New ENMU track coach keys on strengths

First-year coach Mike Barbee says he plans to bring a bit of a new approach to Eastern New Mexico University track — hit your best events and hit them hard.

The Greyhounds and Zias are slated to compete in the school's first indoor competition today since joining NCAA Division II in 1984 when they run in the Texas Tech Open at Lubbock. It's the first of four indoor meets for ENMU, including a Lone Star Conference championship meet scheduled for Lubbock later this month.

Barbee, hired in November as the school's track and cross country coach, said he's not as concerned about quantity as quality.

"We're going to hit 10 events very hard, the throwing events and the 8,000 through 10,000 (meters)," he said. "Everybody is looking to do their best in May."

For the Hounds, fifth in the LSC meet last spring, Barbee plans to redshirt senior distance runner Isaiah Samoei of Eldoret, Kenya, who earned All-American status in Division II last year in the 10,000, in the outdoor season. Among other top performers are junior middle distance/distance runner Kevin Roa of Salinas, Calif., and sophomores Kaspars Briska of Riga, Latvia (steeplechase, 3,000 and 1,500); Jake Espinoza of Aztec (400), and T.J. Colvin of Sumterk, S.C. (400 indoors, 400 hurdles).

The women are hoping to move up in the LSC after finishing eighth in last season's league competition. Top performers include junior Brittany Buchanon of Albuquerque in the distances and Breeanna Pendleton of Bakersfield, Calif., in the throws, and sophomores Kris-Ann Walter of Jamaica in the jumps and Sabrina Huelgaof Lancaster, Calif., in the middle distances.

Barbee said several freshmen could help the Zias this year, including Laura Grube of Crow, Ore., in javelin and discus, and Amber Saiz of Belen, and Jherica Rhodes of Hobbs in the middle distances.

Barbee said if preseason workouts are an indicator, the Hounds and Zias will have a chance to do well this spring.

"I know we're only 2 1/2 weeks in, but I certainly want to compliment our athletes' work ethic," he said.

The outdoor season is slated to begin on March 7 with the Tarleton State Invite at Stephenville, Texas. The LSC championships are scheduled for May 2-4 at Canyon, Texas.

ENMU SCHEDULE

Indoor

February

2 — at Texas Tech Open; 9 — at UNM Don Kirby Open; 16 — South Plains College Invite at Levelland, Texas; 23-24 — LSC Indoor Championships at Lubbock.

Outdoor

March

7 — at Tarleton State Invite; 16 — at West Texas A&M Spring Break Classic; 23 — at Texas-El Paso Invitational.

April

6 — at Texas Tech Open; 13 — at West Texas A&M meet; 18 — Mt. Sac Relays at Walnut, Calif; 25 — Texas Tech Open.

May

2-4 — LSC championships at Canyon, Texas; 10 — at Abilene Christian Last Chance meet; 23-25 — NCAA Div. II championships at Pueblo, Colo.

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