COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Last year, the Lobo men won the program’s first indoor track and field championship.
It took just one year for the program to double that.
The University of New Mexico men’s and women’s track and field teams swept the team titles at the Mountain West Indoor Track & Field Championships, with the men winning their second straight championship and the women earning their first such title.
The Lobos translated six event titles on the men’s side and a trio of individual wins on the women’s side during the three-day meet at the Cadet Field House on the grounds of the Air Force Academy to claim the conference’s first team-title sweep since 2011 .
For the men, it was a team effort that paced the men, with medaling finishes coming across the board. 22 individuals scored in some form for UNM, tallying 166.5 points.
The distance trio of Luke Caldwell, Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias led the charge with a pair of medal sweeps in 5000-meter run Friday and the 3000 Saturday. Caldwell won both events, 8 minutes 34.60 seconds in the 3000 and 15:20.09 in the 5000, repeating his wins from the 2013 championships.
Zacharias was second in the 3000 (8:37.65), and Bitchell was third (8:39.49). The three are the only group in MW history to take the top-three finishes in the 3000.
From Friday’s 5000, Bitchell (second, 15:21.67) and Zacharias (third, 15:25.22) combined with Caldwell to sweep the medals, making UNM the second team in MW history to sweep the top-three 5K finishers.
The men also relied on multiple scores in the sprints and middle distance, including a win in the 4x440 yard relay. The relay team of Chris Kline, Mustafa Mudada, Cheyne Dorsey and Charles Lewis combined for a winning time of 3:17.75.
Lewis and Kline scored in the 400, as well, with Lewis taking second (48.42) and Kline earning fifth (49.11). Ridge Jones — fourth in both the 60 (6.78) and the 200 (21.78) — and Kendall Spencer (fifth in 60, 6.80) also scored in the sprints.
In the middle distance, Elmar Engholm claimed bronze in the mile, finishing in 4:21.27. Bitchell (fourth, 4:22.28) and Alex Cornwell (sixth, 4:22.73) chipped in additional points. Gabe Aragon was fourth in the 800 (1:52.06), with Graham Thomas (seventh, 1:54.54) and Ross Matheson (eighth, 1:56.82) right behind.
The final men’s result from Saturday was Logan Pflibsen taking third in the pole vault, as he cleared 17 ¾.
On the women’s side, Charlotte Arter and Chloe Anderson helped propel UNM to the program’s first-ever Mountain West track and field title. The women relied on scoring efforts in virtually every event, as 22 women registered a point total of 148.5 points.
Arter won the mile (4:56.73) and was second in the 3000 (10:02.24), while Anderson was second in both the mile (5:00.06) and the 800 (2:11.45).
The rest of the distance runners also contributed. Suzi Boast helped complete a medals sweep in the mile (third, 5:04.46) and placed seventh in the 800 (2:18.64), while, Amber Zimmerman took fifth in the mile (5:08.27). In the 3000, Kirsten Follett (third, 10:15.13), Tamara Armoush (fourth, 10:15.70) and Sammy Silva (sixth, 10:20.09) all scored.
The Lobos also received scores in the sprints, with Aasha Marler (second, 7.53) and Kayla Fisher-Taylor (T-3rd, 7.54) in the 60 and Haley Sanner (eighth, 58.17) in the 400. The 4x440 yard relay team of Zoe Howell, Sanner, Lucretia Vigil and Hannah Riker-Urrutia posted an eighth-place time of 3:53.39.
The Lobos received additional points on both sides via repeat titles and first-time titlists on Friday.
Spencer, Caldwell and Django Lovett all defended their titles from last year’s championships, with Spencer winning the long jump, Caldwell the 5000 and Lovett the high jump.
Spencer won his third straight title in the long jump with a MW Championship record leap of 25-9 ¼. He is just the second person in MW history to win back-to-back-to-back long jump titles. Yannick Roggatz (second, 24-7 ¼) and Warrick Campbell (eighth, 22-11 ¼) also scored.
Lovett earned his victory with MW-record-tying leap of 7-2 ½, as he also set a new personal record and MW Championship record. It’s his second high jump title in a row, and he is just the third MW athlete to win multiple consecutive titles. Markus Miller (T-4th, 6-6 ¾) also chipped in points.
For the women, Marler and Margo Tucker both set school records, with Marler winning the women’s long jump with her new UNM record.
Marler leaped 20-5 to win the title and pace three others scorers, with Casey Dowling (third, 19-10 ¾), Turner (seventh, 19-4) and Hadnot (eighth, 19-3 ¼).
Tucker claimed the pole vault victory with a clearance of 13-2 ¼, while Annie Stirling was second with the same mark, finishing with silver based off of number of misses. Tucker is the first UNM pole vault titlists since 2003.
The women’s 5000 and DMR also produced points. Nicole Roberts (sixth, 18:48.76) and Arter (eighth, 18:57.01) scored in the 5K, and the relay team of Silva, Riker-Urrutia, Boast and Armoush placed second in 12:01.67.
Overall, the New Mexico men won with a total of 166.5 points. Colorado State, the leader after Friday, finished in second with 133 points. Air Force (128 points), Utah State (109.5), Wyoming (86) and Boise State (34) rounded out the team standings.
The Lobo women earned their title with a tally of 148.5 points, easily topping second-place Wyoming (second, 84 points). San Diego State (third, 75), Colorado State (fourth, 67), Boise State (fifth, 65), Utah State (sixth, 58), Fresno State (seventh, 50), UNLV (eighth, 46), Air Force (ninth, 37.5) and Nevada (10th, 32) were the other teams results.
UNM head coach Joe Franklin also earned MW Coach of the Year for both genders, and is the first coach in conference history to sweep the awards.
New Mexico's indoor season has concluded for most of the team, with a select few eyeing the UNM- and Albuquerque-hosted NCAA Championships on March 14-15.