Distance Runners Aiming for Strong Times at Stanford Invitational

March 28, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The 2013 outdoor track and field season is just a few weeks old, and meets are already taking on postseason implications.

The University of New Mexico track and field team is sending a handful of its top distance runners to the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, Calif., this Friday and Saturday as it takes aim for postseason position.

The Lobos' harriers are looking to post results this weekend that rank in the top 48 in NCAA's West Region as they try to qualify to the NCAA First-Round Qualifying Meet at the end of May.

In order to do so, New Mexico is heading to Stanford, which will host more than 3,300 athletes and 100 collegiate teams this weekend.

“Stanford is distance-running craziness,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “Everybody's who's anybody shows up at Stanford for the distance races. If you're healthy and it fits your plan, then you're going to be there.”

The Lobos, who are healthy and have a plan to advance athletes into the postseason, are going to be there, and will have most of their best runners representing New Mexico.

For the men, JP Cordova and Alex Herring are entered in both the 800-meter run and the 1500, and will be joined by Gabe Aragon, Elmar Engholm and Logan Rosenberg in the 1500. Patrick Zacharias will compete in the 5000, as will Pierre Malherbe in the 10000.

On the women's side, Chloe Anderson and Charlotte Arter are double-entered in the 800 and 1500. Imogen Ainsworth, Kirsten Follett, Janna Mitsos and Shawna Winnegar will accompany them in the 5000, while Kendra Schaaf will open her season in the 10000.

However, few returning Lobos made the trip to the Cardinal's Cobb Track and Angell Field last year, making this weekend the first trip to Stanford for a number of Lobos.

“We're taking a lot of kids who haven't run this meet before,” Franklin said. “It's going to be a shock. … [Stanford] is a lot different than a lot of other [meets]. You have to be ready to run and run hard.”

Still, despite the inexperience, New Mexico is in good shape to claim some significant times over the weekend.

Aragon and Herring both earned All-Mountain West honors indoors on the men's side this season, as did Follett, Mitsos, Schaaf and Winnegar for the women.

Indoor redshirts Engholm, Anderson and Arter also have credentials as they head into their first ever Lobo track meet, as all three placed top-15 at the 2012 MW Cross Country Championships.

And while the Lobos will be resting standouts Josephine Moultrie and Luke Caldwell after an NCAA indoor run, the athletes heading to Stanford are entered in their main events, which lends itself to strong performances.

Still, while anything can happen this early into the season, Franklin said New Mexico's goal is clear: “Getting people qualified, trying to get to that elusive top-48.”

Which at Stanford, where postseason implications are in full swing, might just happen.