-10.00. Curtis had a near-fall on the concrete outside the track during a hurried mid-competition restroom break, but came back to clear her indoor best on her next jump. The duo were the first Lobos to earn all-MWC honors in the event indoors.

• Men's High Jump - Josh Cosio and former Lobo cornerback Mike Powdrell tied for fourth (combined eight points) in the high jump with a mark of 6-06.00 in their Indoor Championships debut. Cosio and Powdrell entered the meet ranked sixth and 11th, respectively, in the event.

• Men's Pole Vault - Junior Robert Caldwell came up big in one of his last chances to qualify for the national championship meet, clearing a career-best and NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 17-07.25 en route to a second place finish. Caldwell entered the meet with a top jump of 17-03.00, which had him on the bubble for NCAA qualifying bubble. Senior teammate Derek Mackel, who had likely already secured his spot in the national championship field with a mark of 17-11.00 in the season-opener, showed a little rust in his first competition in three weeks, but still cleared a solid 17-03.50 to join Caldwell on the all-MWC team. It was the fist time the Lobos had ever placed two on the all-MWC team indoors.

• Women's Triple Jump - Freshman Hagit Salamon bounced back from a disappointing performance in the long jump on Friday to place sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 38-06.25. Salamon's finish was the best by a Lobo in the event since 2003 when fellow Israeli and current position coach Keren Bentzur was third in 2003.

• Men's Triple Jump - Sophomore Domnick Meadows defied his No. 11 seed to finish seventh with a career-best leap of 46-08.75, the best of head coach Matt Henry's tenure. Meadows surpassed his previous best by 6.75 inches to become the first Lobo to score in the event indoors since 2003 (Willie Yuen - 6th).

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