All-Americans Ross and Caldwell Lead Lobos at NCAA Outdoor Championships
June 8, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. — Heading to the national championships, New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin wanted to get people in position to score team points.
On Saturday, however, he got that and more.
Floyd Ross and Luke Caldwell both earned First-Team All American status for the University of New Mexico track and field team as it wrapped up the final day of competition at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Ross took third in the men's triple jump and Caldwell claimed seventh in the men's 5000-meter run Saturday, good enough for First-Team All-American honors from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Ross opened Saturday with his finest performance of the season, leaping a season-best 52 feet, 11 inches to place third overall.
At his second straight NCAA Outdoor Championships in the triple jump, Ross dominated his flight before unleashing the seventh-best mark in school history during the finals.
“Floyd now has scored at every championship he has even been in,” Franklin said. “And this was probably his best series of jumps he’s ever had.”
The senior out of Memphis, Tenn.—competing for the last time as a Lobo—notched six team points for the New Mexico men with his second straight medaling performance at the NCAAs.
The 2012 NCAA runner up is the first athlete to earn back-to-back All-American nods in the triple jump since Art Baxter in 1966-67. He is also the only New Mexico field athlete to earn All-American honors at the indoor and outdoor national championships in consecutive years.
Caldwell continued the trend of superb performances when he finished the men’s 5000 in 13 minutes, 55.55 seconds to take seventh place overall.
“I did alright,” Caldwell said. “I think I finished well. I felt a little bit flat in the beginning and found it quite a hard going and I let too many big gaps open. But I passed people, though, in the last few laps, so it was alright.”
The Betchworth, England, product was able to outduel a number of the nation’s best collegiate runners, rallying from 13th place halfway through the race.
“He was smart, it was very warm and he went out conservatively and picked off people from behind,” Franklin said.
Caldwell was still in 10th with just 800 meters remaining, but climbed into All-American status thanks to the second-fastest split time (1:00.35) in the last 400 meters.
However, not only did Caldwell manage to capture two team points for the Lobos, but he was able to register UNM’s first ever “All-American Triple Crown” after earning All-American status in cross-country, indoor track and now outdoor track this school year.
“It means a massive amount to me actually,” Caldwell said of earning the hat trick. “Arriving here, I didn’t think I’d get All-American in any of them, so getting All-American in all three is huge.”
Together, Ross and Caldwell combined for eight points, good enough to propel the Lobo men into a tie for 28th place overall. That finish is tied for the second best in the last 46 years, only behind last year’s 26th-place finish.
The Lobos had four additional athletes competed at Hayward Field the past two days.
Thursday saw the UNM women’s three mid-distance standouts compete in the 1500, as all three posted strong, albeit not finals-worthy, times.
In the first heat, Charlotte Arter raced to a 14th-place time of 4:19.27, while Chloe Anderson set a new personal record with a time of 4:19.82 (15th place). Josephine Moultrie, the final Lobo, dealt with allergies and illness in her heat en route to finishing 24th overall with a time of 4:31.86.
“We started off on Thursday with what I thought were two good runs with Chloe and Charlotte,” Franklin said. “And unfortunately, Josephine got really bad allergies and got sick and is still recovering.”
Since the top five finishers from each heat plus the next two fastest times overall advanced to the 12-athlete finals, none of the three UNM women advanced.
With all three women eliminated from the finals, the UNM women’s track and field team did not have a competitor in any final round at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2007. The women were also held scoreless for the first time in two years.
“All things equal, I still think [the 1500 is] an event we should have scored in at the NCAA Championships,” Franklin said.
On Friday, Junior Django Lovett placed 21st in the high jump on Friday with a clearance of 6-8 3/4. Lovett, hailing from Surrey, British Columbia, competed at his third consecutive national championship, the only high jumper to accomplish that.
“Django looked a little off,” Franklin said. “He went out and competed hard. Unfortunately when you get to the NCAA Championships, you can’t have an off day.”
Overall, the Kansas women won the team championship with 60 points, upsetting Triple-Crown contender and host Oregon (third place, 44 points). Texas A&M placed second with 44 points.
On the men’s side, Texas A&M and Florida earned co-team-champion honors with 53 points apiece, marking the first co-champions at the outdoor meet since 1978 when UCLA and UTEP shared the crown. Arkansas (46.5 points) place third.
For the Lobos, they will head home having wrapped up the 2013 track and field season. The Lobo distance runners will kick off the cross-country season in late summer, with their home meet on Sept. 7.