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Wins by Watson, Grieve, Sathyanathan highlight season opener for Lobos

by Evan O'Kelly

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Wins by Mckenna Watson, Rebecca Grieve, and Lokesh Sathyanathan highlighted the opening meet of the 2022-23 indoor track and field season for the University of New Mexico on Friday afternoon at Cadet Field House.

Sathyanathan claimed the title in the long jump, registering a mark of 24’ 2.25” in his first-ever meet as a Lobo. “It was my first-ever indoor competition,” said Sathyanathan. “I felt really great on my runway and even got pretty good jumps, but unfortunately they were foul. It still feels good to win the competition with one good jump, and I’m hoping to get better at my next indoor track competition. A big thanks to my coaches and UNM for giving me this amazing opportunity to be part of this pack.”

Also emerging victorious on Friday was Watson, who ran a 60-meters time of 7.58 seconds in her first meet at UNM. “This is my first college meet, and it was very exciting to run the 60m,” said Watson. “I got a PR and dropped my time by 0.20 seconds. I can’t wait to run again and get faster every meet.”

“Overall this was a really strong opening meet for the Lobos,” said UNM assistant coach Robert Thurnhoffer. “We identified plenty of things to work on, but showed that we are in very good shape. The newcomers really showed out. Mckenna was outstanding in the 60m, blowing the field away. Lokesh showed his elite talent and had some big fouls while still marking a good jump. Victor and Gal had rough block starts but flashed some incredible top-end speed to post some big 60m openers. Overall we feel healthy and ready for January.”

Rebecca Grieve also competed in her first collegiate meet on Friday, placing sixth in the 60-meters with a time of 7.74 seconds. The true freshman won the heat of the 600-meters, running a time of 1:32.86 minutes to top a field of six competitors. The time was also a school record, as she topped the 2015 mark of 1:32.90 ran by Zoe Howell.

Two-time Mountain West champion Aidan Quinn got his senior season off to a good start, finishing as the runner-up in the triple jump with a mark of 50’ 4.75” on Friday. Darryl Thomas was right behind Quinn, finishing in sixth place with a leap of 46’ 5.5”.

Mikyla Harkley had a good showing in her first meet of the year, placing third in the triple jump with a leap of 38’ 11.75”. That topped her PR in the event by nearly two full feet, as she entered the meet with a best of 40’ 11.5”. Lilee Kaasch, making her UNM debut, was right behind Harkley with a jump of 37’ 10.5”.

Victor Akhalu placed third in the 60 meters, running a time of 6.75 seconds. Making his UNM debut, Gal Arad was close behind Akhalu in fifth place with a 60-meters time of 6.85 seconds. Akhaul came shades away from his collegiate best, which sits at 6.74 seconds.

Newcomer Kora Pettengill and returner Emily Ho competed in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing back-to-back with times of 10.02 seconds and 10.61 seconds, respectively. Pettengill also competed in the long jump, where she posted a mark of 15’ 6”.

Victoria Plummer stayed busy on Friday, finishing tied for fourth in the high jump with a mark of 5’ 3”. That was four inches better than her collegiate best entering the meet, which sat at 5’ 7”.

NEXT UP: The Lobos will continue training over the holiday break, and will next be in action on Jan. 21, 2023 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational at the Albuquerque Convention Center.