Open Announce

Lobos Sweep 5,000m Races on Day One at MW Indoor Championships

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Track & Field opened up Day One of the 2024 MW Indoor Track & Field Championships with a sweep of the 5,000m races on Thursday at the Albuquerque Convention Center, with Habtom Samuel and Mercy Kirarei both separating themselves from the rest of the field while winning by more than 26 and 36 seconds, respectively.

Through Day One of competition, the Lobo men are in the lead in the team score with 19 points, with UNM sitting in third on the women’s side with 20 points.

Kirarei won the women’s race by more than 35 seconds (16:19.78) and Samuel beat the men’s field by more than 26 seconds (13:45.57) to secure the sweep, with Samuel breaking the MW Indoor Championship record in the process. It’s the first time since 2015 that UNM swept both the men’s and women’s MW Indoor Championship 5K races in the same year.

The first UNM athlete of the day to compete, Kirarei started with the pack and padded her lead throughout the race en route to a dominant win – her 16:19.78 time converts to a 15:53.87 with elevation calculations, moving her into the Top 50 in the nation on the TFRRS D-I Indoor Qualifying List. Behind her, Hanna Bruckmayer (17:05.61) finished seventh and Sophia McDonnell (17:23.28) placed 17th.

Kirarei’s time was the ninth-fastest ever run at the Albuquerque Convention Center for a women’s 5K dating back to 2005 and the fourth-fastest champion in MW Indoor Championships history. Among UNM women’s 5,000m conference champions, only Amelia Mazza-Downie’s MW record time of 16:07.14 in 2022 was faster.

Samuel followed Kirarei’s big win with an even more dominant performance, shattering the previous MW Indoor Championships record set in 2022 by more than 25 seconds with his 13:45.57 finish. With Jonathan Carmin’s event win in 2023, it’s the first time a UNM athlete has won the men’s 5,000m in back-to-back years since 2015.

Samuel beat the field by more than 26 seconds, lapping multiple runners by the time he crossed the finish line ahead of teammate Evans Kiplagat for a 1-2 UNM finish.

In second place, Kiplagat was 1.69 seconds off the record with a 14:11.14 time that stands as the third-fastest in MW Indoor Championships history, the fastest run by a Lobo in the Albuquerque Convention Center and the overall seventh-fastest since 2005. Thomas Termote (14:27.89) followed them both in eighth place, with Carmin (15:21.44) placing 19th.

In the women’s DMR, a Lobos contingent comprised of Klara Dess (1200m), Annamaria Leszczynska (400m), Gabriella Szabo (800m) and Sarah Eckel (1600m) finished second overall with a 11:41.16 time. 

Day Two of competition for UNM begins at 1 p.m. with the women’s and men’s long jump trials and finals, with one men’s athlete and three women — Fabian Biondina, Lauren Fowler, Mikyla Harkley and Zennia Gonzalez — set to represent the Lobos. 

Real-time scoring and results, along with post-race interviews and recaps from the 2024 MW Indoor Track & Field Championships, which runs through Saturday, Feb. 24, will be available on the Championship Central page. Head to for easy access.

The Mountain West Network will provide live coverage of the 2024 MW Indoor Track & Field Championships. Fans can watch the indoor track & field championships on their phones or connected TVs via the Mountain West app. Watch every moment of the MW Indoor Track & Field Championships live on your own TV through Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV or Roku. Mobile applications are available through the iOS App Store and Google Play. Visit for more information.

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