New Mexico Sweeps Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships For Second Straight Year

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For the second straight year, the New Mexico Lobos swept the Mountain West Indoor Championships, claiming the 2015 titles at the Albuquerque Convention Center. It’s the third consecutive title for the men and the second for the women.

On the men’s side, it marked the second year in a row that New Mexico has had to come back on the final day after trailing Colorado State. The Lobos entered the day on the women’s side with the lead and never trailed on Saturday in winning the title.

New Mexico became the first host school in the 16-year history of the Mountain West to win a Conference title on its home track. UNM’s wins last year were at Air Force, and in 2013, the men won the title at Boise State.

On the women’s side, the Lobos outpaced second-place Colorado State 149-96. The 149 points are the most since BYU posted 191 in 2011. For Colorado State, it was the sixth time overall that the Rams finished second in the MW Indoor Championship, and the first since 2008. CSU finished second in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

The UNM women’s team was paced by four wins on Saturday, including a double by Sammy Silva in the 800 Meters and the Mile. The Lobos also won the Triple Jump (Aasha Marler – 42’-1.50’’) and the 400 Meters (Holly VanGrinsven – 54.69).

On the men’s side, the Lobos and the Rams put on quite the show and when CSU picked up 21 points in the Shot Put, it closed UNM’s lead to just 16 points at 140-124 with just the 3,000 Meters and the 4x400 Relay to go. Colorado State’s Jefferson Abbey, Jerrell Mock and Ben Larson started strong and had UNM’s top two of Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias on the ropes, but Zacharias was able to pass both Mock and Larson, and then in a finish for the ages, Bitchell overtook Abbey on the back turn, only to have Abbey reclaim the lead just meters from the finish line. Bitchell then had one last kick and nipped Abbey by 0.08 seconds to take first and end the drama, giving UNM the title.

For UNM it’s their third team title in a row, and the 20-point margin was the closest since 2012 when Air Force slipped past Boise State 156.5-154. For Colorado State, it was the seventh second-place finish at the MW Indoor Championships, as the Rams were runners-up in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014.

The Outstanding Performer of the Meet awards were both repeat winners from 2014 with Nic Bowens of Utah State on the men’s side and Utah State’s Chari Hawkins on the women’s side. New Mexico’s Joe Franklin was the coach of the year on both sides, his second straight award for women’s indoor track and his third for men’s indoor track.

Men’s Team Scores: 1. New Mexico – 160; 2. Colorado State – 140; 3. Air Force – 118; 4. Utah State  – 111; 5. Wyoming – 70; 6. Boise State – 57

Women’s Team Scores: 1.  New Mexico – 149; 2. Colorado State – 96; 3. San Diego State – 81.5; 4. UNLV – 78; 5. Wyoming – 52; 6. Utah State – 45; 7. Boise State – 40.5; 8. Fresno State – 35.5; 9. Nevada – 34.5; 10. Air Force – 33; 11. San José State  – 17

Men’s Outstanding Performer of the Meet: Nic Bowens, Sr., Utah State
Women’s Outstanding Performer of the Meet: Chari Hawkins, Sr., Utah State
Men’s Coach of the Year: Joe Franklin, New Mexico
Women’s Coach of the Year: Joe Franklin, New Mexico

2015 MW Indoor Track and Field Championships – Men’s Notes
Men’s High Jump
New Mexico senior Django Lovett pulled off the three-peat in the High Jump following MW Indoor Championships in 2013 and 2014. His jump of 7’-0.25” is good for fifth-best in MW Championship history.

Men’s Pole Vault
Apparently the high-flying nature of the Pole Vault suits the Air Force Academy well as the event was dominated by the Falcons. Air Force senior Joey Uhle took his third straight MW Championship with a vault of 17’-8.50”, followed by teammates Dylan Bell (17’-0.75”), Kyle Pater (16’-0.75”), and Tyler Ginger (16’-0.75”). This was the fourth straight year that the pole vault was won by a Falcon. 

Men’s Triple Jump
New Mexico senior Warrick Campbell repeated as champion the men’s Triple Jump with a 51’-5.00” mark after jumping 51’-4.50” in 2014. This is the fourth straight MW Championship win in the Triple Jump for the Lobos (2012-13 – Floyd Ross).

Men’s Shot Put
Air Force junior Grant Hamilton secured victory in the Shot Put with a launch of 60’-4.00’’. That mark set a new Academy record.

Men’s Mile
New Mexico sophomore Elmar Engholm won the men’s Mile with a time of 4:10.13. The Lobos swept the medals as senior Ross Matheson took second (4:10.53), followed by senior and 5000 Meters champion Adam Bitchell in third (4:10.63).

Men’s 60 Hurdles Final
Wyoming took first and second place in the men’s 60 Hurdles with sophomore Jordan Charles (7.90) taking first followed by senior Colin Herold (7.95).

Men’s 400 Meters Final
Utah State junior Cole Lambourne broke the MW Championship record time in the 400 Meters for the second day in a row. After achieving a time of 46.63 on Friday, Lambourne ran 46.55 seconds on Saturday to win his second straight MW Championship. He now holds two of the fastest three times in the event in MW history. Jarrin Solomon of UNM holds the all-time record of 46.33 set in 2009.

Men’s 60 Meters Final
New Mexico’s Ridge Jones won the event with a MW Championship and overall record 6.60 mark. Utah State's Nic Bowens held the previous mark of 6.61 set last year at the 2014 MW Indoor Track & Field Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jones' 6.60 tied for the eighth-best mark in the NCAA this season. Bowens' second-place finish of 6.64 was good for a tie for 15th-best in the NCAA this season. Seven of the eight places were taken up by Utah State (two, four and five) and New Mexico (one, six, seven and eight). Only Josh DeLoach of Colorado State joined the Aggies and Lobos in the finals.

Men’s 800 Meters Final
Utah State freshman Clay Lambourne followed his brother Cole’s winning ways by taking the 800 meters with a time of 1:50.94. Edwin Herring a senior from New Mexico took second (1:51.30) followed by Wyoming freshman Ricky Faure (1:51.36).

Men’s 200 Meters Final
Utah State senior Nic Bowens set the all-time MW record in the 200 Meters with a time of 20.80 seconds, winning the 2015 MW Championship. His performance eclipsed the previous best of 20.90 set by John Woods of Colorado State in 2005. Bowens repeats as 200 Meters champion following his winning performance of 21.11 in 2014.

Men’s 3000 Meters Final
New Mexico senior Adam Bitchell (8:11.05) used a furious kick on the final straightaway to hold off Colorado State sophomore Jefferson Abbey (8:11.13) of Colorado State in the men’s 3000 Meters. Bitchell, who had taken third in the men’s Mile earlier in the day gained his second win of the meet after taking the men’s 5000 Meters on Friday. Boise State junior David Elliott (8:17.26) placed third, following up his second place finish in the 5000 Meters on Friday.

Men’s 4x400 Relay
Utah State won its first 4x400 Relay title one year after finishing second last year. The 3:10.20 was the best time since 2010 when TCU recorded a 3:09.73. Overall Utah State's time was the third-fastest in Mountain West Championship history.

2015 MW Indoor Track and Field Championships – Women’s Notes
Women’s Mile Final
New Mexico senior Sammy Silva won the Women’s Mile with a time of 4:50.22. Her win is the fourth straight by a Lobo in the MW Championships (2014-Charlotte Arter; 2012 and 2013 Josephine Moultrie). Silva has the fastest time in the indoor Mile (4:33.48) in MW history.

Women’s 60 Hurdles Final
SDSU sophomore Micha Auzenne made it four straight 60 Hurdles wins for the Aztecs in the MW Championships (2014-Kristen Brown; 2013-Kristen Brown; 2012-Allison Reaser). Auzenne’s time of 8.21 seconds is second-fastest in MW history behind only Kirsten Bolm’s (BYU) 8.13 seconds as well as second fastest behind Bolm’s 8.20 in 2000.

Women’s 400 Meters Final
New Mexico junior Holly VanGrinsven ran a 54.69 to win the women’s 400 meters.

Women’s 60 Meters Final
UNLV freshman Destiny Smith-Barnett edged out Auzenne to take home the 60 Meters title.

Women’s 800 Meters Final
In the span of about an hour and a half, Silva won two MW Championships by taking the 800 Meters (2:11.52) after winning in the Mile earlier in the day. Sophomore Mandy Chitwood of UNLV placed second (2:12.04) followed by two other Lobos, senior Tamara Armoush (2:12.15) and junior Sophie Connor (2:12.47).

Women’s 200 Meters Final
Two of the top three finishers in the 200 Meters came from San Diego State but the championship went to Leah Fair, a sophomore from Colorado State with a time of 24.06. She was followed by Aztec freshmen Ashley Henderson (24.09) and Jazmen Bunch (24.28).

Women’s 3000 Meters Final
Wyoming’s Holly Page won the event after a 5th place finish a year ago. Page is the first Cowgirl to win the Conference title in the 3,000 Meters. With UNM's Alice Wright, Calli Thackery and Heleene Tambet finishing 2nd, 3rd and 7th, it marks the fifth straight year UNM scored three finishers in the top eight.

Women’s 4x400 Relay
UNLV won the 4x400 Relay for the second year in a row, and for the third time in the last four years. It marked the first time UNLV has won back-to-back 4x400 Relays since the 2001 and 2002 meets.

Women Shot Put
Colorado State sophomore Aaliyah Pete took home the title in the Shot Put with a throw of 53’-7.50’’. Mackenna Howard,a freshman from UNLV, placed second (52’-7.50’’) and Boise State’s Courtney Hutchinson was third (51’-5.75’’).

Women’s Triple Jump
New Mexico junior Aasha Marler won the triple jump with a leap of 42’-1.50”. She was joined on the podium by sophomore Jannell Hadnot (41’-8.75’’) and Utah State senior Sam Nielson (41’-5.00’’).