Lobos Aim for Success at MW Outdoor Championships
Joe Franklin's track and field squad can use MW Championships for momentum to NCAA's
May 8, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. - All season long, the University of New Mexico track and field team has been fighting for a chance to be running, jumping and throwing during May and June.
With the NCAA West Regional meet in two weeks and the NCAA Outdoor Championships in less than a month, New Mexico is trying to get into position to compete with the nation's best.
In order to do so, the Lobos will showcase their best athletes at this week's Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as they try to qualify for NCAAs and take home the both the men's and women's conference titles.
But like qualifying to the regional meet, winning anything this week is going to take the right combination of skill, preparation and luck. This is good for the Lobos, since this New Mexico team is exceptionally balanced and accomplished and is in contention to take home medaling finishes.
For the men, the talented Lobos jumpers lead the charge into the conference championships. Kendall Spencer, the nation's leading long jumper, paces the group that also features conference leaders Floyd Ross (triple jump) and Django Lovett (high jump) as blue-ribbon candidates.
Another possible source of team points for the cherry and silver is the distance events. Sean Stam, Nicholas Kipruto and Pierre Malherbe are slated to run in both the 5000-meter run and the 10000, while Matt Everett, Logan Rosenberg and Patrick Ortiz will compete in the 5000.
Decathletes Richard York and Sam Potter also project to contribute, as both finished top-five at this year's MWC Indoor Championships.
On the women's side, the headline heading into the conference meet is the stalwart distance and mid-distance squads that feature seven all-conference athletes. 2012 Indoor All-Americans Sarah Waldron (5000) and Josephine Moultrie (800, 1500) head the group that includes Imogen Ainsworth (1500, 3000 steeplechase), Lacey Oeding (5000, 10000), Ruth Senior (5000, 10000), Natalie Gray (5000, 10000), Janna Mitsos (5000), Sophia Torres (5000), Kirsten Follett (5000), Kirsty Milner (10000, 3000 steeplechase) and Samantha Sheppard (10000).
The field events also have been solid in 2012, and again can produce solid points with pole vaulters Margo Tucker, Nathalie Busk, Emily Heisler and Julia Cook, high jumper Marin Schweigert, long/triple jumpers Yeshemabet Turner and Aasha Marler and javelin thrower Greer Crabtree.
The sprints and hurdles can also bring home valuable team points, with Kayla Fisher-Taylor in the 100 and 200, Shirley Pitts, Tawsha Brazley, Mickey Brown and Rachel Kelchner in the 400, and Precious Selmon in the 100 hurdles.
Currently, the Lobo men check in at seventh in the Women's Mountain Region Rankings that was released by the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday. Similarly, the Lobo women are ranked eighth in the women's version of the same rankings. In the national rankings, the men are ranked 39th and the women are 59th.
The meet kicks off Wednesday, May 9, with the women's heptathlon at noon, and is followed up Thursday with the conclusion of the men's decathlon at noon and the men's hammer throw at 5 p.m. On Friday, the women's hammer opens the day at 10 a.m., with track events starting up at 1 p.m. with the running of the women's steeplechase. The meet's final day, Saturday, starts with the women's shot put at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 4:25 p.m. with the men's 4x400 relay.