Oct. 16, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico men's cross country team continues its climb up the polls in the most recent edition of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national rankings released Tuesday. The men check in at a season-high 12th in the nation and are the only Mountain West institution ranked.
The Lobos placed eighth at the highly competitive Wisconsin adidas Invitational over the weekend, as their top four runners finished within six seconds of each other. Junior Sean Stam led New Mexico on the 8-kilometer course in Madison, Wis., and was quickly followed by Adam Bitchell, Luke Caldwell and Patrick Zacharias.
"The men jumped from 28th to 12th, which was the biggest jump of any school in the country," New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. "You have to go back to look at the Notre Dame race, the first race of the year, and I think the cobwebs showed. This weekend, it was a very positive experience. And we had four guys really run together, which is quite honestly the first time in my 19 years of coaching that we had a six second spread one-to-four."
The Lobos recorded the largest jump by a ranked team in the USTFCCCA poll this week, as they vaulted 16 spots, from No. 28 two weeks ago to No. 12 this week. New Mexico's leap in the rankings is also the largest by a ranked team since Syracuse went from No. 29 in Week 8 of 2011 to No. 12 in week 10 of 2011.
The last time the Lobos were ranked this high was nearly two years ago, when New Mexico was ranked 5th in the nation on Nov. 16, 2010.
The men also occupy the third spot in the USTFCCCA Mountain Region ranking released Monday. The Lobos moved up from fourth two weeks ago after their performance in Wisconsin.
New Mexico's women squad was also ranked in the national poll, as they were tabbed 17th. This makes UNM one of only eight Division I institutions with both their men and women teams ranked in the top 20, joining Arkansas, Duke, Florida State, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and Texas.
The Lobos will return to action on Oct. 26 as they head to the MW Cross Country Championships hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev.