Lobos Earn Strong Marks, Move up Rankings at Don Kirby Elite

Feb. 8, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Earlier in the week, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association tabbed the Don Kirby Elite Invitational as a meet to keep an eye on in NCAA Division I.

But for even the most trained eyes, it would have been difficult to follow all the lightning-quick and high-flying athletes on hand at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

With the University of New Mexico's track and field team as host, a number of elite athletes from a number of elite institutions turned in incredible performances on Friday, shaking up the collegiate ranks in the process.

“I think it was very positive, not only for everybody throughout the country, but also the University of New Mexico,” Lobo head coach Joe Franklin said.

The Lobos received a bunch of those positive results, including some new career marks on the track.

“The results might not show it everywhere, but we had really good performances,” Franklin said. “We had people making a lot of progress.”

One athlete making great progress was freshman Ridge Jones, who clocked a lifetime record of 6.80 seconds in the men's 60-meter dash. The freshman took eighth overall in a star-studded field, and moved into a tied for first in the Mountain West with his time.

“Ridge ran 6.80 in the exhibition finals, which is getting down there with some of the fastest guys in the country,” Franklin said. “It was very positive.”

Jones also climbed to third all-time in New Mexico history.

Carlos Wiggens produced another strong result for New Mexico, finished ninth overall in the men's 200. Wiggens, a freshman, made his own move up the Lobos' record books as he now is tied for sixth all-time.

Django Lovett held his ground vs. the nation's two best high jumpers.

In the men's 800, Alex Herring posted the Lobos' third record-book time. Herring ran to a winning 1:51.39 time, and now resides fifth all-time at UNM in the event.

“For him to do that is outstanding,” Franklin said of Herring.

Gabe Aragon (second, 1:52.49) and JP Cordova (fifth, 1:54.16) also tallied top-10 times in the 800.

Aragon also combined with quarter-milers Derek Montoya, Charles Lewis and Chris Kline to register a sixth-place time of 3:17.81 in the men's 4x400 relay, placing sixth.

Hurdler De'Vron Walker chipped in an addition top ten finish, racing to a 8.10 time in the 60 hurdles.

Distance runners Vincent Montoya and Donovan Torres also added solid finishes in the men's 3000, finishing fourth and ninth, respectively. Women's runner Nancy Holguin ran in the 3K on the women's side, emerging victorious.

In the field events, the Lobos claimed four more top marks, including three season bests.

Kendall Spencer's 24-foot, 6 ½-inch long jump earned fourth, while Logan Pflibsen's 17 ¾ clearance in the pole vault won the event. Both were seasonal bests.

Floyd Ross came close to a season best in the men's triple jump, finishing fourth with a 51-1 1/2 mark.

Kendall Spencer placed notched a season best in the men's long jump.

Robert Warensjo placed seventh in the pole vault, clearing 15-7, while women vaulter Margo Tucker leaped 12-10 ¼ to place ninth.

However, while the Lobos posted some strong marks in their own right, the Don Kirby saw some NCAA-caliber performances.

“You have the best vault in the country, the best triple jump on the women's side in the country. The long jumps might have been near the best,” Franklin said.

Shanieka Thomas, a triple jumper from Mountain West-rival San Diego State, posted the nation's leading mark in that event on Friday, while Arizona's Georganne Moline clocked the second-fastest time in the 400 in the NCAA.

The 60 hurdles for both the men and women also generated great results, as Ohio State's Demoye Bogle ran the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA on the men's side and Stanford's Kori Carter notched the third-fastest on the women's side.

In the 60 dash, Geronne Black of Portland State and Asia Cooper of Ole Miss notched the sixth- and seventh-fastest times in the nation.

Out in the field, a few more excellent marks were registered, including the nation's leading mark in the pole vault. Michael Woepse of UCLA notched the NCAA's leading vault and the 17th-best clearance in the world on Friday, while Nick Frawley, a former Air Force Falcon, tied for top-five in the nation.

Indiana State alumna Kylie Hutson posted her own spectacular mark in the women's pole vault and sits second in U.S. in 2013.

2012 Olympic silver medalist in the high jump Erik Kynard also cleared over 7-5 on Friday, while unattached athlete Sharon Day notched the fifth-highest mark in the high jump in America.

The Lobos return to action tomorrow for the Don Kirby Open. The women's shot put kicks off action 9:30 a.m. MT.