14 UTEP Miners Headed to NCAA Track & Field Championships
A total of 14 Miners earned a trip to the national meet after the conclusion of the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminary on Saturday night in Austin, Texas.
“Today we qualified both our relays and women in the hammer and 5,000m to nationals and that’s all that matters,” head coach Bob Kitchens said. “We had a great. We did as much as we could do and more. Both our men and women just had an outstanding meet. I hope it carries over to nationals now.”
Kitchens, who will retire at the end of the season after 22 seasons at the helm of the UTEP track and field program, will coach the final meet of his career on the big stage. As the sprints and relays coach, Kitchens will have a chance to add to his already impressive list of accomplishments as eight Miners will compete for national championships in either sprints or relay events in Eugene, Ore.
“Our relays ran decent races and I’m happy with both performances, but I also know that we can run better in both. We’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing and we’re going to the national meet.”
The quartet of Suji Adeniyan, Anderson Mutegi, Curtis Kock and Ronalds Arajs secured their spot in the men’s 4x100m relay finishing first in their heat with a time of 39.72.
Mutegi and Arajs had already guaranteed a trip to nationals in individual events on Saturday night. Arajs qualified in the 100-meter dash, while Mutegi advanced in the 400-meter dash.
The women’s 4x100m relay recorded the second-best time, 44.31, in program history to advance to the national meet. Shalaiyah Sommerville, Endurance Abinuwa, Siobhian Crain and Blessing Okagbare were second in the final of three heats. Sommerville and Okagbare were part of the All-American relay squad that finished sixth at the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Cross country All-American Risper Kimaiyo will be making her first appearance at a track and field national championship following a third place finish in the first of two heats in the women’s 5,000-meter run. With the top five in each heat advancing to Eugene, Kimaiyo was an automatic qualifier with a time of 16:37.46. Junior Kathya Garcia was edged out of nationals placing 14th overall with a time of 16:54.48.
The Miners also qualified Terran Alexander in the women’s hammer throw. The junior from Del Rio, Texas, recorded her best throw of the day, 57.06m (187-02), in her third attempt. She finished 11th out of 48 competitors vying for 12 spots out of the west region to advance to nationals.
Other qualifiers include Anna Wessman in the javelin, Okagbare in the 100m and long jump, Dimitrios Fylladitakis and Hans Eriksson in the hammer and Nicodemus Ng’etich in the 3,000m steeplechase.
The 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are scheduled for June 9-12 in Eugene, Ore.