Oct. 12, 2012
MADISON, Wis. — Joe Franklin said the Wisconsin adidas Invitational was all about "how you play the game."
It's a good thing his Lobos can play well.
With the postseason upcoming, the University of New Mexico's nationally ranked cross country teams ran well, as the Lobos battled a number of ranked squads en route to the men placing eighth overall and the women finishing 11th.
The No. 28 men, paced by a very balanced scoring attacked, posted their best performance of the season, while the No. 19 women put together another strong team effort behind ace Josephine Moultrie. Both sides picked up key victories against ranked squads as they position themselves for the postseason.
"The reason you go to this meet is to get wins over teams that will qualify because our selection is not subjective," said Franklin, the New Mexico head coach. "It's an objective selection and I think the men and women got done what they needed to get done."
The men, who have shown consistency after a sixth-place finish two weeks ago at the Notre Dame Invitational, ran in a tightly packed field and placed their top four scorers in the top 65.
"The men having a six-second spread one-to-four (our number one to four runners were six seconds apart) was unbelievable," Franklin said. "And we just keep getting better and better. When you place sixth at the Notre Dame Invitational and eighth here, that shows you're making an improvement."
Bitchell crossed the finish line just two seconds after Stam, placing 52nd with a 24:01 time. Caldwell finished closely behind, checking in at 54th with a 24:02 time, while Zacharias finished 61st with a 24:05 mark.
Elmar Engholm rounded out New Mexico's scorers, placing 140th with a 24:27 time.
The Lobos combined for 350 points, a vast improvement over 629 points in 2011 when they placed 28th out of 39 teams.
On the women's side, the Lobos were led by Josephine Moultrie for the second consecutive meet. Moultrie, who picked up a Mountain West Female Athlete of the Week nod after her fourth-place showing at Notre Dame, shined again, placing ninth overall in Madison with a 19:56 time.
"For her to come out, do what she did and run right at what the course record was last year, she just keeps getting better and better and she's really in a good spot right now," Franklin said.
Charlotte Arter and Lacey Oeding also has strong performances in the women's 8K race at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, as Arter placed 44th with a 20:25 time and Oeding finished 63rd with a 20:37 clocking.
The Wisconsin adidas Invitational, which featured 41 ranked teams competing on both sides (21 in the men's field and 20 in the women's), provided ample opportunity for teams to gain ground in the selection process for the NCAA Championships in November.
The Lobos were able to capitalize, as the men claimed wins over 13 teams ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll and the women knocked off 10 ranked teams.
Stanford claimed first place on the men's side with 135 points, and was followed by Iona (145 team points) in second, Oklahoma (166) third, Texas (267) fourth and Arkansas (308) fifth.
Arizona's Lawi Lalang took the top individual honor with a 23:03 time.
For the women, Iowa State placed first as a team with 109 team points. Stanford (181 team points) placed second, with Arizona (242), Washington (252) and Cornell (264) rounding out the top five.
Cal Poly freshman Laura Hollander seized the top individual place with a 19:33 time.
The Lobos will take a week off before heading to Las Vegas, Nev., for the Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Oct. 26, 2012.