Stevens: Lobos' Indoor Meet Is Small, Elite And High-Powered
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/10/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 10, 2011

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Lobo Track & Field --- At The Albuquerque Convention Center
Don Kirby Invitational, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Who: New Mexico, Ohio State, Texas, Stanford, Wyoming, Long Beach State, San Diego State

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

You want to snuggle up close to an indoor track event and not have to worry about eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the event? If so, Lobo coach Joe Franklin has the indoor meet for you -- the Don Kirby Invitational to be held Friday night at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

"We usually have monster track meets. This one is designed to be user friendly," said Franklin. "It's not one of those 10-hour marathons. It's about a three maybe four-hour window of outstanding competition."

For most track fans, the marathons are just fine. However, if you want to experience high-level collegiate athletes in a smaller window of time, then bring $5 to the Albuquerque Convention Center Friday. The meet begins at 4 p.m. and ends around 8 p.m.

"It will be the best $5 you ever spent," said Franklin.

The teams involved are enough to get any track fan excited: New Mexico, Ohio State, Texas, Stanford, Wyoming, Long Beach State and San Diego State. "This is an amazing group of teams with an unbelievable field of athletes," said Franklin.

The Longhorns of Austin come in as the highest ranked team at No. 15. The showcase athlete on the Longhorns' squad is sophomore long jumper/sprinter Marquise Goodwin, a candidate for the national track and field athlete of the year.

Goodwin has a jump of 26-8.50 which already has earned him an NCAA automatic qualifying mark. That's also the top leap in the NCAA by five inches and broke a 25-year-old Texas record held by Eric Metcalf (26-0). Goodwin is the reigning 2010 NCAA champ outdoors in that event.

Texas also has a standout in sophomore Keiron Stewart , who already hit a qualifying standard in the 60-meter hurdles. His personal best of 7.68 also is the top time in the NCAA so far this season. The Longhorns also have several of the nation's top sprinters in D.J. Monroe, Alex Williams and Trevante Rhodes.

Ohio State is splitting meets this weekend, but Franklin says the Ohio State men sprinters and men jumpers are coming to Albuquerque because of the outstanding challenges in those events.

"This meet is great for the Lobos," said Franklin. "It's small, elite and high-powered and it gives us a chance to compete against competition that will be at the NCAA nationals.

"And there are outstanding performers both in men's and women's events. The women's triple jump will have about nine of the best jumpers in the country. And Goodwin is No. 1 in the men's long jump. The women's pole vault is exceptional.

"The men's triple jump has unbelievable talent and Ty Kirk (UNM) will be looking at some of the best jumpers in the nation. One event nobody should is the men's shot put. If you haven't seen guys like this throw, you will be amazed. This will be 20 minutes of pure frenzy.

"The format of this meet is perfect for fans and there will be top athletes during something almost every minute of the meet. This is one meet were we should have great attendance."

The meet also will feature a first for one Lobo. Wide receiver Deon Long, on the UNM indoor team, will run down a track for the first time in a Lobo uniform -- at 60 meters.