Rotich and Kimaiyo Tabbed UTEP Athletes of the Year

Anete Steinberga

April 30, 2013

Track & Field's Anthony Rotich and cross country's Risper Kimaiyo were named the UTEP Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively, at the 39th annual "Dinner With The Miners" banquet on Tuesday night at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Women's Basketball's Anete Steinberga received the Golden Miner Award, and Don Black was recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award.

After staking his claim as one of the top freshmen in the country a year ago, Rotich has produced a blockbuster sophomore campaign. He finished sixth in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, picking up the third All-American honor of his career. Rotich also took 13th in the 3,000 meters. He was ranked in the top-16 nationally in the mile, 3,000 and 5,000 meters over the course of the 2013 indoor season. The native of Nairobi, Kenya was the high point scorer at the 2013 Conference USA Indoor Championships, placing first in the 5,000 and second in the mile and distance medley relay. He was also anointed the Outstanding Performer of the Meet after setting a conference record in the 3,000. Earlier in the year, Rotich was the first freshman to cross the finish line at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, claiming fourth place. He was individual champion at the C-USA Cross Country Championship and Freshman of the Meet.

The 2012 Conference USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year, Kimaiyo was a dominant force on the course. She finished in the top-three at six meets over the course of the season, including capturing her third Conference USA title. The Iten, Kenya native was selected the C-USA Senior of the Meet after blazing the trail with a personal-best time of 16:42.8 in the 5K race. The first team All-League honoree was also a four-time C-USA Athlete of the Week her senior year. She went on to take second at the NCAA Pre-National Meet, a precursor to finishing fifth at the NCAA Championships with a personal-best time of 19:41.0 in the 6K race. Kimaiyo became the first female in UTEP history to achieve four consecutive cross country All-American honors. She was also tabbed the NCAA Mountain Region Athlete of the Year. She has equally excelled off the playing field, picking up three USTFCCCA All-Academic accolades as well as earning three spots on the Conference USA Cross Country All-Academic team.

Steinberga played a crucial role as the UTEP women's basketball team racked up 51 victories over the last two years. She saved her best work for last, however, as a senior, leading the team in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding. Steinberga averaged 15.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and shot 44 percent from the floor in 2012-13, rating in the top-12 in C-USA in all three statistical categories. She was appointed first team All-Conference USA after setting a school record with 29 double-figure scoring games in 32 contests. The Ikskile, Latvia product became just the fourth player in school history to score 500 points in a season, and her 192 field goals rate third in UTEP annals. Steinberga concluded her career as one of four Miners with 1,000-plus points and a minimum 570 rebounds. She ranks sixth in school history with 582 rebounds and eighth with 1,024 points. Off the hardwood, Steinberga has fashioned a 3.37 grade point average while majoring in Psychology. She earned three appointments to the Conference USA Academic Honor Roll. Despite juggling academics and athletics, Steinberga has found time to give back to the community, completing over 25 hours of service work during her time on campus.

The Silver Anniversary Miner Award is presented to an individual who had a distinguished college athletic career, and has continued to contribute to UTEP and the El Paso community.

Black was a four-year football letterwinner at UTEP from 1986-88, a period in which the Miners piled up 21 victories under coach Bob Stull. Black made contributions at every spot in the offensive line and served as the team's backup center his senior year, while also handling snapping duties. UTEP set a school record with 10 wins in 1988 en route to an Independence Bowl berth. After graduating from UTEP, Black began a long and distinguished run of service to the El Paso Police Department. He was commissioned on Aug. 13, 1993, and promoted to sergeant on Dec. 19, 2002. Black was filed for performance on seven occasions, received unit commendations five times and division commendations twice. He was named Officer of the Month for May 1994 and September 1995. His extensive background as a member of the force includes investigating or assisting with over 200 fatal traffic collisions. He has also coordinated VIP escorts for high profile dignitaries, including the President of the United States.

The team grade point average award went to women's golf. The community service award was presented to the volleyball program.

In addition, team MVP awards were presented to Jacques Streeter (men's basketball), Anete Steinberga & Kayla Thornton (women's basketball), Anthony Rotich (men's cross country, men's indoor & outdoor track & field), Risper Kimaiyo (women's cross country), Michael Edwards (football), Martin Simonsen (men's golf), Camino Sardinero (women's golf), Jennifer Armendariz & Hannah Muegge (rifle), Tori Martyn (soccer), Erika Arcuri & Kayleigh Walts (softball), Rebeca Calvillo (tennis), Janice Jackson (women's indoor & outdoor track & field), Xitlali Herrera & Jeane Horton (volleyball), Jimmy Salais & Sandra Valenzuela (cheerleading), Donovant Grant, Marcus Bagley & Anete Steinberga (strength & conditioning) and Maria Estrada (athletic training).

The UTEP football team also announced the following award winners: Jordan Leslie (Offensive MVP), Josh Fely (Defensive MVP), Wesley Miller (Special Teams MVP), Garrett Simpson (Offensive Scout Team MVP), Michael Kelley (Defensive Scout Team MVP), DeShawn Grayson (Most Inspirational Player), Ruben Munoz (Pick Axe Award) and Wesley Miller (Dr. Diana Natalicio Academic Award).

"Dinner With The Miners" is made possible by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club. The event was inspired by past Lion president John Phelan. In 1979, a $10,000 memorial endowment was established. Due to the overwhelming community support of the event, the memorial fund was raised to $100,000 in 1983. A second endowment has already been established and continues to grow each year. These two endowments provide funds annually to offset the cost of student-athlete scholarships.

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