EUGENE, Ore. — The University of New Mexico track and field team wrapped up its first day of competition Wednesday at the 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships with a trio of performances on the track.
In the men’s 400 hurdles, Lewis clocked a time of 50.86 seconds, which was good enough for fourth place in his heat. The first Lobo to compete in the event at the national championship since 1979, Lewis entered with the 12th-fastest seed (and personal record) of 50.55.
But, since the top two times from each heat plus the next two fastest times advance to the finals, Lewis was on the outside looking in with his preliminary-round time.
He finished 11th overall in the 24-athlete field, and was just .18 seconds from moving on.
New Mexico also had two athletes race in the 10,000 Wednesday, with Bitchell and Caldwell touring 25 laps.
Bitchell, who was seeded 11th and owned a personal record of 28:50.43, placed 10th overall with a time of 29:16.79. Caldwell, who was seeded ninth with a personal best of 28:59.63, finished 15th in 29:48.64.
Both runners managed to stay within striking distance of a top-eight (and All-American) finish for most of the first 7500 meters, settling in the second pack of runners.
But, as the pack strung out over the last few kilometers, Bitchell kept around 10th place, with Caldwell finishing a few spots behind.
For Bitchell, his finish is the best by a Lobo in the event since Jeremy Johnson’s seventh-place finish in 2008. For Caldwell, is streak of All-American honors between cross-country and track ends at five in his final race as a Lobo.
The Lobos will be back in action tomorrow with the semifinals of the men’s and women’s 1,500s at 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. MT, respectively. Peter Callahan, Charlotte Arter, Sammy Silva and Suzi Boast will compete with an eye on advancing to Saturday’s finals.