Outdoor Track: Lobos Set To Host Mountain West Conference Championshipsin.).
UPCOMING The University of New Mexico welcomes seven teams to Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium for the 2003 Mountain West Conference Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The meet opens at noon on Wednesday, May 14, with the two-day decathlon and heptathlon competition. Track and field event preliminaries and finals continue on Friday and Saturday. Admission to the decathlon/heptathlon competition is free, while single session tickets for Friday and Saturday are six dollars for adults and three dollars for children (high school and under).
New Mexico is hosting its first conference championship meet since the 1996 Western Athletic Conference championships where UNM finished seventh (22.5 points) and fifth (47 points) in the men’s and women’s competitions, respectively. This will also be the Lobos’ first full home meet of the year. UNM’s home-opener, the Modrall Sperling Don Kirby Invitational (March 20-21), was limited to multi-event competition only after heavy snows forced most of the visiting teams, including MWC foes Colorado State and Wyoming, to cancel their travel plans. The Lobos have not competed since busing down to El Paso for the UTEP Twilight meet on May 3.
MEET INFORMATION/RESULTS Complete information and results from the 2003 MWC Outdoor Track & Field Championships can be found on the official website of the Mountain West Conference and University of New Mexico athletic department:
www.themwc.com or www.golobos.com
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAIN WEST The Mountain West Conference is comprised of eight full women’s track and field teams and five complete men’s squads. UNLV and San Diego State do not have a men’s track program, while the Utah men’s team is limited to distance runners only.
New Mexico is the fourth school to host the MWC Outdoor Championships, following Brigham Young (2000), San Diego State (2001) and Air Force (2002). The BYU men and women have swept each of the first three outdoor conference meets and have captured 13 of the 14 indoor and outdoor titles since the inaugural league championship meet in 2000. Colorado State is the only school to dethrone the Cougars when its men won the 2002 MWC Indoor Track Championship.
This spring, the BYU men (No. 9 - Trackshark.com) and women (No. 13 - Trackshark.com) are both ranked among the nation’s top-25. San Diego State has also earned a lofty national ranking, sitting at No. 9 on the Trackshark.com women’s top-25 list (May 7).
UNM OUTDOOR MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY New Mexico has captured seven men’s and women’s event titles in three Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championship meet appearances. Junior Mark Johnson is the defending champion in the decathlon, while fellow junior Ben Ortega (a redshirt this season) won the 10,000 meters as a true freshman in 2001. Former Lobo Monique Harris is the only triple jump champion in MWC history, capturing three-straight titles from 2000-2002, while ex-UNM sprinter Arline Smith swept the 200 and 400-meter races in 2001. The Lobo men have also earned all-MWC honors in 15 individual events and three relays, while the women have captured all-conference laurels in 13 individual events and two relays.
Last year, the New Mexico men turned in their finest MWC performance ever, scoring in nearly every event en route to 125.5-point output. Though they finished fourth for the second straight season, the men improved by 34.5 points from their 2001 total and finished just 23 points out of third to earn head coach Matt Henry MWC Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year honors. The 125.5 points were also more than the Lobo men had accumulated in the five conference championship meets combined (114 pts. 1996-2000), prior to Henry’s arrival. While the women struggled in the team scoring, senior Monique Harris, junior Keren Sari-Bentzur, and freshman Kelli Myers combined for five all-MWC honors. Overall, fifteen UNM athletes took home all-Mountain West honors, including 12 on the men’s side, while Harris and sophomore Mark Johnson (decathlon) won MWC titles.
NEW MEXICO FINISHES AT MWC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
|2000 (Provo, Utah): |Men - 5th/6 (45 pts.)| Women - 6th/8 (71 pts.)| |2001 (San Diego, Calif.):| Men - 4th/6 (91 pts.)| Women - 6th/8 (63 pts.)| |2002 (Colorado Springs, Colo.):| Men - 4th/6 (125.5 pts.)| Women - 7th/8 (57.5 pts.)|
LAST TIME (UTEP Twilight) 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 the night of May 3 at Kidd Field. Two 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.
Fishencord opened the afternoon with a bang, launching the hammer 154 feet to erase Chelsea Stephen's 1997 school record of 149-11.00. 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. Senior Keren Sari-Bentzur recorded a season best leap of 20-01.00 to win her first long jump competition of the year. However, due to a tailwind reading of 7.1, the mark was not allowed for NCAA regional qualification.
Following sophomore Amanda 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). 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. 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.
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.
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.
WHO’S IN? Entering the MWC Championships, 12 New Mexico athletes and the men’s 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 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. Gonzales will also be the first member of the UNM men’s team to compete at the NCAA Championships since 1998. Currently ranked fourth in the country, and No. 1 among American-born collegiate runners, 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 ninth in the nation with her national provisional qualifying heptathlon score of 5,236 at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Eleven Lobos and the men’s 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 32nd in the region in the 5,000 after clocking a personal-best 14:23.55 at the Stanford Invite, while senior David Lloyd’s 400-meter hurdles time of 51.87 in the prelims of the Texas Relays is ranked 10th in the region. Junior Branden Bennett is tied for 19th in the Midwest after clearing 16-04.75 in the pole vault at the Texas Relays, while sophomore Matt Keeran’s mark of 205-09 at Texas is currently ranked 19th among the region’s javelin throwers. The men’s mile relay team top time of 3:10.63 at LSU was the fastest run in head coach Matt Henry’s three-year tenure and is ranked 23rd 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 fourth and 20th, respectively. Junior Jason Barkermeyer added his name to the list at the UTEP Twilight meet with a career-best throw of 169-06 (23rd) in the discus. Meanwhile, fellow junior Jimmy Minner joined Keeran in the javelin field with a career-long mark of 204 feet (20th) at UTEP.
On the women’s side, sophomore Amanda Barnes’ school record-setting shot put toss of 48-01.25 at LSU is ranked 13th while fellow sophomore, and former high school teammate, Veronica Gonzales is ranked 24th in the javelin with a career-best mark of 141-01 at the UTEP Twilight meet. Sophomore Bridgid Isworth joined 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. Junior Erin Johnson became the fourth UNM woman to qualify in the field events with her career-best leap of 5-07.00 (T15th) at the UTEP Twilight.
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 Jr. Jason Barkermeyer Discus • 169-06.00 • UTEP Twilight - El Paso, Texas (May 3)
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 • 141-01.00 • UTEP Twilight - El Paso, Texas (May 3)
So. Bridgid Isworth Pole Vault • 12-07.50 • Mt. SAC Relays - Walnut, Calif. (April 19)
Jr. Erin Johnson High Jump • 5-07.00 • UTEP Twilight - El Paso, Texas (May 3)
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)
Jr. Jimmy Minner Javelin • 204-00.00 • UTEP Twilight - El Paso, Texas (May 3)
Men’s 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 11 events. Each of the top marks is also the best in Henry’s 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 ~ 154-00.00), Javelin: (125-10.00 ~ 141-01.00, +15 ft., 3 in.).
Men (6 events) 1,500m: (3:51.96 ~ 3:48.63, -3.33 sec.), 5,000m: (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.), Discus: (164-06.50 ~ 169-06.00, +4 ft., 11.5 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 women’s 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 men’s 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 Arkell’s 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 Like Bridgid Isworth, sophomore Amanda Barnes wasted little time in proving herself as the best shot put performer in UNM women’s track and field history. In just her eighth career outdoor 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 11-year-old indoor record with a toss of 47-00.25. Barnes recently added to her outdoor mark, with a throw of 48-01.25 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on April 12. Currently ranked No. 3 in the Mountain West Conference, Barnes placed fifth at the 2002 MWC Championship meet with a season-best throw of 46-08.75.
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 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 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 Henry’s 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 was also a new Mountain West Conference all-time record (29:05.37 - Teren Jameson, Utah) and the fastest run by an American until May 2. Gonzales’ time is still the best this year by an American-born collegiate runner.
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 two athletes (Monique Harris & Adwoa Gyasi-Nmako - 2000) honored by the conference.
GREAT FRIENDS OF UNM TRACK STADIUM The Great Friends of University of New Mexico Track Stadium is a multifunction, 5,000-seat facility that was completed for use in 1985. The complex was renovated in the summer of 1996 to include a soccer field. The track is constructed of an all-weather, encapsulated surface called Versaturf, which is the same surface used for the 1992 Olympic Trials in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This season the stadium will be the site of the 2003 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships. New Mexico also hosted the 1996 Western Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships at Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium.
The 400-meter track is composed of eight racing lanes and includes a steeplechase water-jump. To bolster performances, sprints can be run in either direction to negate the effects of unfavorable weather. The two long jump/triple jump runways, two pole vault runways and a high jump apron are also of Versaturf construction. They are located behind the goals of the soccer field, allowing competitors to compete in an east or west direction. The improvements to the facility also include the installation of lights, giving UNM the opportunity to host night meets. With future renovations to include a resurfaced track and track and field scoreboard, the Great Friends of UNM Track Stadium will soon be among the premier venues in the West.
In addition the opportunity to train and compete year-round in Albuquerque, gives UNM athletes an extra advantage. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year and an elevation of 5,355 feet above sea-level, Albuquerque is a favorite training location for some of the world’s best track and field athletes. The world class training environment and facilities at UNM provide an opportunity for exceptional running and field event performances.
Directions to UNM Track Stadium
From I-25: Exit at Avenida Cesar Chavez and head east, on Cesar Chavez. Continue east through University Blvd. and past University Stadium. The track stadium and parking lot will be visible on the right (south) side of the street, adjacent to the football stadium.