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Monday, December 22, 2014

Track and field athletes rest for Don Kirby Elite Invitational

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By Aaron Sweet / New Mexico Daily Lobo

sports@dailylobo.com
@cnaranjo7

The UNM track and field squad managed several top-10 finishes at the New Mexico Classic, despite resting a majority of its top athletes.

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Junior Logan Pflibsen clears the bar at the New Mexico Classic on Saturday. The Lobos had several top-10 finishes even though many of their top athletes did not participate.

By Aaron Sweet and SweetsPhotoSuite.com / New Mexico Daily Lobo

On Friday, New Mexico will host the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, and head coach Joe Franklin said he held out a majority of the Lobos so they would be well-rested for the meet.

“Next up is New Mexico versus the BCS,” he said. “So it’s just like the old cliche. Make progress and don’t go backwards. I think we did that today.”

With the Don Kirby Elite Invitational barely a week after the New Mexico Classic, Franklin said he has to keep the team’s emotions in check.

“I have this thing called ‘anticipatory nausea,’” he said. “We’re just trying to build on for next week, because that’s as big as it gets.”

Junior Charles Lewis posted the best finish for any Lobo during the meet by collecting third place in the men’s 400-meter dash in 48.19 seconds. Lewis also acquired a sixth-place finish with a 21.87 time in the 200-meter dash.

In the 60-meter sprint, freshman Ridge Jones tied his personal best with a fourth-place finish in 6.86.

Senior De’Vron Walker participated in perhaps the most anticipated event of the day. Walker battled it out with seven others in the final heat of the 60-meter hurdles, two lanes away from Olympian Jason Richardson, who won a silver medal in last year’s London Olympics. Walker finished in sixth place with a time of 8.15, while Richardson landed in fourth place in 8.02.

Franklin said Walker had a chance to measure his skills by competing against Richardson.

“It’s probably not going to happen again. Those are some opportunities to grow,” Franklin said.

On the women’s side, five runners and pole vaulters ended Saturday afternoon with top-10 finishes in their events. In the women’s 400-meter dash, senior Shirley Pitts (55.93) and freshman Zoe Howell (57.79) nabbed the fifth and 10th places, respectively.

Senior Kendra Schaaf garnered a fifth-place finish in the mile run in 5:00.05, and finished in sixth place in the 800-meter run.

Women’s pole vault provided the best pair of finishes with junior Margo Tucker and sophomore Nathalie Busk. Tucker ended the meet in fifth place with a season best of a 12 feet, 11.5 inches. Busk finished in ninth place with a 12-7.5 mark.