March 25, 2007
LOS ANGELES -- The University of New Mexico qualified two more athletes to the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet in a solid Saturday performance at USC's Trojan Invitational. Junior Ariel Burr clocked a regional qualifying time of 54.19 in a third place finish in the 400 meters, while fellow junior Tiyana Peters qualified for the regional meet for the first time with an outdoor best height of 5' 8 3/4" (1.75) in the high jump (fifth).
Burr, the Mountain West Conference indoor 400 champion, turned in a strong early-season performance to secure her spot in the NCAA Regional Championship field for the third straight year. The Carrizozo, N.M. product finished 0.73 seconds behind Texas A&M All-American Clora Williams (53.46).
Peters, meanwhile, surpassed her previous outdoor best in the high jump by 1 3/4 inches in her first outdoor competition of the season. The MWC indoor champion had been bothered by a sore Achilles since clearing a lifetime best 5' 10" at the conference meet in late February.
Elsewhere, sophomore Katie Coronado picked up her second javelin victory in as many meets this season with a winning throw of 156' 2" (47.60m). Coronado finished over a foot ahead of the runner-up, Texas A&M All-American Jessica Wingfield (155').
On the men's side, freshman Brian Vallie clocked a lifetime best time of 1:52.54 to finish third in the first outdoor 800-meter race of his career. Junior Jarrin Solomon, meanwhile, was fourth in his first outdoor 400 of the season with a time of 47.53.
Solomon came back to help the 4x400 relay teammates Taylor Siemon, Randle McCain and Kurt Henry finish fourth with a time of 3:12.58. The Lobos finished behind USC (3:05.88), Texas A&M (3:05.98) and the Texas A&M B team (3:11.37), but defeated seven teams, including Michigan (3:13.03), Long Beach State (3:14.51) and Washington State (3:16.20).
Sophomore Anthony Fairbanks led the UNM men in the field once again, finishing third in the javelin with a throw of 205' 8" (62.68m). Fellow sophomore Josh Cosio cleared 6' 6 3/4" (2.00m) to finish sixth in the high jump.
Other New Mexico highlights on Saturday included:
-Freshman Alesha Walker finishing seventh in the long jump with a season best mark of 19' 5 1/2" (5.93m). Walker's mark was less than 3 inches short of the NCAA regional qualifying standard.
-Sophomore Christina Zarrella clocking a career-best time of 2:16.10 to finish sixth in the 800.
-Senior Dylan Rose-Coss finishing eighth in the 1,500 with a career-best time of 3:58.32.
Fortner Injured In First Heptathlon of the Year
Tucson, Ariz. -- Sophomore Sandy Fortner's first heptathlon competition ended early on Friday at Arizona. Fortner pulled out after suffering an undisclosed injury during the long jump - the first event on day two. She used a career-best performance in the shot put to move into fourth place after the first four events on Thursday. Fortner's injury is not believed to be serious.