El Paso, Texas – The UTEP track and field team laid it all on the line Sunday afternoon. The women’s effort of erasing a 22 point Western Kentucky (157 points) lead came up just short as the Hilltoppers outscored the Miners (148 points) by nine points. On the men’s side, UTEP (158 points) was able to fend off Western Kentucky for a second-place finish, but couldn’t mustard enough points to take down the team champion, UTSA (165 points).
Anthony Rotich capped an amazing run at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships; for the third year in a row, the Kenyan dazzled the crowd with three first-place finishes (1,500, 5,000 and 3,000m steeplechase).
The Orange and Blue also had two other distance runners receive accolades. Lilian Koech and Daniel Cheruiyot were named Freshman of the Meet. Koech did her best to lead her team to victory by winning the 5,000m and 1,500m races. Cheruiyot scored in three races; he finished fifth in the 3,000m steeplechase on Saturday night, fourth in the 10,000m race on Friday night and third in the 5,000m run.
Arguably, the most exciting race of the night was the final one. The UTEP men came into the 4x400m relay race in third place, one point behind Western Kentucky. The quartet of A-Shawni Mitchell, Carnell Horn, James Bias and Abiola Onakoya ran a time of 3:06.59 to take gold. In the final leg, Onakoya outran the Western Kentucky runner to electrify Kidd Field and solidify a second-place finish for the Miners.
UTEP had nine athletes work their way to the podium on Sunday. It all began with Nickevea Wilson’s solid performance in the triple jump; her bound of 12.76m (41-10.50) garnered her a second-place finish. Israel Ramsay cleared a season-best jump of 1.76m (5-9.25) in the high jump to take silver.
Cosmas Boit won his first C-USA individual outdoor title this afternoon in the 800m run with a time of 1:50.57 and he also placed fourth in the 1,500m run. Roberto Camacho ran a personal best 400m hurdle time of 51.05 to earn second-place and Tommy McCoy crossed the finish line with a time of 53.55 for a fifth-place finish.
Florence Uwakwe collected 16 points for the Orange and Blue; the sophomore won the 400m dash (52.41) for the second year in a row and placed third in the 200m dash (23.73) as well. Aiyanna Stiverne finished fourth in both the 400m dash (53.52) and 200m dash (23.74).
The women’s 100m hurdles treated the UTEP women’s team nicely. Greta Kerekes (13.53/personal best) finished second, Anna-Kay James (13.56) placed third and Bria Love (13.89/personal best) registered a fourth-place showing.
The aforementioned men’s distance runners gave UTEP a much needed late surge. Rotich (1st), Cheruiyot (3rd), Antony Kosgei (5th), Boit (6th) and Evans Kiprono amassed a whopping 25 points for the Miners.
The women’s 4x100m relay team (Ramsay, James, Stiverne, Arien Hardin) took gold in the first race of the day with a time of 44.40.
Several Miners are in qualifying position for the NCAA West Preliminaries and those will take place in Austin, Texas in late May. Check utepathletics.com for a full list later this week.