NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The New Mexico women’s cross country team placed fourth among 23 teams at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational Friday afternoon, while the Lobo men’s team placed 23rd of 25 teams.
The defending NCAA champion Lobo women were paced by top-five finishers Alice Wright (second place) and Calli Thackery (fifth) at a meet the won in 2014 and 2015.
The meet shaped up to be on the top regular-season meets of the season, and certainly lived up to its billing as five top-25 teams toed the line in both the men’s and women’s races at the Burke Golf Course.
Overall, the UNM women tallied 166 points, eight points from third place. Providence, the team that knocked the Lobos from No. 1 earlier this week, won with 117 points.
North Carolina State (second, 149 points), Eastern Michigan (third, 159 points) and Baylor (fifth, 169 points) rounded out the top five.
Wright, a redshirt junior, crossed the line for the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 16 seconds, just 4.3 seconds behind individual titlist Anna Rohrer of host Notre Dame. Wright’s runner-up finish is the second in a row for UNM at the Notre Dame Invite, following Courtney Frerichs’ second-place race last season.
Thackery, a senior, finished in 16:30.9.The Lobos’ also earned scoring runs from senior Sophie Connor, who placed 37th in 16:59.8, and freshmen Alex Buck (60th, 17:16.5) and Natasha Bernal (62nd, 17:17.3).
Kathryn Fluehr (71st, 17:23.1), Kendall Kelly (93rd, 17:41.0) and Kieran Casey (96th, 17:41.7) also ran for New Mexico.
The Lobos were in fifth place through one kilometer, with Wright and Thackery sitting first and third, respectively. UNM moved up to third with 165 points through four kilometers behind Wright (third) and Thackery (fifth), but a late Eastern Michigan surge bumped the Lobos down a notch at the line.
With senior frontrunner Graham Thomas sidelined by illness, New Mexico’s men had to rely on a lineup that featured four freshmen.
True freshman Jacob Simonsen led the way with a 72nd-place run clocked at 24:41.7 for the 5-mile race. He was followed by senior Jesus Mendoza in 105th place (24:57.2).
Redshirt junior Zac Castillo also scored in 136th place (25:19.6), with freshmen Emil Danielsson (141st, 25:22.9) and Jared Garcia (153rd, 25:33.8) also chipping in scoring finishes.
Alexander Palm (180th, 26:06.8) and Tyler Valdez (188th, 26:16.3) also ran for the New Mexico men.
New Mexico started the race in solid position, sitting in 13th place through a kilometer as four runners were situated between 50th and 70th place. The men slipped to 17th with one kilometer left before finishing 23rd at the end.
The Lobo men totalled 575 points, just eight points from 21st place and 19 points from the top 20.
Mississippi won with 83 points, with UTEP (99 points) and Eastern Kentucky (168 points) filling out the rest of the top three.
The Lobos return to action in two weeks at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in their final meet before the championship season.