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The UNM women's track and field team competes in the Mountain West Championship 5000 m run, led by distance runner Amelia Mazza-Downie (middle), on Friday, Feb. 25.

UNM athletes are running for the gold


The University of New Mexico’s Track & Field team has run far and fast. During the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association track and field championships, 12 UNM athletes earned All-American marks under coach Joe Franklin. The event took place over June 7-10; more than 50 teams competed head to head.

Five of the athletes make up the two All-American teams that will compete in the United States of America Track and Field Outdoor Championships on July 6-9. One athlete, Amelia Mazza-Downie, earned two nominations in both the 10k and 5k.

“It depends on the 8k or the 10k, but usually I try to just look at the girls in front of me – not thinking about anything in particular. I want to just stay in the moment,” Mazza-Downie said. 

Mazza-Downie also said she aims to become an Olympian and run professionally. Alongside Mazza-Downie on the first All-American team is Elise Thorner who earned her ticket in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:42.95 minutes. 

Senior Abigail Goldstein also raced her way to 9th place in the 1500-meters race – earning her a spot on the All-American second team. It was Goldstein’s final race in her collegiate career, ending with a time of 4:11.86 minutes. 

Long distance runner, Gracelyn Larkin, performed well – earning herself marks on both the 10k and 5k races, both of which are listed on the All-American second team. 

The UNM men’s track and field team also did well at the NCAA Division 1 championships. 4 of the 15 men received honorable mentions. The 4x400 relay team consisted of Jevon O’Bryant, Jovahn Williamson, Victor Akhalu from Nigeria, and Brodie Young from Scotland; they were able to break the school-record time at 3:04.13 minutes. 

Individually, Williamson also earned his second All-American status after competing in the 400-meter dash, ending in 17th with a time of 45.78 seconds. 

Along with the experienced runners like Williamson and Mazza-Downie, new talent arose in the tournament. Awet Yohannes from Sweden competed in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and earned an honorable mention during his first national championship, with a time of 8:57.86 minutes.

“I feel really blessed to be nominated – blessed by my teammates, my coach and everyone else. I’m especially happy with the steeplechase race. There was a lot of work to get the time I wanted,” said Yohannes.

While UNM’s runners raced around the track, two long-jumpers also scored themselves honors at the event. Lokesh Sathyanathan from India finished 15th in the long jump – finishing out his freshman campaign with a jump of 7.66 meters (25’ 1.75”) and earned himself a spot on the All-American second team. 

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Jake Burkey also competed in the long jump event with a jump of 7.54 meters (24’ 9”). He received an honorable mention status as he finished in 18th place. 

The duo of jumpers would close out the 2023 spring season with this event after winning two Mountain West titles, four all-conference marks and three All-Americans to finish it off. 

Franklin, who has been the head coach for almost exactly 14 years this month, decided to pursue another opportunity with coaching track and field. He will now become the new head coach at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.  

BillyJack Davidson is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at  

BillyJack Davidson

BillyJack Davidson is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be reached on Twitter @BillyJackDL 

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