Outdoor Track: All-American Gonzales Finishes Third
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- University of New Mexico sophomore Matt Gonzales ran a career-best time of 28:26.88 to finish third, earning All-America honors, in the 10,000-meter finals late Thrusday night at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium. The Santa Fe native kept himself in striking distance throughout the race and even led briefly. A cross country All-American in 2001, Gonzales is the first Lobo to earn All-America laurels since 1996 and the first man to do so since 1991.
The 5-5 Gonzales ran a strong, confident race throughout, never running out of the top-three. Midway through the race Gonzales, defending champion Boaz Cheboiywo of Eastern Michigan, and Arkansas runners Dan Lincoln and Alistair Cragg separated themselves from the pack. The foursome jockeyed for position before Lincoln and Cragg surged forward, followed closely by Gonzales. Cheboiywo, the clear favorite entering the race, was unable to keep pace and eventually faded to 10th.
The Razorback duo powered forward one last time late in the race to finally pull just ahead of the New Mexico sophomore. Lincoln, a junior, edged the senior Cragg by 0.09 seconds, clocking a winning time of 28:20.20, just six seconds ahead of Gonzales.
"Were so pleased with what Matt was able to accomplish," said UNM head coach Matt Henry. "He ran a terrific race and turned in his best time of the year. Were awfully proud of him and how he represented his state. He is proof of what New Mexico athletes can do on a national level and we hope we can give more New Mexico kids the same opportunity Matt has."
Gonzales is the second Lobo to earn All-America honors in the mens 10,000, joining Ibrahim Kivina (1984). Tangi Galloway was the last UNM All-American on the track, finishing fourth in the womens 10K in 1996. Simon Arkell was the last mens All-American, earning the honor for the third-straight year in the pole vault in 1991. Bill Managan was the last Lobo mens All-American on the track with his performance in the 5,000 meters in 1989.
Gonzales will run another 10,000 on June 19 when he joins the field at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championship meet in Stanford, Calif.
The action continues today at the NCAA Championships as senior Keren Sari-Bentzur looks to close out her career with a strong performance in the womens heptathlon. The first of four events today gets underway at 11 a.m. (MST).
Complete results from the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships can be found on www.hornetsports.com/ncaa/.
MEN'S 10,000 METERS FINALS TOP-10 |1. Dan Lincoln|SR |Arkansas|28:20.20 | |2. Alistair Cragg|JR| Arkansas|28:20.29 | |3. MATT GONZALES|SO| NEW MEXICO|28:26.88 | |4. Jason Hartmann|JR |Oregon|28:31.96| |5. Ian Dobson|SO| Stanford|28:32.23 | |6. Joep Tigchelaar|JR| Florida State|28:34.09| |7. Adam Tenforde|SR| Stanford|28:37.65 | |8. Peter Riley|SR| Iona|28:38.67| |9. Ed Torres|SR |Colorado|28:52.95 | |10. Boaz Cheboiywo|SR| Eastern Michigan|28:54.62 |