Stanford Invitational - Stanford, Calif.
When: Friday-Saturday, April 4-5
Where: Cobb Track and Angell Field in Stanford, Calif.
Live Results: RecordTiming.com
As the Lobo start to get going for outdoors, they’re also keeping an eye on the postseason.
The University of New Mexico track and field team is taking some of its top distance runners to the nationally prestigious Stanford Invitational this weekend as it starts to position athletes for the postseason.
Since Stanford’s two home meets — the Stanford Invitational this Friday and Saturday and the Payton Jordan Invitational in May — are often the best meets for distance races, nine of the Lobos’ harriers are looking to open the season and register some strong times.
“Getting qualifying and getting going again is important,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “Out of the nine that are travelling, I think most of them have a shot to run really well.”
The top 48 athletes in each event in the NCAA’s West Region advance to the NCAA West Preliminary Championship, which is the qualifying meet for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.
And since Stanford is a familiar venue with familiar opportunities for the Lobos, this weekend projects to be a strong debut for the athlete.
They’ve all run at a very high level, and [this meet is about] just giving them a chance to get competing again,” Franklin said.
There are entries from 114 four-year colleges, plus community colleges and high schools. Overall, about 3,300 athletes will compete over the two days.
Leading the charge on the men’s side are Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias in the 10,000-meter run. Bitchell will be running his first career 10K, while Zacharias has run one 10K at last year’s Mountain West Championships where he clocked a time of 30:39.52.
"It's the first 10,000-meter race for Pat and Adam in a fast race, so getting out, being competitive and trying to put yourself in it with a mile left [is the goal],” Franklin said.
The duo could both break the 30-minute mark, which would place them in contention for a postseason berth. Six of the top eight times last year in the NCAA’s west region came from the Stanford Invitational.
Elmar Engholm, the 2013 Mountain West champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, is heading to California in his speciality, as well. He carries in a personal-record time of 8:49.66 and is hot off running a sub-four-minute mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
UNM is also looking to some middle-distance standouts for strong times at Cobb Track and Angell Field.
“It’s about just competing, trying to win the races that they’re in,” Franklin said said of Matheson and Shelley.
Gabe Aragon rounds out the men competing at Stanford as he is set to run the 800. He has a personal record of 1:49.99 and won the 800 at the MW indoor meet two years ago.
“[The expectation is for them] to improve from what they did last year and for Sammy to get back,” Franklin said.
Arter and Anderson are both entered in the 800 and the 1,500, and both advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championships in the metric mile last year.
Arter ranks second in school history in the 1,500 with a career-best time of 4:16.94 and is 10th all-time at UNM in the 800 with a time of 2:10.16. She was the school-record holder in the 1,500 after last year’s Stanford Invitational before former teammate Josephine Moultrie usurped the title later in the season.
For Anderson, her personal-record time of 4:19.82 in the 1,500 ranks third all-time at UNM, while her PR time of 2:08.08 in the 800 is seventh all-time.
Sammy Silva is the final Lobo entered as she will run alongside her teammates in the 1,500. The Harvard transfer owns a career-best time of 4:24.98 in the event, set when she took second at the 2013 IC4A/ECAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
“She essentially missed indoors but is very fit and healthy now,” Franklin said of Silva. “[We want to] have Sammy get in a position where she can win her race with 200 left.”
All of the Lobos with the exception of the 800-meter races are scheduled for Friday afternoon, starting with the men’s steeplechase starting at 6:30 MT and ending with the men’s 10K at 11:38 p.m. MT. Check GoLobos.com after the meet Saturday for a full recap.