Indoor Track: Lobo Men Finish Third At Air Force Invite
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The University of New Mexico mens track team turned in a well-rounded performance to finish a strong third in its indoor season-opener, the Air Force Invitational, today at Cadet Field House. New Mexico scored 90 points over the two-day meet, just 2.5 off Air Force and 19 behind first place Colorado State, to improve three spots on its finish a year ago. Meanwhile, the UNM women finished sixth out of 12 teams with a score of 41 points.
Sophomore transfer Bridgid Isworth became the second Lobo pole vaulter to surpass the NCAA provisional qualifying mark in as many days. The Melbourne, Australia native cleared a school record-shattering height of 13-01.50 to win the event. Her mark was a full four inches above the NCAA provisional standard and over a foot higher than teammate Amber Noltes 2002 indoor record. Junior transfer Branden Bennett became New Mexicos first NCAA provisional qualifier of the season in yesterdays mens pole vault competition. Senior Keren Sari-Bentzur picked up the second victory of the day for the Lobos, winning the long jump with a leap of 18-10.00.
The UNM men received a tremendous scoring boost in the 3,000-meter race, where sophomore Ben Ortega led a 1,2,4 New Mexico finish. Ortega, who redshirted the 2002 indoor season, clocked a time of 8:44.80 (unadjusted), just two seconds ahead of sophomore Matt Gonzales, who finished in 8:46.12. Fellow redshirt sophomore Nick Martinez was fourth with a time of 8:47.42.
True freshman Dan Feltman got his career off to a good start, finishing second in the long jump with a leap of 23-05.25, well over a foot beyond the Lobos top mark last season. Fellow rookie Robert Gunn was fifth with a jump of 22-05.00. In the triple jump, sophomore Willie Yuen took fifth with a mark of 44-06.75.
Junior Chris Garafola turned in a fine performance in both the 60-meter hurdles and 200 meters. Garafola clocked a school record-breaking time of 8.18 to finish sixth in the hurdles and was seventh in the 200 with a personal-best time of 22.21. His hurdle time was .32 seconds faster than Justin Masseys previous program best, set in 2001. Senior Nick Lott also got his indoor season off to a good start, taking second in the 400 meter dash with a time of 48.95. Meanwhile, junior Matt Bishop was a solid sixth (1:56.30) in just the second 800-meter competition of his career.
New Mexico returns to action next weekend, Jan. 31 Feb. 1 when it travels to Pullman, Wash. for the Cougar Indoor meet, hosted by Washington State.