El Paso, Texas – The UTEP track and field team will be sending 25 athletes (11 women and 14 men) to compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries next weekend (May 28-30) in Austin, Texas.
In order to advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., an athlete or relay team must finish in the top 12 in their respective event.
The Miners will have four athletes running in the 400m dash. Florence Uwakwe (52.52) and Aiyanna Stiverne (52.92) will be representing the women’s side while Abiola Onakoya (46.58) and A-Shawni Mitchell (46.99) will run for the men.
A trio of distance runners will be running in three different events hoping to qualify for nationals. Three-time national champion Anthony Rotich (8:39.70) will be running in his most dominant event, the 3,000m steeplechase. Lilian Koech (16:19.91) and Cosmas Boit (13:56.82) both qualified for the 5,000m run.
The Orange and Blue will also have a triumvirate of hurdlers vying for a spot at the NCAA Championships. Greta Kerekes (13.57) and Anna-Kay James (13.60) both registered times fast enough to place themselves in the 100m hurdles section. Senior Roberto Camacho, who ran a personal best of 51.05 last weekend at the Conference USA Championships, will be running in the 400m hurdles.
A plethora of field athletes also qualified for the NCAA Preliminaries. On the women’s side, Nickevea Wilson (12.78m) and Monica Lopez (12.37m) both registered triple jump marks long enough to earn a bid to Austin. Israel Ramsay will be competing in the long jump (6.09m) and the high jump (1.76m); she registered both of those marks last weekend at the C-USA Championships. Finally, Samantha Hall (56.40m), who is now the school record holder, and Taylor Gunn (52.34m) will be heaving the discus.
On the men’s side, Carlos Hernandez will be leaping in the high jump (2.11m) and long jump (7.68m). Brandon Moss (7.75m) will also be competing in the long jump and Rasmus Maukonen (72.74m) will be heaving the javelin.
El Paso native Jallycia Pearson will not be competing in the NCAA Prelims, but she has earned a spot in the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon. For the heptathlon, there is no qualifying for NCAA West Preliminaries; the top 24 marks automatically advance to the NCAA Championships. Pearson (5,527 points) has the 23rd-best mark in the nation.
UTEP also has three relay teams competing for a chance to go to Eugene. The women’s 4x100m relay team of Ramsay, James, Stiverne and Arien Hardin ran a season-best time of 44.40 at the C-USA Championships last weekend and have the fifth-fastest time in the West. The men will have a 4x100m and 4x400m relay team. The 4x400m squad of A-Shawni Mitchell, Carnell Horn, James Bias and Onakoya took gold at the Conference USA Championships.