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Lobos Close Out MW Championships with Seven Wins on Saturday

The University of New Mexico track and field teams closed the Mountain West Indoor Championships behind seven event wins on Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center, as the men finished third in the team standings with 120 points and the women finished fourth with 70.5 points.

UNM placed 16 athletes on the podium on the final day of competition with multiple podium finishers in six events, and had four athletes winning multiple events.

The Lobos capped off the meet with a stellar win in the 4×400-meter relay, beating out Air Force by .29 seconds with a time of 3:11.68 (3:11.79 altitude converted), with Carlos Salcido closing out the final leg with a 46.1 second split to chase down the Falcons for the win. Ben Parmoon started out the relay before turning over the baton to Jay Griffin IV, who turned it over to Gavin Sleeter. Of note, their time was the third-fastest time recorded in program history in the event.

It was the second win of the day for Griffin, Salcido and Sleeter, who won the 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter, respectively earlier in the day. Going into the championship meet, neither Sleeter or Salcido had won an indoor conference title.

Entering the final with the top time in the conference and in the preliminary round, Griffin defended his MW title with a time of 20.98 (21.05 converted), edging out Alejandro Goldston’s runner-up time of 21.28 (21.35 converted) to score 18 points for UNM in the 200-meter.

Salcido also entered the meet and the final with the top time in the conference and proceeded to win by 0.13 seconds over Tom Willems of Colorado State at 47.07 (47.18 converted) to win the conference title in the 400-meter. Parmoon added four points with a fifth-place finish of 47.74 (47.85 converted).

Sleeter won the 800-meter by 0.16 seconds over Jacob Grinwis of Boise State at 1:53.05 (1:52.42 converted) to win his first event title of the day, as fellow Lobo Max Wharton made the podium with a third-place result of 1:54.35 (1:53.72 converted) for 16 team points.

Adva Cohen added to her MW meet titles in the women’s mile, taking the championship in 4:46.65 (4:40.41 converted), and winning by just .09 seconds over Mahala Norris of Air Force. Cohen was also a member of the distance medley relay that won on Thursday night to start the championship meet.

Lydia Hallam gave UNM two on the podium in the mile after finishing third with 4:49.59 (4:43.29 converted).

In the men’s 60-meter dash, the Lobos advanced three to the finals, where Lawrence Johnson came away with the MW title in 6.76 (6.78 converted), edging out the runner-up finisher by 0.04 seconds. Goldston made his second appearance on the podium with a third-place result of 6.82 (6.84 converted), and Elijah Lilly made it three Lobos in the top four with a fourth-place time of 6.83 (6.85 converted).

The women also had three runners finish in the top four in the 3000-meter, with Emily Martin finishing runner-up with a time of 9:27.71 (9:13.73 converted) and Hannah Nuttall behind her in third at 9:29.23 (9:15.21) to make the podium. Gracelyn Larkin added five points in her first conference meet with a fourth-place showing of 9:31.06 (9:17.00).

While the Lobos were heating up the track, the field events were equally successful for the Cherry and Silver, led by a conference title for Aidan Quinn in the triple jump, two podium finishers in the high jump and a third-place result in the women’s triple jump.

In what was an exciting final between Quinn and Colorado State’s Isa Bynum, the sophomore led for five rounds with a mark of 15.23m that he recorded on his second attempt before Bynum recorded a15.24m (50-00) on his fifth attempt to take the one centimeter lead. Jumping directly after the Ram, Quinn tallied his best mark of the event at 50-3.25 (15.32m) to re-take the lead in the event, which held as the winning mark and set a personal best for the Lobo.

Quinn recorded three of the four-best marks amongst all competitors in the event to earn a consecutive Mountain West indoor title in the triple jump.

Starting off the third day of competition was the women’s high jump, in which the Lobos picked up 14 points from a second-place result for Ada’ora Chigbo and a third-place result for Jamari Drake. Both competitors cleared their first height of 1.64m on the first attempt and needed two attempts to clear the 1.69m, 1.72m and 1.75m heights.  On the 5-8.75 (1.78m) bar height, Drake would bow out to finish third and in the process set a personal best, while Chigbo cleared the bar on her second attempt to leave just two competitors, her and Nicola Ader of Nevada. Chigbo would exit at the 5-10 (1.78m) bar to finish second in the event, which would be a season best for the junior.

Diamond Black once again set a personal best to reach the podium in the triple jump, recording a 40-6.25 (12.35m) on her first attempt of the afternoon to place third in the triple jump and secure six more points towards the women’s standing.

Of note, the 110 points for the men were the most points scored since 2015 when the Lobos scored 160 and the third-place finish as a team was the highest since 2015 when UNM won the team title. For the women, their 70.5 points were the most since 2017 when they scored 72.5 points and their fourth-place result matched last year’s place among the team standings. It is the fourth time in five years that UNM has finished fourth.

Up next for the Lobos is the NCAA Indoor Championships, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center March 13-14.