BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – UTEP’s Daniel Bernal clocked in a championships meet-record and personal-best 8:00.14 to claim gold in the 3000-meter race on the final day at the 2023 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Ala., at the CrossPlex on Sunday afternoon. 
Niesha BurgherMarissa Simpson, and Kenneth Talavera joined Bernal and Jakub Belik (Saturday in the high jump) in earning gold medals. 
Overall, for the weekend, the Miners captured 12 total medals (five gold, four silver, three bronze). 
Charlotte won both the men’s (159 points) and women’s (129.5 points) titles. The UTEP men’s team placed fourth with 95 points, while the women finished in sixth (63 points). 
“Even though we had multiple excellent individual performances, we did not quite perform as well on the team’s side as expected. The final achieved team scores are a reality check for both teams,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “On the men’s side, we need to get healthy by outdoors and perform better as a team when it counts. Charlotte will still be the team to beat outdoors. We need more depth on the women’s side to reach the top level at conference. Even though we will add a couple of true outdoor athletes and indoor redshirts to the roster on the women’s side, this year’s recruiting effort will play a key role in us getting better by next year. But I’m happy to get four new first-time individual conference champions here. We will take a much-needed recovery week and get back to full scale outdoor practices the following week. Focus on practice will be a lot on building mental toughness in addition to preparing our student-athletes physically to the next championship.”
Burgher took first in the 200-meter dash, clocking in a 23.29. Overall, Burgher took three medals home. 
Burgher, in her first season with the Miners, concluded a successful indoor season. The junior transfer from Western Texas College earned a silver medal in the 60-meter dash (7.38), while also capturing another silver medal in the women’s 4×400-meter relay. She tied for second with 20 total points on the women’s side. 
Simpson ran an 8.29 to cross the finish line first in the 60-meter hurdles. 
Talavera defended his mile title from last season, clocking in a 4:07.08 to win back-to-back gold medals in the event. Talavera also took silver in the 800-meter event, turning a time of 1:53.35. Talavera, along with Bernal, tied for third with 18 total points. 
Burgher was joined by Oghenekaro BrumeLoubna Benhadja and Carshaylah Harrison on the relay squad that turned in a season-best 3:40.90.
Denae McFarlane placed third for a bronze medal in the 60-meter dash, clocking in a 7.41.
Benhadja took bronze in the 400-meter dash, clocking in a 55.29. 
Middle Tennessee’s Esther Isa tallied a meet-high 26 points, while UTSA’s Michael Roth led the men with 20.5 points. 
The 2023 outdoor season will start on March 24-25 at the Willie Williams Classic hosted by Arizona at Roy P. Drachman Stadium in Tucson.