ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Against one of the largest fields of competition ever hosted for a University of New Mexico home meet, the Lobos faced one of their most challenging tests of the season.
A couple of historically significant runs later, and they aced that test.
Josh Kerr likely secured a bid to the NCAA Championships and the men’s 4×400 meter relay set a school record as the New Mexico track & field team continued to improve Saturday at the Don Kirby Invitational at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
With the Mountain West Championships in two weeks — and the NCAA Championships in a month — the Lobos registered a number of solid results in their final regular-season home meet, including tremendous times from Kerr in the mile run and the men’s relay.
“Remarkable meet,” New Mexico head coach Joe Franklin said. “The highlight of the meet was Josh and the men’s 4×400 relay. To put up marks like that going into the conference championships shows that the team keeps getting better and better and better.”
Facing off against a field that featured eight top-25 Division I teams and considerable individual talent, the Lobos made positive strides toward the postseason.
Some athletes staked their claim for a spot on New Mexico’s MW Championships squad, while others, like Kerr, moved closer to a berth at the NCAA Championships in March.Kerr, a redshirt freshman from Edinburgh, Scotland, clocked a personal-record time of 4 minutes, 3.34 seconds in the mile run, rallying on the bell lap to capture the win at the meet.
Kerr, a redshirt freshman from Edinburgh, Scotland, clocked a personal-record time of 4 minutes, 3.34 seconds in the mile run, rallying on the bell lap to capture the win at the meet.
“I knew exactly who was going to win the final 60,” Kerr said. “I had a lot left. So coming off that last bend I knew I had enough left. I just needed to make sure that I could hold off the other guys.”
He also made a strong case for the NCAA Championships. His time is ranked seventh in the nation Saturday evening, and the top 16 individuals in every championship event qualify for the NCAAs.
“I’ll definitely run the mile at conference,” Kerr said, “so I’ve definitely got another mile in me between now and nationals, but [this time] should get me there.”
The men’s 4×400 relay also shined on Saturday, combining to break the 34-year-old school record.
Cheyne Dorsey, Isaac Gonzales, Carlos Salcido and Mark Haywood teamed up to clock a time of 3:11.66, which eclipsed the previous program standard of 3:12.27 set in 1983.
“It’s awesome, it’s such an honor,” Gonzales said. “it’s such an old record set back in 1983, and just being able to break that and be able to be on the track, to be allowed to do that, it’s just such an honor.”
They quartet placed third overall in the meet, one of 19 top-10 finishes that the Lobos logged on the weekend.