Payton Jordan Invitational — Stanford, Calif.
When: Sunday, May 4
Where: Cobb Track and Angell Field in Stanford, Calif.
Live Results: RecordTiming.com:
At over 7,000 feet, Laramie, Wyo., is not ideal for distance running.
At under 100 feet, Stanford, Calif., is ideal.
A week before heading to Laramie for the Mountain West Championships, the University of New Mexico track and field team is taking its top distance runners to the Payton Jordan Invitational Sunday as they look to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The Payton Jordan Invitational, hosted by Stanford University, is one of the premiere distance meets of the year and provides the Lobos’ harriers an opportunity to gain admission to the national championships starting in late May with the NCAA West Preliminary Championship.
“It’s the last chance to get qualifying times,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “It’s going to be very difficult to do in Wyoming in the distance events, so we’re going to take a good-sized group to Stanford and hopefully get some qualifiers.”
The Lobos have used this late-season trip to Stanford to advance runners to the NCAAs, including school-record and NCAA-qualifying runs from Luke Caldwell last year and Sarah Waldron in 2012.
And this year, New Mexico hopes to do the same at they travel to Cobb Track and Angell Field for the third time in the last four years.
“Stanford is a very unique place for distance running,” Franklin said. “They’re the best meets in the country, hands down, and having familiarity with what happens and how the meet flows will help them be successful.”
Caldwell heads back to Stanford still hot from running the nation’s third-best 5,000-meter time two weeks ago at the Mt. SAC Relays.
However, he’ll take aim in the 10,000 this weekend with an eye on qualifying in both the 5,000 and the 10K. He holds the UNM 5K record of 13 minutes, 29.94 seconds.
“Luke Caldwell will make his debut in the 10,000,” Franklin said, adding, “it should be a really good race.”
Conversely, Adam Bitchell is looking to punch his ticket in the 5,000 after racing to a qualifying mark in the 10K at the Stanford Invitational in early April. Bitchell, who ranks 11th in the nation in the 10,000, holds a lifetime best of 13:44.70 in the 5,000.
Also running for the men are the Lobos’ top-notch metric milers, with Ross Matheson leading the charge.
Matheson ranks 24th in the NCAA in the 1,500, with running mates Peter Callahan (No. 33) and Alex Cornwell (No. 37) also nationally ranked. All three ran their times at the Bryan Clay Invitational two weeks ago, with the trio holding the top three spots in the Mountain West.
Elmar Engholm is also entered in the 1,500 along with his speciality, the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Engholm is currently 14th in the NCAA in the steeplechase and ranks fifth in school history in the event with a personal record of 8:49.66.
On the women’s side, New Mexico will compete its 1,500 runners as they look to shave a few extra seconds off their times to make the NCAAs.
“You have the women’s 1,500-meter runners that some need to improve just a little bit to ensure their spot,” Franklin said.
Of the five runners competing in the 1,500, four are ranked in the top 100 in the nation, with Charlotte Arter leading the way at 15th in the NCAA. Her time of 4:19.46 leads the MW.
Chloe Anderson (67th), Sammy Silva (72nd) and Calli Thackery (80th) are bunched up toward the cusp of the NCAA bubble, but can parlay a superb performance in the 4x1,500 meter relay at last week’s Penn Relays to improvement.
Tamara Armoush — who set a new personal best in the 800 last week — is also entered in the 1,500, and is right outside the top 100 at 116th.
Rounding out the Lobos competing are Anderson in the 800 and Heleene Tambet in the 5,000. Anderson owns a lifetime best of 2:08.08 in the 800, while Tambet surged to the MW’s third-best 10,000-meter time (35:06.56) this year at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Currently, the Lobo women check in at third in the Women's Mountain Regional Index that was released by the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday. The Lobo men are ranked fourth in the men's version of the same index. Nationally, the USTFCCCA tabbed the UNM men 30th.
Live results for the Payton Jordan Invitational can be found at RecordTiming.com. Also, check back at GoLobos.com Monday morning for a recap and results.