Outdoor Track: Lobo Field Athletes Shine In The Sun City
EL PASO, Texas -- The University of New Mexico turned in its finest day of field event performances under head coach Matt Henry, despite a withering dust and wind storm which plagued the UTEP Twilight meet on Saturday night at Kidd Field. Three more Lobos earned qualifying marks for the NCAA Midwest Regional meet, while sophomore Jamie Fishencord shattered the six-year-old UNM record in the hammer throw. New Mexico also won eight events and recorded season-best results in nine events.
"I don't know if this wasn't our best day in the field events," said Henry. "Obviously the windy conditions made things tough for everyone on the oval, but we had some people who really needed this meet. I'm really pleased with how well we competed today."
Fishencord opened the afternoon with a bang, launching the hammer 154 feet to erase Chelsea Stephen's 1997 school record of 149-11.00. The Littleton, Colo. native eclipsed her previous best by nearly 24 feet to finish second overall. Fellow sophomore Amanda Barnes also had her best career hammer performance, recording a mark of 147-08 (4th).
Junior Erin Johnson then turned in one of the highlights of the day, improving on her previous collegiate best by a full two inches with a regional qualifying mark of 5-07.00 in the high jump. Johnson, who leaped a season-best 5-04.50 last weekend at Colorado State, finished second in the event.
Senior Keren Sari-Bentzur kept the momentum rolling with a eagerly-awaited season best leap of 20-01.00 to win her first long jump competition of the year. Sari-Bentzur's mark was 9.5 inches over her previous season best and secured her place in the Midwest regional long jump field as well. Boasting a personal-best mark of 20-03, the Omer, Israel native had not cleared 20-feet since April of 2002.
Following Barnes' victory in the shot put (47-03.25), junior Jason Barkermeyer continued his fine season by earning a regional qualifying berth in the discus. Barkermeyer unleashed a throw of 169-06 on his second attempt to lead all collegiate competitors (2nd overall). The Belen, N.M. native's previous career best had been a mark of 160-08, recorded earlier this year at LSU. Barnes then responded with her career best in the discus, notching a mark of 137-04 (3rd), which is the best on the team this year.
New Mexico also had several fine performances in the final field event of the night, the men's and women's javelin. UNM finished 2-3-4 in the men's section as junior Jimmy Minner (2nd) and redshirt freshman Ruben Trujillo (3rd) each recorded collegiate bests. Minner's joined teammate Matt Keeran in the Midwest javelin field with his throw of 204 feet, three above his previous best. Trujillo threw 10 feet over his season best (193-06), while freshman decathlete Dan Feltman was fourth with a toss of 179-02. Sophomore Veronica Gonzales then cruised to victory in the women's section, finishing with a career best mark of 141-01 to improve her regional seeding. True freshman Amanda Grover held on to second place (113-08)despite suffering a painful abdominal injury on her final throw.
On the track, the UNM men's 4x100m relay team of junior Chris Garofola, senior David Lloyd, senior Nick Lott and junior Ahmed Raji opened with its fastest time of the year. The foursome clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 41.02 to finish just 1.19 seconds behind a powerful UTEP relay team.
Later in the evening, Lloyd recorded his second NCAA regional qualifying time of the year, clocking an altitude-adjusted 52.08 to finish his career undefeated in four career 400-meter hurdles races at Kidd Field. Junior Matt Bishop was second (54.67) in his first race back from a lingering hamstring injury which had sidelined him since late in the indoor season.
New Mexico also received solid performances from juniors Sean Flaherty and Sarah Gonzales who each earned their first career victories in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters, respectively. Other notable performers included: junior Amanda Swann (2nd - 1,500m), freshman RaShawn Jackson and senior Nick Lott (2-3 in the 400m), sophomore Erin Teske (team-best 12.70 - 100m), freshman Kimilia Davis (team-best 24.94 - 200m) and Garofola (repeat winner at Kidd Field - 110m hurdles).
New Mexico will take a well-deserved week off from competition before welcoming seven teams for the 2003 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Track Championships at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium in Albuquerque. Complete results of the UTEP Twilight meet will be available on www.utepathletics.com. !