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Elizabeth White broke the school record in the long jump on Friday at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic.

White breaks long jump record, men’s 4x4 strikes again at NM Collegiate Classic

by Evan O'Kelly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – School records delivered by Elizabeth White and the New Mexico men’s 4×400-meter relay squad highlighted the New Mexico Collegiate Classic over the weekend at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

A running environment that turned heads across the track world featured the Lobos competing among some of the top schools in the NCAA. The Arkansas men’s 4×400-meter relay squad ran the fastest time of the season at 3:01.53 minutes, while Texas’s Julien Alfred broke her own collegiate record in the 60-meters at 7.02 seconds (7.00). “The atmosphere this weekend was absolutely electric,” said UNM head coach Joe Franklin. “To see Arkansas run the number two time ever indoors, and Julien Alfred run another collegiate record – we feel like this place is the best one in the country to run in.”

White’s school record leap came on her very first attempt of the evening on Friday, as she cleared 6.25 meters (20’ 6”) to top Aasha Marler’s 2015 jump of 6.22 meters (20’ 5.25”). White took second place and was the top collegiate finisher among 69 competitors, as only Tara Davis of Lululemon finished ahead of her at 6.73 meters (22’ 1”). “Lizzie broke the record of one of the best we have ever had in the event in Aasha, and Lizzie just gets a little better each week,” said Franklin. “She is a great soul, and she continues to improve and be a positive influence not only in her event group but also the team.”

While White now owns the school record in the event, her PR is still in front of her as she looks to surpass her mark of 6.34 meters (20’ 9.75”) set on April 8, 2022 during her career at Southern Utah University. On Saturday, she was just off her PR in the 60-meters running a time of 7.78 seconds (7.76).

White’s success in the long jump on the women’s side was mirrored by Jake Burkey on the men’s side, who worked his way to a significant PR. It initially came on his fourth try, when he leapt 7.68 meters (25’ 2.25”), and after fouling on his fifth attempt he unleashed a jump of 7.75 meters (25’ 5”) on his final try of the night. “After fouling in the first round I felt a little bit of pressure,” Burkey said. “I knew that the jump itself was really good and was in the PR range. I felt I was lucky to make the final round of jumps, and getting a decent marking with a PR in that fourth round eased the pressure.”

Burkey well surpassed his previous best of 7.52 meters (24’ 8.25”) which he hit earlier this year at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational. That PR held up for two weeks, after Burkey narrowly missed out on what would have been a comparable leap to Friday’s with a foul at last week’s UNM Team Open. “It was on my mind a little bit – you can jump any distance you want but if it’s a foul it’s not going to count,” Burkey commented on narrowly scratching on his biggest leap last week. “This weekend I was really focused, especially in those early rounds just making sure that my feet were coming down fast.”

Burkey’s performance was good enough for a fifth-place finish among the field of 46 jumpers. “He jumped great, and made it into contention for the NCAA Championship needing to go just about 10 centimeters further,” Franklin commented on Burkey’s performance. “Now that the 7.70 meter burden is off his plate he can focus on bigger things.”

For the second straight week, UNM’s 4×400 men’s relay squad broke the school record, as Jovahn Williamson, Jevon O’Bryant, Rivaldo Leacock, and Brodie Young combined for a time of 3:06.58 minutes (3:06.14). That topped last week’s record-setting time of 3:08.81 minutes (3:08.37).

The quartet of men’s sprinters who combined to break the school record in the 4×400-meter relay last week got their meet started by each setting an indoor PR in the 400-meters on Friday evening. Williamson led the Lobos finishing in fifth place among a field of 24 competitors, as he posted a time of 46.51 seconds (46.40). O’Bryant was right behind in 46.52 (46.41) as he finished in sixth place. Young took 12th with a time of 47.03 seconds (46.92), and Leacock checked in at 47.94 seconds (47.83). “The guys were all super competitive in their races,” Franklin said. “They all ran lifetime bests, and then turned around the next day and ran a school record by more than two seconds. They need to improve around a half second to be in contention for the NCAA Championship, but now it is encouraging that it is possible.”

Ethan Brouw picked up a PR on Friday evening in the 800-meters, using a strong late kick to record a time of 1:48.07 minutes (1:48.67). That was nearly three full seconds faster than his previous mark of 1:50.76, which he ran at last year’s New Mexico Team Open. “He ran a fantastic race with a massive personal best,” Franklin said. “We saw about 10 days ago that he was ready to go, and so we turned it up a notch this week.”

Victor Akhalu was just 0.02 off his overall personal best in the 200-meters, winning his heat with a time of 21.34 seconds (21.27) which was his indoor PR. The 2020 NJCAA national champion in the 400-meters, at 47.35 seconds, Akhalu came close to that mark with a time of 47.45 seconds (47.34) on Saturday. Gal Arad ran his best 200-meter time of the season at 21.43 seconds (21.36), with his raw time breaking the Israeli indoor record by 0.01 seconds. Ayoub El Ashmawi also had a successful day in the 400-meters, running an all-time best mark of 48.65 seconds (48.54).

Mckenna Watson led the Lobo 200-meter runners with a time of 24.35 seconds (24.28), and followed with a time of 7.67 seconds (7.65) in the 60-meters on Saturday. Aleksandra Wolczak started her weekend off with a PR in the 200-meters, running a time of 25.02 seconds (24.95) on Friday afternoon. Maria Cisneros Llamazares logged her best time as a Lobo at 25.79 (25.72), and Analisa Ibarra finished in 26.24 seconds (26.17). Alexandra Adams ran her best time in a Lobo uniform at 27.19 seconds (27.12), and Leigh James was close behind in 27.30 seconds (27.23).

Rebecca Grieve’s first collegiate 400-meter race was a solid one, as she ran a time of 54.83 seconds (54.72). That narrowly edged her previous personal best of 54.88 seconds set on May 14, 2022 in Great Britain.

Logan Neely had a productive day Saturday, marking down a PR in the 400-meters with a time of 55.64 seconds (55.53). She then propelled the women’s 4×400-meter relay squad to a heat victory, as she used a late kick on the final lap to narrowly edge her opponent at the finish line. She combined with Grieve, Annamaria Leszczynska, and Wolczak to run a time of 3:41.60 minutes (3:41.16).

Kailey Ludwig continued her steady progression in the pole vault, increasing her height for the third consecutive meet. On Friday night she cleared 3.34 meters (10’ 11.5”) to reestablish her personal best in the event. Also competing in the pole vault were Alyssa Gregory, who cleared 3.49 meters (11’ 5.5”), and Abbie Schwieder, who cleared 3.34 meters (10’ 11.5”) alongside Ludwig. Ludwig and Gregory also posted PRs in the 60-meters on Saturday, running times of 8.56 seconds (8.54) and 8.55 seconds (8.53), respectively.

Cisneros Llamazares was UNM’s second-leading performer in the 60-meters behind Watson, as she ran a time of 7.76 seconds (7.74) to finish in the top half among a field of 77 runners in the qualifying round. Adams ran her top 60-meter time in a Lobo uniform, crossing the line in 8.28 seconds (8.26).

Sarah Eckel, Klara Dess, and Lauren Bettencourt were the lone Lobo women’s distance runners to compete at the meet, as the former duo ran alongside one another in the 800-meters Friday. Dess finished with a time of 2:10.25 minutes (2:10.98), while Eckel crossed the line in (2:12.46). Bettencourt turned in a time of 2:16.05 minutes (2:16.81) in her heat on Saturday.

Senior Aidan Quinn jumped at home for the first time this season, posting a mark of 14.82 meters (47’ 10”) in the triple jump on Saturday. Zennia Gonzalez showed improvement from last week in the long jump, registering a leap of 5.42 meters (17’ 9.5”) on Friday. That topped her leap of 5.32 meters (17’ 5.5”) she hit at the New Mexico Team Open.

Victoria Plummer’s 800-meter time of 2:33.71 minutes (2:34.57) was her personal best, as she topped her previous mark of 2:34.37 minutes (2:35.23) run at last year’s Mountain West Indoor Championships. Overall she finished the pentathlon with 3,292 points.

Adam Giron represented the Lobos in the high jump, clearing a mark of 1.87 meters (6’ 1.5”), while on the women’s side Alyssa Magallanez reached 1.61 meters (5’ 3.5”). Mikyla Harkley participated in the long jump and finished in the upper half of competitors, putting forth a leap of 5.63 meters (18’ 5.75”). On Saturday she checked in with a mark of 11.71 meters (38’ 5”) in the triple jump.

NEXT WEEK: The Lobos host for the fourth straight week, with the Don Kirby Invitational set for Feb. 10-11 at the Convention Center. The Lobos will also send a crew to the Husky Classic hosted by the University of Washington in Seattle. Live coverage details can be found online here.