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June 15, 2013

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After the season is over, the Lobos are still competing.

University of New Mexico track and field alumni Floyd Ross and Alesha Walker will head to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships next week, while UNM senior-to-be Django Lovett will compete at the Canadian Track & Field Championships.

Ross and Walker, competing in the triple jump and long jump, respectively, will head to Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, next week as they aim to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships in August. Lovett has a similar goal, but will look to make the Canadian national team in the high jump.

While the trio would likely need lifetime-best performances to make the entry standards for the IAAF World Championships—a top three finish and the A standard in their respective events—all three have opportunities to gain experience, and, for Ross and Walker, boost their profiles.

“Mainly the two of them [Ross and Walker] have a chance of making some money and getting their stocks up,” UNM assistant coach Austin Brobst said. “Basically, I'm looking for a top-eight finish from the both of them.”

Brobst, who coached both Ross and Walker while they were at UNM, said the pair has good odds of earning some money from competing, since the top-eight finishers earn a reward for their performances.

However, each athlete will head to their respective nation's championships with the objective of doing the best they can.

Ross, hailing from Memphis, Tenn., just wrapped up his senior season at New Mexico with a third-place finish in the triple jump two weeks ago at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. He's now looking to parlay his All-American status into a berth to the world championships in Moscow, Russia.

He enters the competition in Des Moines with a season best of 52 feet, 11 inches (16.13 meters) that he achieved at the NCAAs in Eugene, Ore. He does hold a personal best of 54-6 (16.61 meters), but will still need to do some work to come close to the world championships.

The B Standard for the IAAF World Championships is 55-3 ½ (16.85 meters), which is only used if no one can achieve the A Standard of 56-5 ¼ (17.20 meters).

Still, Brobst said Ross' likely outcomes lie outside of the medal stand.

“Floyd just has a better chance of getting his stock up in terms of getting some kind of contract,” he said. “I think Floyd, if he jumps 16.60 [meters] like he's capable of doing, I think he can put himself in the top-five.”

For Walker, the story is just slightly different.

While the 2011 UNM graduate from Killeen, Texas, holds a strong personal record of 21-6 ¾ (6.57 meters) in the long jump, making the A Standard for the world championships (22-1 ¾, 6.75 meters) would mean adding an extra 18 centimeters to her best. 

However, the New Mexico record holder in the indoor and outdoor long jump has considerable experience at the national level, competing in the United States Olympic Trials in 2008.

Django Lovett will also take aim at the world championships next week as he travels to Moncton, New Brunswick, for the Canadian Track & Field Championships.

Lovett, from Surrey, British Columbia, will represent the British Columbia Athletics senior team at Stade Moncton Stadium. He enters with a personal best of 7-1 ½ (2.17 meters) that ranks third in the small field of high jumpers, but will have to improve by 14 centimeters to make the A Standard (7-7, 2.31 meters).

Still, the three-time NCAA Outdoor Championship qualifier has competed in high-profile meets for Canada, including the 2012 Canadian Track & Field Trials.

Ross will compete Thursday, June 20, at 5 p.m. MT, while both Walker (2:15 p.m. MT) and Lovett (3 p.m.) will compete Saturday, June 22.  

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