NEW ORLEANS — The University of New Mexico men's cross country and track & field teams stand in 15th place in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's John McDonnell Program of the Year award standings for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Led by head coach Joe Franklin, the Lobos have combined to gain 59 points in the in-progress report—which accounts for the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships and 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships—and are in position to notch their fifth-consecutive recognition for the award.
At the UNM- and Albuquerque-hosted 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships last weekend, the Lobos registered a 45th-place finish behind Mountain West Men’s Indoor Student Athlete of the Year Luke Caldwell.
Caldwell took sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a school-record time, and was joined by Kendall Spencer in scoring for UNM. Spencer placed eighth in the long jump as both earned All-American status from the USTFCCCA.
New Mexico has scored six straight years at the NCAA indoor meet.
At the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships, Caldwell again paced the Lobos to an 11th-place team finish. Caldwell finished in 10th place, with Patrick Zacharias (53rd place), Adam Bitchell (61st), Ross Matheson (131st) and Sean Stam (157th) also scoring.
The Lobos have scored five straight years at the NCAA cross country championships.
The only championship left to determine the final standing for the Program of the Year award is the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held June 11-14, in Eugene, Ore.
The Lobos also finished in the final standing for the award the past four years, dating back to 2010. Last year, New Mexico placed 13th, with a 21st-place finish in cross country, a 49th-place finish in indoor track and a 28th-place finish in outdoor track.
In 2012, New Mexico finished the season ranked a program-best 11th (31st-place finish in cross country, 15th in indoor track and 33rd in outdoor track.), while 2011 saw the Lobos take 14th overall (16th in cross country, 50th in indoor track, and 41st in outdoor track). In 2010 the Lobos also placed 11th (8th in cross country, 8th in indoor track, 55th in outdoor track).
New Mexico is one of only two schools to with the chance to finish in the final standings each of the last five years, along with Texas.
Presented annually, the NCAA Division I Program of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding cross country and track & field programs in Division I based on the institution's performance through the academic year. Final standings are predicated on the institution's combined finishes at the NCAA Division I Championships in cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field.
To be eligible for the award, teams must qualify for all three NCAA Championships. Scores for award are calculated from the team's each finish at those championships (i.e., first place earns one point, second place two points, 31st place 31 points, etc.). The team with the lowest total score for all three championships receives the award.
Only 19 men's teams have scored at the first two 2013-14 championships. Oregon is leading through two with six combined points, while Oklahoma State (9.5 points) and Arkansas (14) round out the top three.
The Lobos will return to action in next weekend when they open the outdoor season at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas.