Freshmen Pace Lobo Track at Lumberjack Team Challenge

Jan. 12, 2013

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Not even a full year into college, and the Lobos' freshmen are competing like veterans.

The Lobos opened the 2013 indoor season with a solid showing at the Lumberjack Team Challenge in Flagstaff, Ariz., notching 24 top-10 finishes. But of those 24 finishes, freshmen posted nine them, including a handful of record-breaking numbers.

First-year sprinters Ridge Jones and Carlos Wiggens cracked into the all-time top-10 in the men's 60-meter dash, while freshman heptathlete Holly Van Grinsven did the same in the women's 60 hurdles.

Wiggens and Jones first climbed into the record books after posting stellar times in the 60 to open their collegiate careers. Both clocked an altitude-adjusted time of 6.97 seconds in the preliminary round, and bettered that in the finals. Jones finished fifth with a 6.88 time (tied for fourth all-time in the 60 and the best-ever opening time by a Lobo), while Wiggens placed sixth overall with a 6.96 time (tied for eighth all-time in the event).

Kendall Spencer also competed in the 60 at J.L. Walkup Skydome, placing eighth with a 7.04 time.

"Our sprint tradition continues," New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said of the sprinters. "Kendall was just off a lifetime best as well."

The trio also registered strong times in the 200, with Wiggens claiming runner-up honors with a 22-second time, Spencer placing 10th (22.86) and Jones 12th (22.87).

For Van Grinsven, her first collegiate race followed a similar path as her fellow freshmen. Van Grinsven opened in the preliminary round of the 60 hurdles with a 8.97 time, good enough to place her fifth in the event in Lobo history. She finished seventh in the finals with a 9.11 time.

Freshmen also had strong performances in the women's sprints, with three of the four top-10 finishes belonging to the newcomers.

Casey Dowling earned ninth in the 200 (25.57), while Zoe Howell (57.85) and Jasmin McCray (59.78) won their heats and placed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 400. Kayla Fisher-Taylor, a junior, grabbed third in the 200, as well, with a 25.14 time.

Kayla Fisher-Taylor claimed third in the women's 200-meter dash

McCray and Howell also teamed up with Van Grinsven and fellow freshman Haley Sanner to take sixth in the women's 4x400-meter relay. The veteran squad of Mickey Brown, Samantha Bowe, Mia Weaver and Tawsha Brazley finished 10th.

"Zoe did a great job for her first race. She came out and ran really, really well. Jamsin also won her race. Holly ran a really good split in the 4x400, as well. They did a really good job," Franklin said of his freshman.

Julie Brasher, while not a freshman, also did a good job in the women's 800, as the junior finish second with a 2:17.80 time. 

For the men trackers, De'Vron Walker tallied a fourth-place mark in the 60 hurdles of 8.32, and Logan Rosenberg seized second in the mile with a 4:15.18 time. 

The men's 4x400 squad of Gabe Aragon, freshman Chris Kline, JP Cordova and Alex Herring placed sixth with a 3:24.19 time.

Out in the field, the Lobo upperclassmen took control.

Indoor pole vault record holder Amber Menke won the women's pole vault with a 12-foot, 8 1/4-inch mark, while Margo Tucker tied for second with a 12-4 1/2 clearance. Emily Heisler and Nathalie Busk both reached 11-6 1/2 to tie for sixth, while another freshman, Annie Stirling, claimed ninth with a 11 3/4 mark.

"Having Amber back was great after redshirting [the 2012] outdoor," Franklin said.

The men's pole vaulter also had a nice day, as Logan Pflibsen placed fourth (16-3 1/2) and Robert Warensjo finished tied for fifth (15-9 3/4).

Marin Schweigert added to the solid showing in the field events, nabbing a fifth-place finish in the high jump, clearing 5-2 1/4.

The Lobos will return to Albuquerque to open a four-week homestand, starting with the Cherry & Silver Invitational on Friday.