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Lobos set for MW XC Championships in Boise on Friday

Postseason racing kicks into full gear for New Mexico Men’s and Women’s Cross Country this week in Boise, Idaho at the Mountain West XC Championships on Oct. 27, with the Lobo men looking for their first team title since 2014 and the UNM women competing to continue a streak of 15 consecutive conference titles.

The Lobos are coming off a two-week break following a Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational that included a combined 44 nationally-ranked teams between the two races – Habtom Samuel (third place, 23:26.2) and Nicola Jansen (21st place, 20:18.8) put up solid low-stick performances to lead each team to 14th- and 25th-place team finishes, respectively. Samuel earned his second MW Freshman / Athlete of the Week honors in as many races after shaving 10 seconds off his time from a debut performance at Griak that also netted him NCAA Athlete of the Week honors.

Boise, Idaho // Oct. 27 // Men’s 8K: 10 a.m. (MT) // Women’s 6K: 10:40 a.m. (MT)

A 14th-place team finish at Nuttycombe propelled the UNM men into the USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll for the first time since 2014, entering at No. 18. The UNM women were ranked among the Top 30 in the nation in the first four polls of the season – making it 15 consecutive seasons that they are ranked – but did not receive votes despite finishing 25th at Nuttycombe. The two teams rank No. 4 and No. 7 in the most recent Mountain Region rankings, respectively.

Other ranked MW foes on the men’s side include Boise State, which clocked in at No. 23 in the national poll with 94 points and Air Force, ranked 26th with 67 points. Colorado State is the lone MW women’s squad ranked in the USTFCCCA polls, moving up three spots to No. 25 last week with 75 points.

Men’s Cross Country Pre-Championship Poll
Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Air Force (5) 60
2. Boise State (1) 55
3. New Mexico (3) 53
4. Utah State 40
5. Wyoming 37
6. Colorado State 34
7. Nevada 21
8. Fresno State 13
9. San José State 11

Women’s Cross Country Pre-Championship Poll
Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Colorado State (10) 100
2. Boise State (1) 87
3. New Mexico 86
4. Wyoming 67
5. Utah State 62
6. Air Force 58
7. San Diego State 43
8. Nevada 34
9. Fresno State 27
10. UNLV 26
11. San José State 15

The Lobo women have won the conference championship in each of the last 15 seasons, with nine individual conference champions in that span. A female UNM runner has won six of the last seven individual conference titles.

The Lobo men won six Mountain West titles in a row from 2009-2014 with three different individual champions in that span, but haven’t won since. 2014 was also the last time a UNM men’s squad was nationally ranked until this year’s Lobo men entered the polls at No. 18 two weeks ago. New Mexico has swept the men’s and women’s titles six times (2009-2014) and swept the individual championship twice (2011, 2012).

To win their first MW Championship since then, the UNM men will have to defeat No. 26 Air Force, which has won the last three men’s titles. Habtom Samuel – who won by more than 30 seconds in his debut at the Roy Griak Invite and placed third as an individual in a likely national championships preview at Nuttycombe – is gunning to be the first Lobo to finish as a MW Men’s Champion since 2012.

After receiving votes in the prior week’s USTFCCCA National Coaches’ Poll, the Lobo men beat 10 teams ranked in the Top 30 nationally and four in the Top 15 in the team score at the Nuttycombe Invite – No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 12 Butler, No. 13 Stanford, No. 15 Eastern Kentucky, No. 18 Wake Forest, No. 19 Florida State, No. 23 Gonzaga, No. 25 Iona, No. 26 Michigan and No. 27 NC State – as well as five other teams that were receiving votes this week. They also outpaced all four Mountain West rivals – Air Force, Boise State, Utah State and Colorado State – scoring 56 fewer points than the Broncos (18th) and 60 fewer than the Falcons (19th).

Samuel followed up his splashy debut at Griak with another solid showing against significantly tougher competition, hanging with eventual champ Graham Banks of Harvard (23:23.4) and second-place finisher Nico Young of Northern Arizona (23:26.1). The true freshman never dipped lower than seventh place the whole way, moving up to the No. 3 spot at the 6K mark and holding it till the finish.

Evans Kiplagat (18th, 23:45.5) and Lukas Kiprop (45th, 24:06.1) both rounded out the Lobos’ Top Three – UNM was one of only six teams in today’s Men’s 8K to place three runners in the Top 50. They were followed by Samuel Field (156th, 24:43.9) and Thomas Termote (215th, 25:08.6) to round out the point-scoring, with Jonathan Carmin (217th, 25:09.1), Yehonatan Haim (254th, 25:49.2) and Matthew Larkin (267th, 26:09.8) behind.

In the women’s 6K, Nicola Jansen placed 21st with a 20:18.8 finish and Klara Dess made it two Lobos in the top 100 with an 86th-place finish (20:56.6). They were followed by Semira Mebrahtu Firezghi (145th, 21:30.8), Sarah Eckel (149th, 21:33.0), Christina Nisoli (186th, 21:54.5), Tyler Schwartz (189th, 21:57.4) and Stefana Purkovic (244th, 23:05.0).

The Lobo women’s Top 5 collectively picked up 50 places over the final 2,000 meters to move up to No. 25 from No. 27, with Firezghi and Eckel moving up 65 places each over the final 4,000m.

Friday’s action will begin with the Men’s 8K at 10:15 a.m. MT, followed by the Women’s 6K at 11 a.m. Live Results and streaming will be available via and the MW Network. Follow @UNMLoboTFXC on Instagram and @UNMLoboXCTF on X for live coverage, race content and more.