Feb. 23, 2013
NAMPA, Idaho — Prior to today, the Lobo men had never won a Mountain West Indoor Track & Field title.
After today, they’ll never have to worry about that again.
The University of New Mexico men’s track and field team won the men’s title at the 2013 Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships Saturday, scoring a program-record 185 points to claim the crown. The Lobo women also had a record performance, as they placed second with 103 points.
The men turned out an outstanding all-around team performance, earning seven titles as they won their first conference title since winning a Western Athletic Conference outdoor title in 1967.
“To accomplish something that hasn’t happened in 47 years and never in the history of the school indoors really shows [the athletes’] commitment to each other, getting better and trying to win championships,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said.
“Across the board, everyone performed really, really well.”
For Spencer, the reigning NCAA champion in the indoor long jump, he jumped 24 feet, 9 3/4 inches to win his second-straight title. He was followed by Ross (third, 23-8) and Yannick Roggatz (fourth, 23-5 1/4) in earning points in the long jump.
Ross continued his strong performance with his second title in the triple jump in as many years. His 51-11 mark led the Lobos, as Ty Kirk placed fourth with a 47-9 leap.
Lovett rounded out the titlists in the jumps, as he cleared a season-best 6-11 to take first. Also scoring were Markus Miller and Richard York, as both reached 6-5 to place fifth and add a combined seven points.
York also won the heptathlon Friday, as he set a new personal and UNM record in the event.
Also contributing to the men’s triumph was the Lobos vaunted distance crew, which saw a pair of titles from Luke Caldwell.
Caldwell claimed the crowns in both the 3000-meter run and 5000, running to times of 8 minutes, 14.66 seconds and 14:30.30, respectively. It is the first time in school history a runner has won both races at a conference championship.
The middle distances also yielded considerable points for the men.
In the 800, Alex Herring kept the title in Albuquerque as his 1:50.59 time earned first. The 2012 champions, Gabe Aragon finished fourth (1:51.85), while Sam Evans took fifth (1:53.60) and JP Cordova placed eighth (1:57.13).
Caldwell and Evans combined for more points in the mile, as Evan ran a second-place time of 4:10.04 and Caldwell clocked a third-place time of 4:10.91.
The sprints and hurdles also contributed strong points.
The women also had a stellar performance at Jacksons Indoor Track at the Idaho Center, as they tied a program record with a second-place finish.
“It was a phenomenal performance,” Franklin said.” If we had a couple of things happen a little better, we could have been in the hunt.”
While the Lobos couldn’t surpass San Diego State’s winning tally of 123 points, Franklin still was impressed with the women’s performance.
“There were many, many good things that happened. You had lifetime bests across the board.”
Josephine Moultrie produced a number of those good things, as she won the 800 and mile on Saturday, running times of 2:09.75 and 4:42.33 respectively. Moultrie now owns the top four 800 times in school history, and three of the top four times in the mile.
Follett also led the women in the 3000, where her 9:41.29 time placed third. She was followed by Kendra Schaaf in fifth (9:45.32), Ainsworth in sixth (9:46.37) and Shawna Winnegar in seventh (9:46.78).
Schaaf and Winnegar also scored in the 5K, as Schaaf won the event with a 16:48.35 clocking and Winnegar claimed third with a 16:50.26 time.
The jumps were also very successful for New Mexico, as seven Lobo jumpers scored.
Amber Menke's 13-2 ½ vault tied for second, while Margo Tucker placed sixth with a clearance of 12-6 ¾, and Annie Stirling placed with a mark of 12-2 ¾.
In the horizontal jumps, Yeshemabet Turner’s personal-record leap of 40-2 took fourth, while Casey Dowling’s PR of 38-11 placed seventh.
Dowling also scored in the long jump, where her personal-record leap of 19-5 1/2 placed third.
Rounding out the Lobos women scorers were Samantha Bowe placing sixth in the high jump with a 5-6 clearance and Holly Van Grinsven finishing sixth in the pentathlon with a tally of 3503 points.
On the men’s side, Air Force scored 145 points to take second, while Boise State (141 points) finished third, Colorado State (102) fourth and Wyoming (72) fifth.
The San Diego State women won the MW crown, registering 123 team points. In third was Nevada (86 points), followed by Boise State (77.33) in fourth, UNLV (66) in fifth, Air Force (59.33) in sixth, Colorado State (57.33) in seventh, Wyoming (53) in eighth and Fresno State (38) in ninth.
Franklin was named the Men's Coach of the Year, while Sheila Burrell of SDSU was named Women's Coach of the Year.
“Coach of the Year honor is great, but it’s a result of what the kids do on the team and it’s their award,” Franklin said regarding his honor. “And the coaches who work with them, it’s their award. It’s a testament to our staff.”
Wyoming junior Mason Finley earned the Men's Outstanding Performance for his work in the weight throw and shot put, and the Women's Outstanding Performances went to Shanieka Thomas from San Diego State for her performance in the triple jump.
New Mexico's indoor season has concluded for most of the team, with a select few eyeing the NCAA Championships on March 8-9. A few more Lobos will try to punch their ticket to the national championship at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on March 1-2.