INDIANAPOLIS — The University of New Mexico track and field team qualified 26 athletes to the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships competition, the national selection committee announced Thursday.
The Lobos will send 15 men and 11 women to the NCAA West Preliminary championships at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark., next week with the goal of placing in the top 12 of their respective events.
A top-12 finish at the preliminary rounds — which are split between the West region in Fayetteville and the East region in Jacksonville, Fla. — advances a competitor to next month's NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
For the Mountain West champion and 25th-ranked men, 15 Lobos have qualified and will try their luck at advancing.
Luke Caldwell, Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias all qualified in both the 5000 and the 10000. In the order of the 5000 and the 10000, Caldwell is seeded fifth and 18th, Bitchell 28th and 11th and Zacharias 41st and 20th.
Rounding out the men’s qualifiers is Richard York in the javelin throw (28th).
On the women's side, New Mexico qualified nine athletes in middle-distance and distance events, while another two will compete in the jumps.
Charlotte Arter (seeded eighth) leads seven Lobos in the 1500-meter run, including Sammy Silva (13th), Calli Thackery (22nd), Chloe Anderson (24th), Amber Zimmerman (26th), Suzi Boast (29th) and Tamara Armoush (31st).
The 26 qualifiers are the most for UNM since 2011 when the Lobos qualified 29 athletes to the preliminary round. Since the NCAA reconfigured its preliminary rounds in 2010, New Mexico has never qualified fewer than 18 athlete, with 18 qualifiers in 2013 and 2012, 29 in 2011 and 24 in 2010.
Three of the last four years, including the last two, New Mexico advanced six athletes from the NCAA West Preliminary round to the NCAA Championships.
The three-day preliminary round starts May 29 and runs through May 31.