The UNM track and field team is hosting the New Mexico Classic this weekend, but it will do so without a few big names.
After a strong showing at last weekend’s New Mexico Invitational, many athletes have been given the week off. The time off is part of preparation for the upcoming Don Kirby Elite Invitational and the Washington Husky Classic, both of which are on Feb. 8.
Some of the athletes resting this week are seniors Josephine Moultrie and Floyd Ross. Moultrie broke the school record for the women’s indoor 3,000-meter run at the UW Invitational in Seattle last weekend, running a time of 9:06.35. Thanks to that performance, she is ranked fourth in the NCAA for the event. Ross won the men’s triple jump at the New Mexico Invitational with a jump of 51 feet, 5 inches, ranking him eighth in the NCAA.
Also sitting out this week is a majority of the team’s horizontal jumpers. Sophomore Will Carter in the men’s long jump is the only one of the group set to compete.
The events at this weekend’s meet will still be competitive, however. In particular, UNM head coach Joe Franklin said the men’s mile run, 600-meter run, and 60-meter dash will be events to watch.
The men’s mile run will be highlighted by a pair of Lobos. Junior Adam Bitchell finished third in the event last week, covering the distance in 4:05.17. Because the convention center is at altitude, the time was adjusted for the NCAA rankings. The adjusted time of 3:59.83 ranks Bitchell 12th in the nation. Joining Bitchell is senior Sam Evans. Making his season debut in the event, Evans looks to join his teammate in the sub-4 club.
“I think Sam could make it into the top 16 in the nation this meet,” Franklin said.
Juniors Gabe Aragon and JP Cordova, along with sophomore Alex Herring, headline the men’s 600-meter run. The race is the season debut in the event for all three UNM mid-distance runners.
“This is my first 600 ever,” Herring said. “I’m pretty excited about it. It’s going to be pretty quick; we’ve been doing a lot of speed work lately. The last few workouts have been phenomenal, and I’m feeling really good.”
Freshman standout Ridge Jones is one of five Lobos entered in the men’s 60-meter dash. Jones is ranked third in the Mountain West in the event.
While the bulk of this weekend’s track action will take place in the convention center, the Lobos are sending three athletes to the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. Senior Richard York will make his season debut in the men’s heptathlon, while sophomore Samantha Bowe and freshman Holly Van Grinsven will compete in their first pentathlon of the season.
“Richard, like Sam (Evans), has a great chance to get into the top 16 this weekend,” Franklin said.
The New Mexico Classic will feature three members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team: Carmelita Jeter, Jason Richardson and Alysia Montaño. Jeter won gold and set a world record in the women’s 4×100-meter relay in London, took silver in the women’s 100-meter dash, and won a bronze medal in the women’s 200-meter. Richardson won silver in the men’s 110-meter hurdles last summer. Montaño finished fifth in the women’s 800-meter run in London.