The University of New Mexico track and field squad hosted its first and only competition of the outdoor season, the Don Kirby Tailwind Invitational, over the weekend.
Despite missing several student-athletes who are preparing to make their debuts later in the season, plenty of Lobo competitors posted strong marks at the meet.
"It's just our second week of the season and we still have five weeks until the conference championships, so we're just starting to put together the team and the pieces," UNM head coach Joe Franklin said. "We still held out a lot of people this weekend."
The head coach noted several impressive performances in which Lobos set personal records or posted marks that were among the best in school history.
UNM senior Michelle Traynham launched the javelin a distance of 155 feet, 3 inches — which was good enough to notch a win in the women's event and move her into second place on the school's all-time marks, a release said. Teammate Sara Reyes, a junior, gained a top-five finish in the event with a throw of 126 feet, 4 inches to place fourth.
Ryan Chase also garnered a fourth place finish with strong performance in the men's long jump, achieving a mark of 24 feet, 6 1/4 inches. He also unleashed a mark of 42 feet, 11 3/4 inches in the men's shot put — finishing fourth in that event.
One of the brightest spots may have been the showing turned in by the men's 4 x 100-meter relay team. Beau Clafton, Alejandro Goldston, Carlos Salcido and Jay Griffin IV combined to finish the race in 40.30 seconds to pick up the win.
Franklin said the men that make up that relay team have the potential to do very well this season and mentioned the football team has been very generous, allowing Griffin IV — a wide receiver — the opportunity to run track without having to pull double duty.
Salcido and Griffin IV each picked up an individual top-five finish in the men's 200-meter run as well, clocking times of 21.05 and 21.44 to finished second and fourth, respectively.
On the women's side, Allison Mady took home top honors in the women's shot put with a toss of 43 feet, 11 3/4 inches. Her teammate, Kyra Mohns finished fourth in the same event with a mark of 37 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
Kendall Kelly paced a packed of Lobos in the women's 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:08.90 to win the race. Fellow UNM runners Sarah Laverty, Emily Martin and Elizabeth Weiler were right behind Kelly for a 1-2-3-4 finish.
In the men's 3,000-meter run, New Mexico's Taylor Potter narrowly edged out Anthony Kosgei of UTEP by mere thousandths of a second to claim the top spot with a time of 8:51.69. Jared Garcia finished a few seconds later for a third-place run.
Ada'ora Chigbo won the women's high jump clearing a height of 5 feet, 7 1/4 inches, while Brent Dionisio jumped 6 feet, 8 inches for a second-place performance in the men's competition.
New Mexico did sweep the 2,000-meter steeplechase as Jonny Glen turned in the best time in the men's event, while Charlotte Prouse did the same for the women.
UNM has traditionally performed very well in some of the long-distance events and with the cross country team coming off another national championship, that trend seems likely to continue.
"Well, the expectations are high," Franklin said. "We have group of distance runners on the women's side that are the best in the country."
Franklin said Alice Wright has already logged the second-best time in the country in the 10,000-meter run, which the head coach said he expects to hold up throughout the season. Several of the other UNM distance runners have yet to hit the track in the outdoor season.
Some of the New Mexico track and field squad will head to La Jolla, California to compete in the Triton Invitational, a two-day event that begins on Friday, April 14, but most will have some time off.
"We will send a very small group of people (who) are just looking to improve and potentially hit regional qualifying marks," the head coach said.
Franklin said UNM hasn't competed in San Diego for a couple of years, but anticipates it will be a great meet. He said the men's relay team, a couple of 1,500-meter runners and Chigbo will be among those who make the trip.
The head coach acknowledged that the season is still very young, but expects things will begin to ratchet up over the next couple of weeks — particularly when the team heads to Azuza, California later in the month to compete in the Bryan Clay Invitational.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball, football and tennis. He can be contacted at sports @dailylobo.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.