Sept. 13, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With a score of elite meets just around the corner, the nationally ranked University of New Mexico men’s and women’s cross-country teams are looking for experience as they travel to the 2012 Kachina Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15.
Hosted by in-state rival New Mexico State, the Kachina Classic will feature a women’s 5-kilometer run at 8:30 a.m. and a men’s 8K at 9:15 a.m.
New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin is looking to give some of his younger runners a bit of experience before the Lobos travel to the elite meets, which includes the Pac-12 Preview on Sept. 21 and the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28.
“I think [the goal is] progress from kids that need development in order to make that jump to elite, competitive Division I distance running,” Franklin said.
Heading down I-25 for the meet are a handful of younger, inexperienced Lobos, including seven men and ten women. Janna Mitsos and Nicola Hood look to lead the women, while men JP Cordova and Chris Montoya are aiming for their own success.
For the women, the main story is the return of Hood. While most of the Lobos are looking to improve on last year, Hood is looking for her first start since 2010.
Held out by surgery on her Achilles tendon, Hood has not competed for the Lobos since the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships, where she place 22nd.
The women took third last year.
On the men’s side, Montoya and Cordova posted strong marks down in Las Cruces last year as the team’s second- and third-best finishers, respectively. The men’s team notched a third-place team finish in 2011, and look to better that at the NMSU Golf Course this year.
For the ninth-straight year, the Lobos will take the trip to Las Cruces to take on field that features the Aggies and UTEP. Like last year, the Lobos will make the trip as ranked teams.
Both squads checked in at 24th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national rankings released Tuesday.
“It’s just continued success and continued building from what we’ve done for the last five years,” Franklin said. “New kids come in [and] kids that have been here for a while develop. And there’s some kids in there haven’t run at a national championship yet, but that are very quality student-athletes that should make an impact at the national level.”
Meet results and a New Mexico recap will be posted on GoLobos.com Saturday afternoon.