Soccer event, you might call it the national semis or maybe World Cup semis.
The Don Kirby Elite has (Men) No. 2 Florida, No. 4 Texas and No. 7 Stanford. The (Women) include No. 1 Oregon, No. 6 Texas and No. 8 Texas Tech. There also will be a handful of other Top 25 teams chasing each other over at the Convention Center.
"This meet is probably the highlight of the collegiate indoor season prior to the national championships," said Franklin. "This meet is going to be as good as you can find before the NCAA finals."
Franklin is tossing out this event for a number of reasons.
1- It's good for college track.
2- It's good for his Lobos.
3- He wants to give area track fans a special meet for all the support they give to indoor track in Albuquerque.
4- He is priming the pump for New Mexico's bid for the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Friday's meet should get the attention of some of the top players in track. The meet includes Oregon, Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Stanford, Cal-Berkeley, UCLA, Arizona State, Utah State, San Diego State, Indiana State and Texas Tech.
The meet really will be like a kid considering his options on Christmas morning - Which package (event) do you want to open the most. A few examples:
The men's triple jump features six collegiate athletes ranked in the NCAA Top 25.
The men's 60-meter run includes Jeff Demps (6.53) of Florida, a two-time NCAA champ. He'll be challenged by Texas' Marquise Goodwin (6.7) and UNM's Beejay Lee and Kendall Spencer. ASU's Ryan Milus has been clocked at 6.6 and teammate Daniel Auberry has finished at 6.7.
There is a good reason Florida is ranked No. 2 in the nation. The Gators are loaded. Florida's Dwight Barbiasz and Frankie Hammond have both cleared 7-feet in the high jump. Gator's David Triassi and Jeremy Postin have both broken the 68-foot mark in the weight throw. In the long jump, Gators' Marquis Dendy and Gray Horn have both leaped beyond 25 feet. Florida should be favored in the 4x400 relay.
Gator Tony McQuay has the nation's top time at 400 meters (45.2), but he is not in that event which opens the door a bit for Ohio State's Thomas Murdaugh, who has a 46.2 clocking and Oregon's Mike Berry (46.6). Those two speedsters are in the same qualifying heat on Friday along with Northern Arizona's Arnaud Froidmont (47.0).
The men's shot put has five of the nation's Top Ten throwers. Is the Convention Center big enough to contain these heaves? Florida's Kemal Mesic has thrown 66-7 and Texas' Jacob Thormaehlen has gone 65-3.
UCLA's Michael Woepse has gone 17-8 in the pole vault. He should be a challenge and a push for UNM's Logan Pfibsen, who had gone 17-3. Texas Tech's Kyal Meyers has cleared 17-7.
There are some big throwers on the women's side, too. Indiana State's Felisha Johnson is the defending NCAA champ in the weight throw. Stanford's Arantxa King should be a favorite in the long jump and San Diego State's Shanieka Thomas is one of the nation's top triple jumpers.
The Lobos have put together four weeks of solid all-around performances in preparation for this big meet. Franklin also will send some Lobos to the Washington Husky Classic to be held Friday and Saturday.
The first month of competition had its share of strong and outstanding performances by UNM athletes. At the year's first meet, the NAU Lumberjack Open, the Lobos notched 17 top-ten finishers. A week later at the Cherry & Silver Invitational, New Mexico recorded 23 top-ten finishes and a trio of titles.
To end January, UNM posted its best performance, winning 46 top-ten finishes and nine individual victories at the New Mexico Invitational and the Air Force Combined Events. Last weekend at the New Mexico Classic, UNM registered 19 top-ten finishes.
The Lobos also have been able to produce some nationally substantial marks. 11 different New Mexico athletes have marks in the top 100 nationally for their respective events, and 17 individual UNM athletes or teams have marks in the top three in the Mountain West for their respective events.
Currently, the Lobo women check in with a No. 7 ranking in the Women's Mountain Region Poll that was released by the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association on Tuesday. The Lobo men are ranked 8th in the men's version of the same poll.
The Don Kirby Elite Invite starts Friday at 2:15 p.m. MT with the Men's Long Jump. Check RecordTiming.com throughout the meet for live results. Visit GoLobos.com after the meet Friday for full recaps and photos and Saturday for the full recap of the Washington Husky Classic.