Lobos Vying for Success at Don Kirby Tailwind Invitational

April 4, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Lobos are only home once this season, but that doesn't mean they won't look for some hometown success.

The University of New Mexico track and field team is aiming for improvement and potential postseason position as it hosts its only home outdoor meet, the Don Kirby Tailwind Invitational, this Friday and Saturday.

The Lobos, who saw some distance standouts make strides toward NCAA bids last weekend at the Stanford Invitational, are looking for the same from the rest of their athletes after they opened their season with a solid showing at the UTEP Springtime Invitational on March 23.

“It’s been two weeks since most people competed at UTEP, so we hope to see a lot of improvement and a lot of people having season bests and lifetime bests,” said New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin.

And while the focus is for all of their athletes to continue setting the bar higher, both literally and figuratively, Franklin acknowledges that the postseason — which kicks off in late May with the NCAA First-Round Qualifying Meet — is still a goal.

Since the season began two weeks ago at UTEP, Franklin has said getting athletes into the top 48 in NCAA's West Region is a main objective, since athletes in the top 48 qualify to the First-Round Qualifying Meet and could advance to the NCAA Championships in June.

Nonetheless, the weekend's projections are shaping up positively with the athletes New Mexico is bringing to Great Friends of UNM Track & Field Stadium on Saturday.

Headlining the meet, per usual, is the Lobos' vaunted jumpers which includes 2012 NCAA indoor long jump champion Kendall Spencer and 2012 NCAA outdoor triple jump runner up Floyd Ross.

The duo, who are largely behind the New Mexico men's rank of 33rd in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's first regular-season rankings, are primed for huge performances in their specialties.

Horizontal jumper Ty Kirk is also looking for solid marks to open his season, and will be joined by pole vaulter Robert Warensjo and high jumper Markus Miller in a quest for strong marks on the men's side.

However, the women's jumpers also have their eyes set on improving. Pole vaulters Amber Menke, Margo Tucker and Nathalie Busk are all capable of superlative marks, while horizontal jumpers Yeshemabet Turner, Aasha Marler and Casey Dowling are striving to contend for NCAA berths.

Ty Kirk is another Lobo jumper with his eyes set on a strong performance.


“It’s going to be the first time the jumpers have jumped this year,” Franklin said. “So making sure you’re getting six jumps in and having some good marks. It’s looks like, right now, the weather is going to be great. And when you have great weather and you’re jumping at the University of New Mexico, good things tend to happen.”

And while the Lobo jumpers are hoping for good things, the rest of the Lobos are hoping for as much as well.

Sprinters Shirley Pitts, Tawsha Brazley, Zoe Howell and Kayla Fisher-Taylor are among a number of female sprinters aiming for better times, while the men's contingent of Derek Montoya and Thomas Trujillo are looking for the same.

Lobo hurdlers De'Vron Walker, Precious Selmon and Holly Van Grinsven round out the Lobos competing this weekend.

And as the athletes are ready and the weather cooperating, the Lobos are now ready for their only hope meet, which will feature competition in Adams State, Colorado College, Colorado Mesa, Fort Lewis College, Grand Canyon, New Mexico Highlands, New Mexico State, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Western State and West Texas A&M.

Still, Franklin said the meet should be productive and added that he “think[s] it will be relaxed and fun.”

The Don Kirby Tailwind starts Saturday at 9:30 a.m. MT with the women's javelin and is scheduled to end at 5:30 p.m. with the men's 4x400 meter relay.

There is also a high school meet, the Rio Rancho High School Invitational, taking place on Friday and concurrently on Saturday. The meet kicks off Friday at 3:30 p.m. with the a number of the field events and on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the the boy's long jump.

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