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Akhalu, Parsons earn MW track weekly awards

by Evan O'Kelly

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Sweeping the Mountain West Track & Field Athlete of the Week honors, New Mexico’s Victor Akhalu was named the conference’s male athlete of the week and Stefanie Parsons received the female athlete of the week announced the conference office on Tuesday.

It was the first-career weekly honor for Akhalu, while Parsons claimed her second weekly award of the year. “Victor has made lots of progress over the last 14 months. He is healthy now, and we are seeing the benefit of that,” said UNM head coach Joe Franklin. “Stef ran a lifetime best in the 800, preparing her well for starting to run 1,500s the rest of the year.”

Both Lobos rewrote their personal best lists at last week’s UNM Spring Invitational meet on their home track in Albuquerque.

Akhalu started by recording a time of 10.44 seconds (converted from 10.41 seconds) in his first 100-meter race as a college athlete. He followed that with a PR in the 200-meters, with a time of 21.25 seconds (21.18). That was 0.09 seconds faster than his top indoor time of 21.34 seconds (21.27) he ran on Feb. 3.

Parsons ran her best-ever outdoor time in the 800-meters, hitting a mark of 2:07.53 minutes (2:08.29) to win the event at the Lobos’ home meet. That was an improvement of almost two full seconds on her previous outdoor best, which she ran on April 21, 2022 in Albuquerque. Parsons was just 0.09 seconds away from her overall best in the event of 2:07.44 minutes (2:08.15), which she ran on Jan. 28 during the indoor season.

Entering this week, Parsons is No. 2 on the Mountain West performance list in the 800-meters, while Akhalu is No. 2 in the 100-meters and No. 6 in the 200-meters.

Akhalu will be in action this weekend at the Tom Jones Memorial meet in Gainesville, Fla., while Parsons is set to compete in the 1,500-meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif.