Outdoor Track: Lobos Return To El Paso For Regular Season Finale
UPCOMING The University of New Mexico track and field team closes out the regular season with a return trip to historic Kidd Field in El Paso, Texas. New Mexico will take on its Rio Grande rivals, New Mexico State and nationally-ranked UTEP, in the Miners UTEP Twilight meet on Saturday, May 3. The field events get underway at 3 p.m., followed by the running events at 6 p.m. (MDT). UNM will then take a week off from competition before hosting 2003 Mountain West Conference Mens and Womens Outdoor Championships at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium, May 14-17.
The Lobos faced both schools earlier this season, competing at both UTEPs Springtime Invitational and the NMSU Invite. While Kidd Field has been the home to Miner track and field since the early 1930s, UNM has made itself right at home in the facility. In Matt Henrys three-year tenure, New Mexico has recorded some of its top regular season performances in El Paso. Last year, UNM established season-best marks in five events, including Kelli Myers school record-tying high jump mark of 5-10.75 and David Lloyds NCAA provisional qualifying time of 50.75 in the 400-meter hurdles. New Mexico had season-bests in three events in its lone visit to the Sun City in 2001 and set six current season-bests on March 29 at the 2003 Springtime Invitational.
Olympic gold medalists Stacy Dragila and Nick Hysong highlight the list of unattached athletes competing at the Twilight meet. Dragila holds the world record in the pole vault with a best of 15-09.25 and is the first-ever female gold medalist in the event. She is a six-time U.S. Outdoor and two-time world champion and vaulted 15-01.75 to win the Drake Relays last weekend. Hysong returns to El Paso for the second time this year. He won the pole vault UTEP Invitational with a mark of 18-04.50. Hysong, who won the Drake Relays last weekend with a height of 18-08.75, holds a lifetime best of 19-04.25.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS Complete information and results from the UTEP Twilight meet can be found on the official website of the University of Texas-El Paso athletic department:
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING 101 The 2003 outdoor track and field season will be unique as the NCAA will use head-to-head competition for the first to determine the national championship field. This year, athletes must meet regional qualifying standards during the season to secure a berth in the field of their respective regional championship meets (East, Mideast, Midwest, West). Once at the regional meet, athletes need only to finish in the top-five of their respective events to advance to the national championship meet. However, competitors in the 10,000-meter run, heptathlon and decathlon still must use the old system of meeting provisional or automatic qualifying standards to earn a spot in the national championship field. The following is a quick overview of the NCAA Championship qualifying system:
Regional Qualifying: Athletes must meet minimum standards in their respective events, except for the 10,000m and heptathlon/decathlon, during the regular season in order to compete at the NCAA Regional Championship Meets the last weekend of May.
National Qualifying: Athletes, except for competitors in the 10,000 and heptathlon/decathlon, must place among the top-five in their respective events at the regional championship meet in order to advance to the national championship meet, June 11-4 in Sacramento, Calif. Provisional Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K and heptathlon/decathlon who meet the provisional qualifying standard during the season are candidates to be selected for the national championship field. Provisional qualifiers are selected using a descending order performance list. The number of athletes selected from the provisional qualifiers list is determined by the number of automatic qualifiers in each event. The total number of athletes in the national championship field of each event is generally 16-18. Automatic Qualifying Standards: Competitors in the 10K or heptathlon/decathlon who meet the automatic qualifying standard during the season are guaranteed a spot in the national championship field.
LAST TIME (Jack Christiansen Invitational) FORT COLLINS, Colo -- University of New Mexico senior David Lloyd won his first 100-meter race of the year and led the UNM 4x100m relay team to its first victory of the season to pace the Lobos' effort on April 26 at the Jack Christiansen Invitational. True freshman Kimilia Davis finished second in the 400 and third in the 200 to lead the New Mexico women.
Lloyd and junior Chris Garofola finished 1-2 in the 100, clocking altitude adjusted times of 10.90 and 10.95, respectively. Lloyd also placed fourth in the 200 meters with a season-best time of 21.58*, while Garofola was fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.03*). The duo then led the men's short relay team to a winning time of 41.25*, its second fastest of the year. In other sprint action, true freshman RaShawn Jackson clocked the Lobos' fastest 400 of the season, finishing in 48.77* (5th). Junior Jordan Parker had a solid day in the field, recording a career-best throw of 155-01.00 in the discus (15th).
The Lobo women enjoyed a strong performance in the 200 meters as Davis (25.81*), freshman Brandilyn Williams (25.95*) and sophomore Erin Teske (26.28*) finished 3-4-6. UNM also ran well in the distance events as juniors Amanda Swann (4:47.23) and Sarah Gonzales (18:58.23) both finished second in the 1,500 and 5,000-meter runs, respectively.
In the field events, senior Keren Sari-Bentzur recorded a season-best mark of 19-03.50 to finish second in the long jump, while junior Erin Johnson tied for second in the high jump with a season-best leap of 5-04.50. Sophomore Jamie Fishencord turned in season-best performances in both the discus (130-02) and hammer throw (142-06.00) to lead UNM in the throws. Meanwhile, sophomore Cheyenne Renfroe cleared a career-high 10-02.00 in the pole vault to finish tied for tenth.
QUALIFIED Entering the UTEP Twilight meet, nine New Mexico athletes and the mens 4x400m relay team 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 Henrys 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. Gonzales will also be the first member of the UNM mens team to compete at the NCAA Championships since 1998. Currently ranked third in the country, and No. 1 among American runners, Gonzales will compete in the 10K at the NCAAs 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 ninth in the nation with her national provisional qualifying heptathlon score of 5,236 at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Eight Lobos and the mens mile relay team of David Lloyd, Nick Lott, Chris Garofola, and Ahmed Raji 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. Sophomore Nick Martinez is ranked 18th in the region in the 5,000 after clocking a personal-best 14:23.55 at the Stanford Invite, while senior David Lloyds 400-meter hurdles time of 51.87 in the prelims of the Texas Relays is ranked ninth in the region. Junior Branden Bennett is tied for 15th in the Midwest after clearing 16-04.75 in the pole vault at the Texas Relays, while sophomore Matt Keerans mark of 205-09 at Texas is currently ranked 16th among the regions javelin throwers. The mens mile relay team top time of 3:10.63 at LSU was the fastest run in head coach Matt Henrys three-year tenure and is ranked 15th in the Midwest. Matt Gonzales has qualified with personal bests in both the 5,000 (13:48.35 - at Mt. SAC) and 1,500-meter (3:48.63 - at LSU) races, where he is ranked third and 12th, respectively.
On the womens side, sophomore Amanda Barnes school record-setting shot put toss of 48-01.25 at LSU is ranked ninth while fellow sophomore, and former high school teammate, Veronica Gonzales is ranked 26th in the javelin with a career-best mark of 139-00 at Mt. SAC . Sophomore Bridgid Isworth became the most recent UNM athlete to join the regional championship field with her school record-setting mark of 12-07.50 in the pole vault at the Mt. SAC Relays. Isworth is currently ranked fourth in the Midwest pole vault rankings.
NCAA Automatic Qualifiers So. Matt Gonzales 10,000m 28:38.64 Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (March 28)
NCAA Provisional Qualifiers Sr. Keren Sari-Bentzur Heptathlon 5,236 pts. Mt. SAC Relays - Azusa, Calif. (April 16-17)
NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifiers So. Amanda Barnes Shot Put 48-01.25 LSU Alumni Gold - Baton Rouge, La. (April 12)
Jr. Branden Bennett Pole Vault 16-04.75 Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 5)
So. Matt Gonzales 1,500m 3:48.63 LSU Alumni Gold - Baton Rouge, La. (April 12) 5,000m 13:48.35 Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 17)
So. Veronica Gonzales Javelin 139-00.00 Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 17)
So. Bridgid Isworth Pole Vault 12-07.50 Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 19)
So. Matt Keeran Javelin 205-09.00 Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 4)
Sr. David Lloyd 400m Hurdles 51.87 Texas Relays - Austin, Texas (April 3)
So. Nick Martinez 5,000m 14:23.55 Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif. (March 28)
Mens 4x400m Relay Team (Sr. David Lloyd, Sr. Nick Lott, Jr. Chris Garofola, Jr. Ahmed Raji) 3:10.63 LSU Alumni Gold - Baton Rouge, La. (April 12)
SWIFTER, HIGHER, STRONGER Under the direction of third-year head coach Matt Henry and his staff, the 2003 Lobos have continued to improve their outdoor performances. This season the Lobos have eclipsed the top marks of a year ago in 10 events. Each of the top marks is also the best in Henrys tenure at New Mexico. The following is a breakdown of the improvement the men and women have made this winter on their top event marks of the 2002 outdoor season:
Women (5 events) 5,000m: (17:53.35 ~ 17:51.63, -1.72 sec.), Pole Vault: (12-00.00 ~ 12-07.50, +7.5 in.), Shot Put: (46-08.75 ~ 48-01.25, +1 ft., 4.5 in.), Hammer: (no competitors ~ 142-06.00), Javelin: (125-10.00 ~ 139-00.00, +13 ft., 2 in.).
Men (5 events) 1,500m: (3:51.96 ~ 3:48.63, -3.33 sec.), 5,00m: (14:08.55 ~ 13:48.35, -20.20 sec.), 10,00m: (29:11.67 ~ 28:38.64, -33.03 sec.), 4x400m Relay: (3:12.08 ~ 3:10.63, -1.45 sec.), Pole Vault: (16-00.00 ~ 16-04.75, +4.75 in.).
DANDY DUO The University of New Mexico has a pair of athletes ranked among the most recent Trackwire.com top-12, or Dandy Dozen, event rankings list of the 2003 outdoor season. Sophomore Matt Gonzales, an NCAA automatic qualifier in the 10,000 is currently ranked seventh in the event by Trackwire. Meanwhile, senior Keren Sari-Bentzur, who placed ninth in the heptathlon at the 2002 NCAA Championships, is the 10th-ranked heptathlete in the latest Trackwire Dandy Dozen list. AUSTRALIAN RULES VAULTING It took sophomore Bridgid Isworth all of two meets to establish herself as the best womens pole vaulter in Lobo history. The Melbourne, Australia native shattered the indoor record with a clearance of 13-01.50 in her indoor season debut on Jan. 25 at the Air Force Invitational, then secured the outdoor record with a mark of 12-07.50 in her spring debut on April 19 at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Following a season-best mark of 13-02.50 en route to the MWC pole vault title, Isworth became the first woman in UNM history to advance to the NCAA Indoor Championships. The 16th and final competitor selected for the pole vault field in Fayetteville, Ark., Isworth moved up to finish tied for 12th (12-11.50) at the meet.
Boasting a career-best mark of 14-01.25 while competing for the Box Hill club team in Melbourne, Isworth claimed a bronze medal for Australia at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. She is the second Aussie to come to Albuquerque and rewrite the New Mexico pole vaulting records, following former mens great Simon Arkell. A native of Stirling, Australia, Arkell was a six-time Western Athletic Conference champion (1987-91), three-time All-American and also holds both the UNM indoor (18-01.50) and outdoor (18-02.00) records in the event. UNM assistant coach Scott Steffan was a teammate of Arkells and, with the recruitment of athletes such as Isworth, has worked to make the pole vault a marquee event once again at New Mexico.
BARNES STORMING Barnes has improved her personal-best by nearly four 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 throws team. 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 has secured her spot in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships and will now look to join the national championship field with a strong performance on May 30 in Lincoln, Neb. Currently ranked ninth in the region, Barnes must place among the top-five in Nebraska to advance to the national championships in Sacramento, Calif.
GONZALES NAMED MWC MENS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Sophomore Matt Gonzales was selected as the Mountain West Conference Mens Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week on April 1. 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 Henrys tenure.
The Santa Fe native 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 is also a new Mountain West Conference all-time record (29:05.37 - Teren Jameson, Utah) and the fastest run by an American 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 mens 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. ?