Lobo Post Solid Performance with Nationally Competitive Meet Upcoming

Feb. 2, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – With the nation's best en route, New Mexico was looking to improve this weekend.

And while the big meet is still a week away, the Lobos made some solid strides.

“It's just like those old cliches,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “Make progress, don't go backwards. And as a whole, we did that.”

The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field teams posted a strong team performance at the New Mexico Classic this weekend, scoring a number of new personal records and top-10 finishes.

The Lobos registered 21 top-10 finishes over the two-day meet at the Albuquerque Convention Center, including a handful of New Mexico all-time top-10 marks.

“We had some big breakthroughs this weekend, which was very positive,” Franklin said.

A great deal of the weekend's big breakthroughs came from track events, where the Lobos notched 16 of their top-10 finishes.

One the men's side, Charles Lewis picked up two of those finishes. He finishes third in the men's 400-meter dash with a 48.19-second time, while also nabbing sixth in the 200 on Friday with a 21.87 time.

Both marks were personal records, and his 400 time moved him to sixth all-time in the event in New Mexico history.

For the women, newcomer Kendra Schaaf recorded two strong runs in her Lobo debut, finishing fifth in the mile with a 5:00.05 time and sixth in the 800 with a 2:17.48 clocking. Her mile time, when converted for altitude, ranks eighth all-time at UNM.

Derek Montoya also set a new career mark in the men's 400, where he placed fifth with a 48.94 time. Chris Kline also finished 10th in the event.

Nathalie Busk also registered a new collegiate best this weekend.

In the short sprints and hurdles, Ridge Jones equaled his own personal best in the 60 with an 6.86 time, while De'Vron Walker battled 2012 Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson in the 60 hurdles, placing sixth overall with an 8.15 time.

Women's quarter-milers Shirley Pitts and Zoe Howell also contributed top-10 times, as Pitts finished fifth with a season-opening 55.93 time and Howell came in 10th with a 57.79 time.

The men's 4x400 relay team also tallied a strong time, as the team of Derek Montoya, Gabe Aragon, JP Cordova and Alex Herring combined for a fourth-place finish of 3:20.91.

Three of those runners—Aragon, Herring and Cordova—also placed 2-3-4 in the men's 600 on Friday.

Another noteworthy career best on the track came from Friday's men's mile, where Sam Evans raced to a second-place time of 4:08.86, good for fifth all-time at UNM.

The Lobos' pole vaulters also posted some some strong performances. Nathalie Busk rocked a new collegiate best on the women's side, clearing 12-7 ½ to place ninth, while Margo Tucker claimed a season-best leap of 12-11 ½ to finish fifth.

On Friday, men's vaulter Logan Pflibsen finished with a 16-2 ¾ mark for the third straight week, earning sixth in the process.

However, as positive of a meet as it was for Franklin, it's clear a lot of the emphasis is directed toward the next meet, the Don Kirby Elite Invitational.

“Next weekend, it's UNM vs. the BCS,” he said.

And he is right, as Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, California, Kansas State, Mississippi, Ohio State, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, Utah State and Washington State are all slated to compete at the Don Kirby.

But Franklin knows that the New Mexico Classic helped make the Lobos stronger.

“It was a really good, positive weekend.”

Which is exactly what the Lobos need.