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UNM Captures Three Event Wins to Close Out MLK Invitational

The University of New Mexico track and field team picked up three wins, a runner-up finish, recorded three more personal bests and placed seven in the top five to close out the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational, as well as the first home meet of the season, on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

All three wins came on the track as the Lobos were led by a sweep in the mile following a win from Kristian Uldbjerg Hansen, which preceded a win from Alondra Negron, and was capped off with a solid showing from the men’s 4×400 relay ‘A’ team in the penultimate event of the meet.

Hansen posted the first win of the indoor season for the Cherry and Silver with a time of 4:13.87 (4:08.34) and in the process recorded the fastest time in the Mountain West this season after using the bell lap to overtake the leader and finish 0.46 ahead of the runner-up finisher.

The Denmark native was one of three Lobos to finish in the top seven in the mile, with William Fuller crossing in 4:19.06 (4:13.42 converted) for fifth in his first indoor race as a Lobo, and Harrison Smith III finishing in 4:22.20 (4:16.49 converted) for a seventh-place showing.

Negron continued the winning streak for Lobos and completed the event sweep with a comfortable 3.78 second win over the runner-up finisher, completing the race in 4:52.27 (4:45.91 converted). Her time was also the fastest time currently recorded by a Mountain West runner this season.

The momentum from the mile wins carried over elsewhere on the track, as the Lobos closed with a personal best and a final event win.

UNM continued to showcase their speed on the track with a final win in the 4×400 meter relay, winning by 1.72 seconds over UTEP with a time of 3:12.97 (3:13.41 converted).

Alejandro Goldston started off the relay, turning over the baton to Ben Parmoon, who in turn handed it off to Jameel Austin. When Austin received the baton the Lobos were trailing UTEP, which was still the case as Austin handed it off to Carlos Salcido. However, Salcido closed the gap and sealed the victory for UNM after ultimately pulling away in the back stretch.

It is the second straight season that the Lobo men have won the relay event at the meet, beating out USC in last year’s race.

UNM ultimately had two relay teams finish in the top three as the ‘B’ team comprised of Jay Griffin IV, Gavin Sleeter, Max Wharton and Hansen ran a 3:18.25 (3:18.69 converted) to finish third.

In addition, the Lobos placed two in the top seven of the 800-meter run, highlighted by a fifth-place result and a personal best for Steffi Jones. Jones completed the four laps in 2:13.08 (2:12.34) to improve her best time in the event by 0.64 seconds. Lydia Hallam, in her first appearance in the event, recorded a 2:14.82 (2:14.07 converted) to finish seventh.

The triple jump proved to be also successful for UNM as two Lobos turned in personal bests en route to a runner-up and a seventh-place finish.

Aidan Quinn needed his third and final attempt in the triple jump of 48-1.75 (14.67m) to advance to the final round. On his fifth attempt, the sophomore recorded a mark of 49-9.0 (15.16m) to secure his second-place standing, a 3.5″ (0.09m) improvement over his previous best. Quinn recorded just two successful jumps in the meet, one to get him in to the finals and one to set a personal best.

After setting a personal best in the long jump on Friday, Diamond Black completed the weekend with another personal best, this time in the triple jump, as the sophomore earned a 37-10.50 (11.54m) on her fourth attempt to finish seventh overall. Her previous best was 37-7.75, an improvement of 2.75″ (0.07m).

The Lobos remain at home for their next meet, the UNM Team Open, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Currently, the meet is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. MT with the women’s weight throw and will conclude with the women’s 4×400 relay starting at 4:05 p.m. The meet will also be streamed on FloTrack for those unable to attend in person.