Lobo Track Aims for Improvement with Big Meet on Horizon

Jan. 30, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The big meet isn't until next week, but the Lobos aren't taking this weekend off.

The University of New Mexico's track and field teams are hosting the New Mexico Classic this weekend, Feb. 1-2, and are looking for improvement before next weekend's first-class Don Kirby Elite Invitational.

With a number of nationally ranked squads coming to Albuquerque for the Don Kirby on Feb. 8, the Lobos are preparing by hosting strong, and large, field at Albuquerque Convention Center this weekend.

However, New Mexico has been improving and making strides in the national rankings the last few meets, and posted its best effort this past weekend at the New Mexico Invitational and UW Invitational.

At the New Mexico Invitational, the Lobos registered eight marks that rank in the top 100 in the NCAA, including three in the nation's top 30.

Adam Bitchell and Luke Caldwell were two of those top-30 Lobos, as the pair notched scorching times in the mile. Bitchell ran an altitude-adjusted time of 3:59.83 to rank 12th in the nation, while Caldwell zipped to an adjusted time of 4:03.47 to rank 28th.

Floyd Ross also broke into the upper echelon of the NCAA rankings last week, after tallying a triple jump mark of 51 feet, 5 inches. He checks in at eighth in the nation with that mark.

Josephine Moultrie also did work last weekend, as she snapped a school record at the UW Invitational in Seattle. The reigning Mountain West Women's Indoor Athlete of the Week ran a 9:06.35 time in the 3000-meter run, which not only set a new UNM standard, but also ranks fourth in the nation in 2013.

Ridge Jones looks to improve on his 60-meter time this weekend.

This weekend, however, projects differently for New Mexico. Most of the Lobos' headliners are taking this meet off in preparation for the Don Kirby, and a number of athletes are aiming to better their marks.

With New Mexico's jumpers and most of its distance runners idle, the Lobos will look to their sprinters, mid-distance runners and pole vaulters for strong performances.

Sam Evans and Ridge Jones are two of those runners looking to make their marks at the New Mexico Classic. Both are having solid seasons, as Evans holds the Mountain West's leading 800-meter time and Jones has the conference's third-fastest 60-meter time.

For the pole vaulters, Amber Menke looks to top 13 feet for the first time this year after clearing a season-best 12-11 1/2 two weeks ago, while Logan Pflibsen looks to better his season-best mark of 16-3 1/2.

Milers Bitchell and Caldwell are also slated for another run, as both try to edge under four minutes on the track.

That group, along with the rest of the Lobos in action, will face stiff competition, including a strong Arizona squad that is coming back for the Don Kirby.

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) tabbed the Wildcats' men's and women's squads as top-15 teams, as the Arizona men rank 10th in the nation and the Arizona women 13th.

Other Division I institutions participating include Miami (Fla.), UTEP, Washington, Tulane and New Mexico State. MW rivals San Diego State and Air Force will also match-up with the Lobos. The Aztecs bring in the nation's 23rd-ranked women's team.

Also competing this weekend are a trio of Olympic athletes. Carmelita Jeter--a gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 4x100 relay and silver medalist in the 100--will be in attendance, as will Jason Richardson (silver in the 60 hurdles in 2012) and Alysia Montaño (fifth in the 800 in 2012).

Currently, the Lobo men check in with a No. 3 ranking in the Men's Mountain Region Index that was released by the USTFCCCA on Tuesday. The men also rank 30th in the nation. The Lobo women are ranked 5th in the women's version of the same rankings.

The meet starts Friday at 3 p.m. MT with the Women's Long Jump, and is followed up Saturday with the Women's Shot Put at 10:30 a.m.

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