Saturday morning kicked off the University of New Mexico cross country season as the Lobo’s held the Lobo Invitational at UNM’s North Golf Course. Both of the men and women’s teams came out of the invite victorious taking first in the team races.
For the men, University of Texas, El Paso runners Titus Chruiyot (15:17) and Rodgers Korir (15:18) took first and second, respectively, in the men’s collegiate open. They were followed by UNM runners Reece Donihi (15:33), Jared Garcia (15:44), Nehemiah Cionelo (15:44), coming in third, fourth and fifth.
The UNM men won the team race with a score of 35 points. UTEP, despite securing first and second place in the open, fell to second. They were just nine points behind the Lobos.
Redshirt Sophomore, Juanita Johnson of UNM stood out on the women’s side being the only Lobo to place top 5 with a time of 18:26, landing her in fifth. Flomena Asekol, a runner from New Mexico Junior College, took first with a time of 17:18. The Lobos had two other women runners land in the top 10 -- Carisma Lovato (18:36) took seventh and Johanna Briscoe (18:50) finished in tenth.
Lobo women secured first place for the team race with 40 points, while New Mexico State placed second with 51 points.
UNM head coach Joe Franklin expressed his excitement around the season opener. He called out Johnson and Donihi for their performance, saying they are “emerging as very talented runner.”
“The goal is always the same - have a chance in November and be proud to wear the turquoise uniform in an NCAA Championship,” said Franklin in regards to where the team goes following the Lobo Invite.
The Lobo cross country team has a long training period ahead of themselves as they prepare to compete at Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana in October.
The Lobo Invitational is the only cross country meet UNM will have in Albuquerque for the 2019/2020 season.
Alanie Rael is Co-Sports Editor and a reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AllyRael.