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Kelati Performs Well; Men's Relay Runs Season-Best Time

The penultimate event at the NM Collegiate Classic proved to be the best event for The University of New Mexico on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Running in the men’s 4×400-meter relay against SEC schools Alabama and Kentucky in the first of three heats, the Lobos were the first to cross the finish line with Carlos Salcido responsible for the final leg.

Crossing at 3:12.35 (3:12.79 converted) the Lobos won by a margin of 0.13 seconds over Alabama to win the heat and ultimately finished second overall in the event.

Ben Parmoon led off the relay and turned the baton over to Alejandro Goldston, who in turn handed it over to Jay Griffin IV. The Lobos were in second behind the Crimson Tide at the final handoff, but Salcido flew around the track in his 400-meter leg, taking the lead and holding off Alabama down the backstretch.

The time marked the best time this season for the Lobos in the 4×400 relay.

It was just one of the events in which the Lobos shone on the final day of competition, with Aidan Quinn finishing fourth in the triple jump also of note.

On his third attempt, the sophomore registered a mark of 49-3.75 (15.03m) to move in to fourth, which he would hold through the finals. However, Quinn was the third-highest collegiate finisher in the event.

Diamond Black once again set a personal best in the triple jump with a mark of 39-6.00 (12.04m) on her third attempt, the first time that the sophomore has eclipsed 39-0.00. Although it wasn’t enough to make the finals, the Lobo improved her mark on every round and finished 13th overall but 12th among collegiate competitors. 

Competing in the 60-meter dash, Lawrence Johnson ran a 6.90 (6.92 converted) and Elijah Lilly a 6.91 (6.93 converted) to move on from the qualifying round after finishing fifth and seventh, respectively. In the preliminaries, the dual-sport athletes ran a 6.87 (6.89 converted for Johnson) and 6.88 (6.90 converted for Lilly), with Johnson missing out on the finals by one place, and just 0.023 seconds. Lilly would finish 12th out of the 24 runners in the preliminary round. 

Right around the time that the men were running the relay, Weini Kelati was competing two time zones away at the NYRR Millrose Games against top collegiate and professional runners in the sport. The Lobo, wearing her recognizable turquoise jersey, followed the pack and held steady in fifth through the first 1000-meters of the 3000-meter race behind Wisconsin’s Alicia Monson, the only other collegiate runner in the prestigious race.

Kelati stuck in fifth with 1000-meters left, but as the pacers began to fall off, the order started to shift as runners made moves to position themselves in the remaining distance. Kelati dropped to seventh, just behind Monson in sixth, but would finish with a time of 8:54.66. That time would be the second-fastest in UNM program history, only behind her 8:53.98 that she ran at last year’s Millrose Games to set the school record. Additionally, it clocks as the second-best time run this season in the NCAA, only behind Monson’s time of 8:53.69 that she ran on Saturday.

As a result, Kelati now has the second-best time in three events, the mile (4:32.66), the 5000-meter (15:14.71) and now the 3000-meter, according to the TFRRS NCAA Indoor Qualifying Performance List.

The Lobos continue to host next week with the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, starting on Thursday, Feb. 13 and finishing up on Friday, Feb. 14. The meet will be streamed on FloTrack.