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Lobos track and field teams go off to the races at spring invite

Correction 4/11/22: In a previous version of this article, it was asserted that Thomas' main goal was to get out harder in the first 400 and finish strong. This has since been updated and moved to the correct individual, Larkin.

The University of New Mexico track and field teams competed in the New Mexico Spring Invitational meet on Thursday, April 7 at the UNM Soccer Complex. This was the first outdoor track and field meet that UNM has hosted this season.

The spring invite is used by Lobos track and field athletes as a way to find where they need to improve to try to get on the team that travels for the season. A good number of the women’s team was away at the Jo Meaker Classic in Canyon, Texas.

The men's short distance team got to show what they are capable of during the meet. During the 400-meter dash, Rivaldo Leacock finished at 47.67 seconds in first place, remaining consistent with his time since his last meet at the Texas TechMasked Rider Open. Right behind him was Victor Akhalu, who finished second at 49.45 seconds. Last running for New Mexico was Montez Wright, who finished at 53.38 seconds in third place.

For men’s long jump, Darryl Thomas II finished first with a 7 1/2-meter jump. For the past couple meets, he has been able to keep his jump consistent, which he said is a priority for him. Thomas said he often got in his head during this meet and if he would have just jumped and not thought about it, he “would’ve benefited in the long run.”

Matthew Larkin came in first place in the men’s 800-meter in the UNM spring invite at one minute, 52.55 seconds. Larkin ran indoor track this past season and ran a one minute, 49.14-second race time at the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships in February. He said he didn’t run as fast as he would have liked to on Thursday due to the tough conditions, but that “a win is a win.” 

The biggest challenge that Larkin said he faced during the race was getting out fast. He had a foot injury during the indoor track season in the winter, which prevented him from doing any speed workouts to improve his start. Though Larkin admitted he had a rough start, he said his best part of the race was his finish.

“The last 200 meters were a lot easier than they ever should be for an 800-meter,” Larkin said. 

Larkin said his main goal for his next race is to get out harder in the first 400 and finish strong like he did on Thursday. 

Thomas said the meet was “more of a tryout” to see who can make it on the traveling team.  This was also a time for athletes to come back from injuries and see where they stand on the team.

UNM track and field will next compete at the Bryan Clay Invitational April 13-15 in Azusa, California. 

Mackenzie Schwartz is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at or on Twitter @mackenzid5.

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