UNM Track Facing Tough Test at Cherry & Silver Invite
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/23/2014

When: Friday-Saturday, Jan. 24-25, 2014
Where: Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M.
Live Results: LiveRunningResults.com

One meet into the season, and the Lobos already have a huge test.

And it’s going to be a doozy.

The University of New Mexico’s track and field team is hosting the Cherry & Silver Invitational Friday and Saturday as it welcomes a number of nationally ranked teams for an early-season barnburner at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

With the competition elevated for this weekend’s meet, the Lobos will have to build off of their superb team performance last Saturday at the season-opening Lobo Collegiate Invitational and prepare themselves for some of the nation’s best athletes.

“The level of competition goes up tenfold,” UNM head coach Joe Franklin said. “If you’re not ready to compete, you’re going to get blown off the track.”

The meet features six top-25 team on the men’s side and four top-25 teams — including top-ranked Texas — for the women.

It’s an unprecedented level of competition for such an early season meet, which is further underscored by the sheer talent descending on the Duke City.

“We could have people run lots and lots of lifetime best, compete really well and come out of the meet saying, ‘wow, that was difficult’,” Franklin said.

However, the Lobos have already made strides in 2014 and could potentially hold their own in this showdown.

Seven New Mexico athletes moved up in the school record books last Saturday at the Lobo Invitational, and more could be on their way.

“I think you find out who is ready to compete because you can’t make excuses,” Franklin said. “You’re either ready and you’re healthy or you’re not.”

Ridge Jones, a wide receiver for the UNM football team and the Mountain West leader in the 60-meter dash, is one rising star for the Lobos and will look to maintain his title as the fastest football player in the NCAA.

He will also be joined by fellow football player Carlos Wiggins in the short sprints.

Charles Lewis and Gabe Aragon are two more runners competing this weekend, while Yannick Roggatz will take aim in the 60 hurdles.

The men’s field events will also be represented at the Cherry & Silver Invitational, with long jumpers Kendall Spencer and Roggatz, high jumpers Django Lovett and Markus Miller and pole vaulter Logan Pflibsen.

On the women’s side, New Mexico’s jumps crew will compete in the triple jump for the first time this season. Yeshemabet Turner paced the women jumpers last week in the long jump, as she and three other Lobos (Casey Dowling, Jannell Hadnot and Aasha Marler) placed top-10.

Margo Tucker will lead the women’s pole vaulters, which includes Nathalie Busk and Emily Heisler, while the sprinting tandem of Peri Moran and Kayla Fisher-Taylor are also competing this weekend.

The Lobos look to compete against some very staunch competition, with the likes Texas (top-ranked women and 15th-ranked men), Florida State (No. 7 men, No 19 women) and Georgia (No. 13 men, No. 5 women) entered.

Arizona (No. 17 men), Arkansas (No. 7 women), Stanford (No. 20 men) and UTEP (No. 22 men) are the other ranked teams competing in a field that features other big-name schools like Clemson, South Carolina and Southern California.

The meet starts Friday at 4 p.m. MT, and is followed up Saturday at 10 a.m. Check liverunningresults.com throughout the meet for live results and GoLobos.com after the meet Saturday for a full recap and photos.