13th-Ranked Men Lead Lobos To NCAA Indoor Championships
March 10, 2010
UPCOMINGFor the second straight year, the University of New Mexico will send a program record four individuals to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which run Friday and Saturday at the University of Arkansas' Randall Tyson Track Center. Seniors Lee Emanuel (mile/3,000m), Rory Fraser (5,000m/3,000m), and Chris Barnicle (5,000m) will represent the 13th-ranked New Mexico men, while fellow senior Sandy Fortner (pentathlon) is the lone women's qualifier. All four Lobos are ranked among the top-10 in their respective events, including top-seeded Emanuel, who is the defending champion in the mile. ESPN360.com will provide live video streaming of all the running event finals with supplemental video of the other events on NCAA.com.
The 2010 Lobos matched the 2009 and 1978 teams' program records with four individuals qualifying for the Indoor Championships. The eight total individual bids in back-to-back years are the most in school history. From 1991 to 2008 New Mexico earned a total of six individual bids to the NCAA Indoor Championships.
This will also be one of the most experienced and talented groups UNM has ever sent to the NCAA Indoor meet. All four qualifiers are making their second trip to indoor nationals and Emanuel, Fraser, and Fortner also have an NCAA Outdoor appearance under their belt. All four individuals are also legitimate All-America candiates, ranking among the top eight in their primary event. The top eight finishers as well as the first eight U.S. citizens in each event final are named to the All-America team. New Mexico earned a program record three All-America awards at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTSNCAA Championships Schedule/Video Coverage (all times Mountain):
Friday - March 12
3:55 p.m. - men's mile prelims (Emanuel - NCAA.com)
7 p.m. - men's 5,000m final (Barnicle, Fraser - ESPN360)
Saturday - March 13
Live Video: Available on ESPN360.com beginning at 7 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday and 5:10 p.m. on Saturday. To access the live stream, visit www.ESPN360.com. Click on the FAQs link for software and system requirements, etc. Anyone with a .edu e-mail address is able to obtain access to ESPN360 at no cost. NCAA.com and ArkansasRazorbacks.com will stream supplemental coverage as available when ESPN360.com is not live.
Televsion Recap: ESPN2 will air a 90-minute show at 11:30 a.m. MT, on Wednesday, March 17.
Arkansas Facility Information: Virtually identical to the oval at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center features a 200-meter, banked Mondo track that is known as one of the fastest indoor surfaces in the world. The 5,500-seat facility has been the home of the NCAA Indoor Championships 10 times since it opened in 2000.
SCOUTING THE LOBOSSr. Lee Emanuel - Men's Mile (No. 1 seed): The 2009 NCAA mile champion enters this year's meet as the favorite after clocking a school record and nation-leading time of 3:57.62 on Jan. 29 on Indiana's 200-meter banked oval. No Lobo has ever won back-to-back national titles at either the NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships. The great Clarence Robinson is the only New Mexico athlete to win multiple NCAA golds when he swept the long and triple jumps at the 1965 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Emanuel will face a relatively unknown field (16 total) as he is one of only three milers that appeared in the 2009 Championships. Oregon senior A.J. Acosta, the No. 4 seed, was 13th in the prelims last year, while Oklahoma senior Jacob Boone, the No. 12 seed, was 10th in the 2009 finals. The top three finishers in each of two preliminary heats and the next four fastest times overall advance to Saturday's 10-man final.
Emanuel entered last year's NCAA meet at Texas A&M as the No. 5 seed and advanced to the final after running the fourth-fastest preliminary time. The Hastings, England product took control of the championship race with 700 meters to go and put the field away with a withering kick over the final 60 meters, winning by nearly a second.
Emanuel - Men's 3,000m (No. 3 seed): Emanuel will attempt his first double at the NCAA Championships, coming back a little less than two hours after his expected mile final appearance on Saturday to run just the third 3,000 race of his career. He'll enter the race as the No. 3 seed after clocking a school record time of 7:51.20 in his lone 3K this year on Feb. 13 on Washington's oversized flat track. He ran an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 7:56.35 in his first career 3,000 last year, but chose to focus on the mile at the NCAA meet.
Only three men ran faster times than Emanuel that day in Seattle, including top-seeded David McNeill of Northern Arizona and No. 2 seed Craig Miller of Wisconsin - the 2009 NCAA mile runner-up. In total, seven of the 15 men in the NCAA 3,000m field achieved their qualifying times in the Husky Classic 3K, including No. 4 seed Michael Coe of California, No. 5 seed Brandon Bethke of Arizona State, No. 6 seed Chris Rombough of Minnesota, and No. 11 seed Matthew Leeder of Florida State. Coe (second), Leeder (sixth), Rombough (seventh), and No. 7 seed Dorian Ulrey of Arkansas (ninth) are all repeat qualifiers in the 3K.
Emanuel will be joined in the 3,000 final by senior teammate Rory Fraser (No. 10 seed), who is also doubling after running the 5K on Friday night. The duo are giving the Lobos a pair of NCAA qualifiers in the event for the first time. Chip Smith was the first to run the 3K at the NCAA Indoor meet, finishing 12th in 1993.
Sr. Chris Barnicle - Men's 5,000m (No. 6 seed): Barnicle will run just the third indoor race of his brief UNM career on Friday night, exactly one week after surging into the NCAA Championships with a career-best time of 13:47.16 in a convincing victory at Notre Dame's Alex Wilson Invitationallast chance meet. Barnicle missed much of the winter due to injury before clocking a then career-best altitude-adjusted time of 13:56.06 en route to a fifth place finish in the 5K in his season debut at the Mountain West Conference Championships (Feb. 26).
Two of the men who finished ahead of Barnicle at the MWC meet will be in Friday night's finals based on their altitude adjusted times in Albuquerque. TCU senior and MWC champion Festus Kigen is the No. 12 seed, while Air Force's Justin Tyner is the No. 14 seed.
The 15-man field features three repeat qualifiers from 2009, including Barnicle's senior teammate and No. 7 seed, Rory Fraser (11th). No. 2 seed and 2009 NCAA cross country champion Sam Chelanga was the runner-up in `09, while 11th-seeded Luke Puskedra of Oregon was sixth last year. Barnicle and Fraser give the Lobos multiple qualifiers in the event for the first time.
Barnicle is making his second NCAA Indoor appearance after finishing 15th (14:43.90) in the event on his home track when he was a junior at Arkansas in 2008. The Newton, Mass. product graduated from Arkansas in December of `08 and enrolled in graduate school at New Mexico, while redshirting the 2009 indoor season. He went on to earn All-America honors in the 10,000 in his first spring with the Lobos.
Sr. Rory Fraser - Men's 5,000m (No. 7 seed): Fraser will run his second 5,000 of the season on Friday night after clocking a career-best qualifying time of 13:48.24 in his lone 5K of the winter on Feb. 12 in Seattle. Fraser is the first Lobo to make back-to-back NCAA Indoor appearances in the 5K. He also ran the 5,000 at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships (26th).
Fraser matched his seed with an 11th place finish in his NCAA Indoor debut last year. He clocked a time of 14:10.35 - just over 10 seconds shy of eighth place and a spot on the All-America team.
The Leicester, England product faced three men in this year's field head-to-head in his first 5K of the season at Washington. Fraser, who was sixth in the race, defeated No. 11 seed Luke Puskedra of Oregon (eighth), but finished behind No. 3 seed Colby Lowe of Oklahoma State (second) and No. 4 seed Ryan Collins of Virginia (fourth).
Former Lobo great Matt Gonzales was the first man to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 5,000, earning All-America honors with a fourth place finish in 2005. Gonzales' championship time of 13:45.72 still stands as the school record in the event.
Fraser - Men's 3,000m (No. 10 seed): Like his teammate Lee Emanuel, Fraser will attempt his first double at the NCAA Championships, coming back a little less than 24 hours after his 5,000 race to run his third 3,000 race ofthe season, but first 3K at sea level. He secured his place in the NCAA 3K race with a career-best altitude adjusted time of 7:56.31 en route to a victory over a largely professional field that featured seven former All-Americans at the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque (Jan. 30). Fraser's raw time of 8:08.29 still stands as the Albuqeurque Convention Center record, bettering the times Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp ran at the facility on Feb. 28 at the USA Championships.
Sr. Sandy Fortner - Women's Pentathlon (No. 4 seed): Fortner makes her return to the NCAA Championships after taking a medical redshirt for the 2009 indoor and outdoor seasons to repair a broken kneecap. The Fort Sumner, N.M. product punched her ticket with a school record score of 4,147 en route to a victory over defending NCAA champion Amy Otis of BYU (4,053) at the MWC Championships in Albuquerque on Feb. 25.
Fortner will be part of a veteran field on Saturday as one of nine women in the field of 17 that is making a repeat appearance in the NCAA pentathlon competition, including the `09 champion Otis (No. 9 seed). The top five seeds in the 2010 Championships are all NCAA pentathlon veterans. Top-ranked Liane Weber of Clemson was sixth in `09, while No. 2 Brianne Thiesen of Oregon was third, No. 3 Chantae McMillan of Nebraska was eighth, and No. 5 Chelsea Carrier was 15th. No. 13 seed Megan Wheatly of Nebraska earned All-America honors last year with a fourth place finish.
Fortner is the lone woman in UNM history to compete in the NCAA pentathlon, finishing 12th (3,905) in her debut as a junior in 2008. Triple jumper Deanna Young became the first Lobo woman to earn All-America honors (T-12th) indoors. The UNM women have never scored at the NCAA Indoor Championships, however.