Lobo Field Athletes Cruise at Season-Opening UTEP Springtime Invite

March 23, 2013

EL PASO, Texas — With the wind howling, the Lobos howled right back.

The University of New Mexico track and field team braved blustery conditions at the UTEP Springtime Invitational on Saturday, as the Lobos posted strong performances across the board at their season opener.

New Mexico's field athletes, in particular, registered a number of noteworthy marks at Kidd Field in El Paso, Texas, despite the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory for the duration of the meet.

Still, the gusts and dust clouds didn't stop the Lobos.

From the field events alone, New Mexico tallied a dozen top-10 finishes — six in the top-five — while nabbing another 13 top-10 finishes — two in the top-five — from the races.

Leading the charge were the women's pole vaulters, who combined for four top-10 marks. Amber Menke's vault of 12 feet, 4 1/2 inches claimed third, while Margo Tucker and Annie Stirling both cleared 12 1/2 to place fifth and seventh, respectively.

Emily Heisler 10th-place finish of 11-2 1/2 also took top-10 honors.

Jumpers Marin Schweigert and Holly Van Grinsven also notched solid marks, as Schweigert placed third in the high jump with a 5-3 3/4 mark and Van Grinsven claimed eighth in the long jump with a wind-assisted mark of 17-8 1/4. (Any result with a tailwind exceeding 2 meters per second is considered wind-assisted.)

Kelsea Hawkins, a transfer from Arizona State in her first action with the Lobos, made a strong debut in the javelin throw with her seventh-place showing of 117-5.

The men's field athletes also got off to solid starts and were headlined by Michael Ellis' win in the javelin throw. His mark of 185-5, coupled with Marcus Simon's third-place toss of 176-2, gave New Mexico two of the top-three finishes.

Django Lovett also chipped in a podium finish in the high jump, scaling 6-9 3/4 to place third. Markus Miller leaped 6-1 1/2 to tie for tenth.

Robert Warensjo contributed another top-10 mark with his 15-5 clearance in the pole vault that merited 10th.

However, the track events had their share of strong marks despite the wind that often gusted in excess of 3.5 meters per second, or just under 8 miles per hour.

For the women, Yeshemabet Turner and Kayla Fisher-Taylor endured squalls in the 100-meter dash, as did Precious Selmon in the 100 hurdles.

Turner took ninth in the 100 with a wind-assisted 12.06 time, while Fisher-Taylor placed 10th with a wind-assisted 12.10 mark.

Selmon managed a 14.23 clocking despite a tailwind reported at 5.8 meters per second (13 MPH).

Shirley Pitts, however, wasn't as roughed up by the wind, and claimed a sixth-place time of 24.83 in the 400.

In the mid-distance, where wind assistance isn't a factor, the Lobos received solid times from Mia Weaver (fifth, 2:26.26) and Sam Sheppard (sixth, 2:30.74) in the 800, and Ashlee Smalley (seventh, 5:04.99) and Nancy Holguin (10th, 5:08.30) in the 1500.

On the men's side, Derek Montoya, Thomas Trujillo and De'Vron Walker placed top-10. All three were buffeted by the wind as Montoya took seventh (10.86) and Trujillo ninth (10.89) in the 100 and Walker claimed ninth (15.03) in the 110 hurdles.

The Lobos vaunted distance team will open their season next week as they travel to Polo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational March 29-30.