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Larkin, Grieve claim MW weekly track honors

by Evan O'Kelly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Being recognized for highlight performances in their first meet of the 2022-23 indoor track and field season, New Mexico runners Gracelyn Larkin and Rebecca Grieve were recognized when the Mountain West Conference announced its weekly award winners on Tuesday.

Larkin, a senior from Rosseau, Ontario, claimed her first-ever Mountain West Track Athlete of the Week award, while Grieve, a freshman from Edinburgh, Scotland, earned the Mountain West Track Freshman of the Week award after her first collegiate meet. “To start off the season with the freshman of the week and the athlete of the week shows that we are prepared moving forward into the MW and NCAA Championships in two months,” said UNM head coach Joe Franklin.

After earning All-America honors for the third straight cross country season in the fall, Larkin kicked off her indoor season with a bang taking 14th place among a field of 130 competitors at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener on Saturday in Boston. The top finisher among any Mountain West competitors at the event, Larkin ran a 5,000-meters time of 15:37.47 seconds to lead the Lobos in the race. It was her best-ever indoor mark in the event, with her PR in the 5,000 of 15:29.93 minutes being set on April 14, 2022 during the outdoor season.

It is the second overall athlete of the week award for Larkin, who was named the Mountain West Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 4 after placing ninth at the Joe Piane Invitational earlier this fall. “For Gracelyn to run a lifetime best is really impressive, and she ran a super smart race,” said Franklin. “She always runs tactically exceptionally well, and this proves again why she is one of the best runners in the country.”

Grieve went from not being entered in the 600-meters to breaking the school record in the event in a matter of minutes. Although she was planning on only competing in the 60-meters in her collegiate debut Friday at Air Force, Grieve was a last-second entry into the rarely-run 600-meters. Fast forward 1:32.86 and she not only won the race but downed the school record of 1:32.90 set by Zoe Howell in 2015.

Grieve’s first college meet also featured a 60-meter time of 7.74 seconds as she placed sixth in that event as well. “For Rebecca to run the 600 as fast as she did, it will give her confidence moving forward not only in the 400 but in the 800 as well,” Franklin said.

OF NOTE: Also nominated for the weekly awards from UNM were men’s freshmen Jonathan Carmin and Lokesh Sathyanathan. The latter won the long jump at Air Force, posting a leap of 24’ 2.25” in his first meet as a Lobo. Carmin meanwhile ran a lifetime best in the 5,000-meters at the Colyear-Danville Season Opener, and broke the Israeli indoor national record in the event with a time of 13:52.94 minutes. “Jonathan in his first race set a national Israeli record,” Franklin said. “To be the fastest ever in your country in any event is quite an honor.”

LOOKING AHEAD: The Lobos aren’t in action again until Jan. 21, 2023, when they kick off a stretch of seven meets hosted at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The complete 2023 indoor schedule can be found online here.