Caldwell Runs to All-American Status at Opening Day of NCAAs
March 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of New Mexico track and field athlete Luke Caldwell took eighth in the men's 5,000-meter run at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday.
The Betchworth, England, product raced to a 13-minute, 46.44-second time at Randal Tyson Track Center, earning one team point for the Lobos. He is slated to earn First-Team All-America honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association for his efforts.
Caldwell, just the fourth New Mexico athlete to compete in the 5K at the indoor championships, stayed within a few seconds of the leader, Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech, for the first 1,200 meters. Caldwell eventually settled into the middle of the order, wrapping up his first NCAA appearance with an All-American caliber performance.
Kithuka dominated the 16-athlete field, notching a wire-to-wire victory of 13:25.38. Northern Arizona's Diego Estrada (13:30.24) took third, and was followed by Girma Mecheso of Oklahoma State (13:40.28) in placing top-three.
For New Mexico, this is its first top-eight performance in the 5K since Chris Barnicle finished fourth with a 13:43.20 time in 2010. The only other indoor All-American in program history is Matt Gonzales, whose 13:45.72 time also placed fourth in 2005.
The other Lobo competing Friday was Kendall Spencer, who did not place in the men's long jump. The defending NCAA champion in the event, Spencer fouled each of his three attempts and did not register a mark.
It is the first time a New Mexico athlete competed but did not register a mark at the NCAA indoor meet since 2006, when Derek Mackel did not register in the pole vault.
Live results are still available at RecordTiming.com and the meet will be streamed live on ESPN3 from 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. MT.