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Track team places in 8 events at Arizona meet

The UNM track and field team had a good showing at the Flagstaff Invitational Saturday at Northern Arizona University.

The men's team won five individual events and one relay. Senior Ian Stewart won the invitational 400-meter dash with a time of 47.61 seconds and sophomore Nick Lott captured the open division of the 400 meters in 49.05 seconds.

Right behind Lott in the 400 was junior Dan Taradash and senior Voight Thornton placed fourth.

Senior Larry Davis followed up last week's second-place finish at the J.D. Martin Invitational winning the 200-meter run at Flagstaff in 21.66 seconds. Freshman Ben Ortega earned his first victory of the year in the 3,000-meter event with a time of 9:34, more than seven seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

The men's 4x400 relay team of Stewart, Lott, junior Justin Massey and sophomore Matt Bishop captured top honors with a time of 3:14.95.

On the women's side, junior Keren Sari was the top collegiate competitor in the long jump, finishing second with a season-best leap of 19'11", almost a foot longer than her winning jump two weeks ago at the Air Force Invitational. The leap also broke the UNM school record of 19' 5" set by Tara Spurlock in 1983.

Junior Monica Christofferson finished third in the 400-meters Open division in 58.89 seconds. The women's 4x400 relay team of Christofferson, senior Lisa Coleman, sophomore Arline Smith and junior Kisha Smith finished second with a time of 3:54.75.

The UNM coaching staff had mostly praise for the team at practice on Monday afternoon. "All the sprinters had their best times of the year," assistant coach Mark Henry said.

Assistant coach Katarina Zuber noted the tough competition the Lobos had at the meet. "Katherine Callahan had four events in three hours and she (had personal records) in two events and had a season best in one," said Zuber.

Head coach Matt Henry lauded the team but reminded his athletes that one meet does not make a whole season.

"We competed and we competed well," Henry said. "We're not satisfied, we've still got a long way to go."

The team's relative lack of injuries was also cited by Henry as a bright spot. Keeping people healthy was coach Henry's top goal at the start of the season.

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Henry's team emphasis in what can sometimes be perceived as an individual sport was also evident at Monday's practice. The team followed Henry's chalk talk by circling up, putting its hands in the center and yelling out.

Next up for the team is the Red Raider Classic Friday and Saturday at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The meet will wrap up the regular indoor season, and lead the team to the Mountain West Conference Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo., on February 22-24.


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