Outdoor Track: Lobos Take On Nation's Best At Texas Relays
UPCOMING The University of New Mexico begins competition today at one of the premier track and field meets in the country when it joins the field at 76th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas. Freshman Chris Ashcraft and senior David Lloyd will be the first Lobos in action today, with 12 more UNM athletes, including both the men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay teams, slated to compete in the next two days. The fourteen athletes are the largest contingent head coach Matt Henry has brought to Austin in three appearances at the Texas Relays. A small group of Lobo athletes will also be in action on Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. at the NMSU Invitational.
Ashcraft begins the section B pole vault competition at 2:30 p.m. (MST), followed by Lloyd in the 400-meter hurdles prelims at 4 p.m. Last year, Lloyd won his preliminary heat and advanced to the finals, where finished sixth in front of 20,000 spectators at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Other Lobo athletes scheduled to compete include: senior Keren Sari-Bentzur (high jump, long jump, 100m hurdles), sophomore Amanda Barnes (shot put), sophomore Erin Teske (4x100 & 4x400m relay), freshman Sandra Maxwell (4x100 & 4x400m relay), freshman Tiara Poland (4x100 & 4x400m relay), freshman Kimilia Davis (4x100 & 4x400m relays), junior Branden Bennett (pole vault), junior Ahmed Raji (100, 4x100 & 4x400m relay), junior Chris Garofola (110m hurdles, 4x100 & 4x400m relays), senior Nick Lott (4x100 & 4x400m relays), sophomore Matt Keeran (javelin), junior Jimmy Minner (javelin). Lloyd will also run both relays for the Lobos.
Olympic gold medalists Maurice Greene, Tim Montgomery, Jon Drummond, Inger Miller and Chryste Gaines headline the list of world-class athletes scheduled to compete at the Texas Relays. The four-day event also features some of the nation's finest amateur athletes, including several NCAA champions and national high school record holders. Nearly 5,000 total athletes will compete in 125 events at this year's Relays.
The NMSU Invitational will get underway at 10:30 a.m. (MST) and will feature athletes from UNM, UTEP and New Mexico State. Henry has made attendance at the meet voluntary for the Lobo athletes.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS A complete event schedule and results of the 2003 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays can be found on the official website of the Texas Relays:
A complete event schedule and results of the 2003 NMSU Invitational can be found on the official website of the New Mexico State University athletic department:
LAST TIME (Stanford Invitational) STANFORD, Calif. -- University of New Mexico sophomores Matt Gonzales and Nick Martinez turned in a pair of stellar performances in their outdoor season debut on March 28 at the Stanford Invitational. Gonzales had the best 10,000-meter race of his career, finishing third in the top section with a time of 28:38.64, 22 seconds under the NCAA automatic qualifying standard. Meanwhile, Martinez clocked his fastest 5,000, finishing with a time of 14:23.55 to secure a berth in the NCAA Regional Championship field.
A 2001 cross country All-American, Gonzales finished just five seconds behind the 10K winner, Joep Tigchelaar of Florida State. The Santa Fe native eclipsed his previous best by over three minutes to become the first member of the UNM men's team to qualify for the national championships since 1998.
Earlier in the night, Martinez ensured his place at the inaugural NCAA Midwest Regional Championship meet in Lincoln, Neb. with his 17th place finish in the 5K. The Pojoaque native finished two seconds under the regional qualifying standard and will have a chance to join Gonzales in Sacramento later this year.
LAST TIME (UTEP Springtime Invitational) EL PASO, Texas -- Sophomore Amanda Barnes recorded victories in the shot put, discus and hammer throw to lead the University of New Mexico women's track team to a 80-78 victory over UTEP on March 29 at Kidd Field. The Lobo men won four events on the day, but were defeated 101-78 by the Miners in the team's lone dual meet of the season.
Barnes' dominance in the throws was highlighted by a school record setting performance in the shot put. Despite being the lone competitor in the event, the Carlsbad, N.M. native unleashed a toss of 47-05.25 to break Myra Smith's 1994 mark of 47-05.00. Barnes, who topped Smith's indoor record in the event last month, also surpassed the NCAA regional qualifying standard by nearly two feet.
Sophomore Veronica Gonzales also had a fine meet, taking the javelin with a career best throw of 131-07.00. True freshman Amanda Grover was second with a mark of 123-10.00. Fellow freshman Suzanne Nguyen earned an unopposed victory in the triple jump (36-06.25), while sophomore Amber Nolte was the first collegiate finisher in the pole vault (10-11.75).
On the track, true freshman Kimilia Davis finished second in the 200 with a time of 24.98, while fellow rookie Sandra Maxwell was third in the 400 (57.49). New Mexico finished 2-3 in both hurdle events with senior Keren Sari-Bentzur (14.54) and freshman Tiffany Grigg (15.76) pacing the team in the 100-meter hurdles. Junior Sarah Gonzales was the runner-up in the 5,000 meters with a time of 18:13.34.
On the men's side, sophomore Matt Keeran secured his spot in the NCAA regional championship field with a throw of 199-10.00 in the javelin. Sophomore Derek Mackel picked up his first career victory in the pole vault (15-09.00), while junior Jason Barkermeyer was second in the shot put (49-07.25).
Back on the track, UNM swept the hurdle events with junior Chris Garofola taking the 110m hurdles (14.76) and senior David Lloyd capturing his second-straight 400-meter hurdles (53.57) title at the Springtime Invitational. New Mexico finished 2-3 in the 800 and 1,500. Sophomore Nate Clem (1:56.00) and junior Sean Flaherty (1:56.58) finished neck and neck in the 800, while sophomore Cameron Clarke (4:00.16) and Flaherty (4:01.67) led the way in the 1,500. Junior transfer Ahmed Raji paced the Lobos in the sprints, winning the 200 with a time of 21.66 after false starting in the 100.
GONZALES NAMED MWC MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Sophomore Matt Gonzales was selected as the Mountain West Conference Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week the league office announced last Tuesday. Gonzales is the first Lobo to earn the weekly award this year and fourth outdoor track athlete of the week honoree in head coach Matt Henry’s tenure.
Gonzales turned in the best race of his collegiate track career, finishing third in the top section of the 10,000 meters at the elite Stanford Invitational with a time of 28:38.64 to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Outdoor Championship field in Sacramento, Calif. His time was 22 seconds under the NCAA automatic qualifying standard and over three minutes faster than his previous personal-best, recorded in a fourth place finish at the 2001 MWC Championships. The blazing time was also a new Mountain West Conference all-time record (29:05.37 - Teren Jameson, Utah) and is the third-fastest in the nation this year.
A 2001 cross country All-American, Gonzales led all MWC competitors in the race and finished just five seconds behind the 10K winner, Joep Tigchelaar of Florida State. The Santa Fe native is the first member of the UNM men's team to earn a spot in the NCAA Championship field since 1998 and the first athlete in Henry's three years to earn an automatic qualifying mark.
Three Lobos were voted Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week in 2002. Senior David Lloyd became the first member of the UNM men’s team to earn the award on March 26, followed by junior Ben Ortega (April 25) and Kelli Myers (May 7). In its first two years of MWC competition, New Mexico had just one athlete (Monique Harris - 2000) honored by the conference.
BARNES STORMING Sophomore Amanda Barnes wasted little time in establishing herself as the best shot put performer in UNM women’s track and field history. In just her eighth career meet, Barnes set a new school record with a winning toss of 47-05.25 at the UTEP Springtime Invitational on March 29. The Carlsbad, N.M. native eclipsed Myra Smith’s 1994 record of 47-05.00 one month after surpassing Smith’s nine-year-old indoor record. Currently ranked No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference, Barnes placed fifth at the 2002 MWC Championship meet with a top throw of 46-08.75.
Barnes has improved her personal-best by nearly three feet since coming to UNM and has earned three career victories in the shot put. According to head coach Matt Henry, the presence of volunteer assistant coach Matt Kraft, a former Lobo thrower, this season has been a tremendous help to Barnes and the rest of the UNM throwers. With Kraft on board, up-and-coming Lobo throwers, like Barnes, are getting the one-on-one specialized training they need to take their performances to the next level. Barnes’ performance in the season-opener secured her spot in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship field on May 30 in Lincoln, Neb. Currently ranked fifth in the region, Barnes must place among the top-five in Nebraska to advance to the national championships in Sacramento, Calif.
QUALIFIED Entering the Texas Relays, five New Mexico athletes have earned qualifying marks for either the NCAA national or regional championship meets later this spring. Sophomore Matt Gonzales became the first Lobo under head coach Matt Henry’s tenure to earn an automatic bid to the national championships with his time of 28:38.64 in the 10,000 at the Stanford Invitational (March 28). Gonzales is also the first member of the UNM men’s team to compete at the NCAA Championships since 1998. Currently ranked third in the country, Gonzales will compete in the 10K at the NCAA’s in Sacramento, Calif. on June 11. Meanwhile, senior Keren Sari-Bentzur, a 2002 NCAA participant, also has a good chance to join Gonzales in Sacramento. Sari-Bentzur is currently ranked sixth in the nation after surpassed the national provisional qualifying standard in the heptathlon with a score of 5,170 at the Don Kirby Invitational. She will likely compete twice more in the two-day event before the season ends. The 10,000 and heptathlon/decathlon are not held at the NCAA regional meets, so national championship participants are determined using the old automatic and provisional qualifying standards.
Three Lobo sophomores have also qualified for the Midwest Regional Championship meet in Lincoln, Neb. (May 30-31), where they will have a chance to move on to Sacramento with a top-five finish in their respective events. Nick Martinez is ranked third in the region in the 5,000 after clocking a 14:23.55 at the Stanford Invite, while Matt Keeran’s throw of 199-10.00 at the UTEP Springtime Invitational (March 29) is 11th. Amanda Barnes’ school record-setting toss of 47-05.25 in the shot put is ranked fifth in the Midwest.
Sophomore transfer Bridgid Isworth became the first UNM woman ever selected to compete at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships when she was picked to join the pole vault field in Fayetteville, Ark. Isworth, who soared a season-high 13-02.50 en route to the MWC pole vault title, was the 16th and final competitor selected for the NCAA indoors. However, the Melbourne, Australia native finished tied for 12th with her vault of 12-11.50 on May 15 at the Randal Tyson Track Center.