Lobos Top Athletes to Debut at Home-Opening Cherry & Silver Invite

Jan. 17, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At last week’s season opener, the freshmen stole the show.

But at this weekend’s home openers, the Lobo veterans look to return to the top.

After riding a combination of freshman talent and veteran savvy at the Lumberjack Team Challenge, the University of New Mexico’s track and field teams are hosting the Cherry & Silver Invitational this weekend, Jan. 18-19.

The first of four consecutive meets at the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Cherry & Silver Invitational will see almost all of the Lobos’ top athletes competing for the first time in 2013, including jumpers Kendall Spencer and Floyd Ross on the men’s side.

However, last week’s Lumberjack Team Challenge was dominated by the newcomers. New Mexico, travelling a small squad of just 37 athletes to Flagstaff, Ariz., saw a handful of first-year athletes register some impressive collegiate debuts.

First-year sprinters Ridge Jones and Carlos Wiggens cracked into the all-time top-10 in the men’s 60-meter dash, while freshman heptathlete Holly Van Grinsven did the same in the women’s 60 hurdles.

Freshmen also performed well in the sprints, as Zoe Howell and Jasmin McCray won their heats and placed top-10 in the 400-meter dash and Casey Dowling earned ninth in the 200.

But, some upperclassmen also tallied superlative marks in Flagstaff. Amber Menke won the women’s pole vault with a 12-foot, 8 1/4-inch mark, good enough for a Mountain West Women’s Indoor Athlete of the Week nod, while Margo Tucker tied for second with a 12-4 1/2 clearance.

Reigning MW Women's Indoor Athlete of Week Amber Menke looks to continue her early success.

And while some of the Lobos’ main athletes made the trip to the Lumberjack Team Challenge, this weekend looks to be different with a majority of Lobos’ headliners competing.

New Mexico’s top returners, Spencer and Ross, are slated to compete in the long jump, and the Lobos will also debut Django Lovett and Yannick Roggatz for the men in the jumps.

The UNM sprinters will also compete in full strength, as will New Mexico’s talented pole vaulters, led by Logan Pflibsen and his fourth-place finish from last weekend.

With the exception of the New Mexico distance runners, almost all of the Lobos’ best will be active this weekend.

The same is true for the women’s team, as it starts to compete most of its main athletes in their specialties, excepting the distance runners.

Along with Menke, New Mexico is slated to compete its top jumpers and sprinters – including seniors Shirley Pitts and Precious Selmon.

The Lobos look to compete against some very staunch competition, with the likes of BYU (No. 13 men), California (No. 9 women), San Diego State (No. 20 women) and Stanford (No. 15 men and No. 13 women) competing.

Division II powerhouses Adams State (No. 2 men and No. 3 women in the DII polls) and Grand Canyon (No. 1 men, No. 4 women) are also participating, which prompted the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) to name the Cherry & Silver as the Division II Meet of The Week.

The meet starts Friday at 3 p.m. MT with two sections of the Women's Long Jump, and is followed up Saturday with the conclusion of the Women's Long Jump at 9 a.m.

Check liverunningresults.com throughout the meet for live results and GoLobos.com after the meet Saturday for a full recap and photos.