MADISON, Wis. — The point of this trip was all business.
And the Lobos certain took care of it.
The University of New Mexico's nationally ranked cross-country teams powered to stellar performances at the fifth-annual Wisconsin adidas Invitational, as the No. 25 men seized fifth place and the No. 7 claimed sixth.
“It was solid,” head coach Joe Franklin said. “I think we’re going to continue to get better and now we’re in recovery phase. We just have to make sure we get ready for the conference championships in two week.”
Behind skilled runs by veterans Luke Caldwell and Charlotte Arter, the Lobos tallied a number of victories over ranked competition and strengthened their postseason résumés heading into the Mountain West Championships in two weeks.
On the men’s side, Caldwell led the men to their fifth-place finish by dint of his sixth team-leading performance in his last seven meets. Caldwell ran to seventh place overall, finishing the 8-kilometer race in 23 minutes, 30 seconds.
“He just keeps getting better and better,” Franklin said. “That’s what great about Luke.”
Adam Bitchell and Patrick Zacharias chipped in strong results for the Lobos, as Bitchell placed 24th in 23:44 and Zacharias finished 42nd in 23:56.
Sean Stam (24:11) and Elmar Engholm (24:25) also scored for the men, with Stam placing 69th and Engholm 111th overall.
Donovan Torres (162nd, 24:40), Alex Cornwell (228th, 25:13) and Graham Thomas (262nd, 25:45) rounded out New Mexico’s finishers.
The men rolled out a stellar showing, posting a team spread of 55 seconds and a team score of 252 points. It’s the lowest point total the UNM have recorded in three trips to Wisconsin, and 99 points fewer than last year’s eighth-place total of 350.
“Today, they ran like we thought [they could] all year,” Franklin said.
But the men weren’t the only ones taking care of business.
Charlotte Arter paced the women to sixth place at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course, finishing the 6-kilometer course in 20:15. She placed 24th overall, bettering her showing from last year when she placed 44th.
Arter was followed by Calli Thackery in 40th and Sammy Silva in 41st, as both finished within seconds of each other. Thackery crossed the line at 20:32, while Silva finished in 20:33.
Heleene Tambet and Nicole Roberts rounded out the Lobos’ scorers, with Tambet (20:48) placing 65th and Roberts (20:50) in 70th.
Tamara Armoush (71st, 20:52), Nicola Hood (118th, 21:13) and Kirsten Follett (174th, 21:38) also placed for UNM.
While it wasn’t the same as the runner-up finish the women secured two weeks ago at the Notre Dame Invitational, the women still recorded a strong showing.
“The women ran very solid,” Franklin said.
Overall, the women posted a team score of 240 points, their best in the three years they have competed at Wisconsin. The previous two years, the Lobos placed 11th, scoring 375 points in 2011 and 457 last year.
With both teams taking top-six finishes, the Lobos were the one of two institutions — out of 37 women’s teams and 35 men’s teams competing at the meet — to place both teams in the top-10, joining Arkansas’ second-place women and seventh-place men.
“If you look at teams throughout the country, there aren’t many that [perform well] on both the men’s and women’s side on a consistent basis,” Franklin said. “And we continue to do that on the men’s and women’s side.”
On top of that, both teams also continued to bolster their résumés for the national championships.
The men registered victories over 15 ranked teams, including 11 teams currently ranked above them, lending a great deal of credence to their championship credentials. The women also nabbed a handful of wins, topping 12 other ranked teams.
“It gives us confidence, Franklin said. “Now the goal is to have a good race two week up in Air Force.”
The Lobos will have a week off before heading to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the Mountain West Cross Country Championships on Nov. 1.