New Mexico Trio Highlights MW Performances At 2015 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (GoLobos.com) — It was the largest group of New Mexico athletes to make indoor nationals in program history.

The results were just about as big.

Sammy Silva, Adam Bitchell and Allan Hamilton earned first-team All-American status to pace the University of New Mexico track and field team to scoring performances at the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Silva raced to sixth place in the women’s mile run, Bitchell took sixth in the 3000 Meters and Hamilton leaped to sixth in the men's Long Jump on Friday to cap off the two-day meet at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

New Mexico, which qualified a program-record seven individuals and a relay team to this year’s NCAAs, finished tied for 31st on the men’s side and 46th on the women’s side. It’s the first time both the men and the women scored at a national meet since 2012.

Additionally, Silva, Bitchell and Hamilton will earn First-Team All-America honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for their performances.

It’s the first time UNM had at least one All-American on both side in three years.

Silva opened the strong performances on second day of the two-day championship with her superb showing in the Mile.

The senior out of La Mesa, Calif., raced to a time of 4 minutes, 35.44 seconds to place sixth and become just the seventh female All-American indoors in program history.

Silva started off the finals in the top three, and settled in to the sixth spot with fewer than 800 meters remaining. She cruised through the finish line with the second-fastest time in New Mexico and Mountain West history.

Only her altitude-converted time of 4:33.48, which qualified her to the meet, is faster.

She is also the highest finisher for the New Mexico women at the national indoor meet since 2010, when Sandy Fortner was third in the pentathlon. Until Saturday, no female New Mexico track athlete placed top six at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Bitchell followed up his teammate with a sensational run in a highly competitive 3000-meter race.

Against a field that featured five Oregon Ducks gunning for an unprecedented four winners in the four distance events, Bitchell once again proved his status as a national-caliber distance runner en route to running a time of 8:02.72.

In his last collegiate race, Bitchell kept contact with a mostly compacted group for the first couple thousand meters, making a move into the top eight with about a kilometer to go. He parlayed a nice kick — which he used to capture the Mountain West title in the event last month — to move to sixth place

It’s the best finish for New Mexico in the event since 2010, when Rory Fraser matched that. And while Oregon did manage to claim the individuals titles in the mile, 3000, 5000 and distance medley relay, Bitchell ran to another top time in relative to UNM history.

The Aberystwyth, Wales, native owns four of the nine fastest times over 3000 meters in school history in spite of his expertise in the 5000.

However, the track athletes weren’t the only Lobos making history at the meet.

Hamilton, out of Edinburg, Scotland, jumped 25 feet, 4 ¾ inches in the Long Jump to place sixth on Friday. He entered the meet with a seed mark of 25'-2.75'' that ranked 16th out of the 16 entrants, and managed to nearly equal that mark in the preliminary round of jumps, leaping 25'-1.25'' on his second attempt.

After making the nine-athlete finals, he didn’t improve on his first two attempts in the finals. However, he uncorked his best leap on his last attempt to secure his sixth-place finish.

It’s the best finish in the event for the New Mexico — which has qualified an athlete to the NCAAs in the long jump each of the last four years — since Kendall Spencer won the event in 2012.

Hamilton also moves to fourth in school history and third in Mountain West history.

Friday also saw the women’s Distance Medley Relay team place 10th in 11:17.98.

Originally reported as the 11th-place team (Villanova’s relay was disqualified after the conclusion of Friday's events, moving UNM to 10th), the foursome of Tamara Armoush, Holly Van Grinsven, Sophie Connor and Alice Wright combined for the second-fastest DMR time in school history.

Silva, Van Grinsven, Connor and Calli Thackery ran the program record of 11:01.44 last month to qualify UNM to the NCAAs.

On Saturday, Thackery competed in the 3,000 Meters, placing 13th in 9:26.33.

In a scary moment, Thackery collapsed on the track just beyond the finish line after completing the race. Thackery was eventually taken off the track on a stretcher after overheating during her race, but recovered after the conclusion of the meet.

Elsewhere, Django Lovett battled through ankle issues to place 16th in the men’s High Jump (clearance of 6-10 ¾), while Elmar Engholm (12th, 4:00.79) competed in the men’s Mile prelims, and Ridge Jones (14th, 6.77) competed in the men’s 60 Meters prelims.

Overall, New Mexico was the only Mountain West institution to score at the championship. The Lobo men finished with six points, the most since 2012, while the women finished with three, the most since 2010.

Oregon’s men repeated as champions, as the Ducks won with 74 points ahead of runner-up Florida (50 points) and third-place and host Arkansas (39).

The Arkansas women unseated defending champions Oregon 63-46.5 for the Razorback’s first women’s title, while Georgia placed third with 37 points.

Fayetteville, Ark. (UtahStateAggies.com) - Utah State senior Chari Hawkins capped off her indoor track and field career by earning second-team All-America honors after placing ninth and recording 4,164 points in the Pentathlon at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.   

Hawkins joins senior sprinter Nic Bowens as All-Americans for Utah State during the indoor seasons as Bowens also garnered second-team All-American honors in the 200 Meters on Friday after placing 10th in the semifinals heat with a time of 20.94.

Hawkins started the pentathlon by placing ninth in the 60 Hurdles (8.48) and fifth in the High Jump (5'-9.75'') while placing 13th in the Shot Put (37'-9.50''). Hawkins continued the pentathlon by placing 11th in the Long Jump (19'-4.00'') while finishing 12th in the 800 Meters with a personal-best time of 2:24.98. 

Overall, Hawkins has earned second-team All-American accolades a total of four times in her  career, twice at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon and now twice at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pentathlon.  

"Chari Hawkins had a great meet, she battled with the nation's best and ended up ninth after having a personal-best performance in the final event (800m). She improved her last year's peformance by six spots," said USU head coach Gregg Gensel.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (CSURams.com) - Colorado State track & field senior Justin Green wrapped up competition at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday, placing 11th in the men's Heptathlon.

Green earned second-team All-America honors for the second consecutive year, improving two spots from his 13th place finish at last year's meet. Also in 13th after Friday's first four events, the Texas native scored 2,532 points on Day 2 of competition, improving two spots in the standings for the 11th place mark.

Running in the first heat of the 60 Hurdles, Green clocked 8.38 seconds, placing second in his group and seventh overall. Next up in the Pole Vault, the senior placed eighth, clearing the bar set at 15 feet, 7 inches.

Finally in the last and most grueling event, Green took ninth overall in the 1,000 Meters, crossing the finish line in 2:45.84. His time was a personal record, topping his previous best by almost 5 seconds.

Competing at the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships for the second straight season, Kiah Hicks threw 66 feet, 2.25 inches in the women's Weight Throw to place 13th at collegiate track's pinnacle indoor meet on Friday. Wedged in a tight competition that in which just six inches separated ninth and 13th place, the CSU senior improved two spots on her 2014 finish to earn NCAA indoor All-American honors for the second straight season.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (GoAirForceFalcons.com) – With an 11th-place finish in the pole vault, junior Dylan Bell paced Air Force at the 2015 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships this evening (March 13) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Bell was one of two Air Force vaulters to compete in the national meet.

The junior entered the competition on the opening height of 17'-0.75” and cleared the bar on his second attempt. The bar was raised to 17'-4.50” with 13 competitors remaining, but Bell was unable to clear that bar. He was one of three competitors to go out at that height and tied with Nebraska’s Stephen Cahoy for 11th, based on attempts.

Senior Joey Uhle also competed in the meet, but was unable to clear the opening height of 17'-0.75”.

Akron’s Shawn Barber defended his NCAA title with a collegiate-record clearance of 19-4.75”, while Tennessee’s Jake Blankenship finished second with a mark of 19-0.25”. Arkansas’ Andrew Irwin, Washington’s Jax Thoirs and Texas A&M’s Chase Wolfe finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with matching clearances of 18'-0.50” to round out the top five.