UTEP's Rotich, Brown, Carrera, Joyce Snag Top UTEP Athletic Honors
May 2, 2012
Track & field's Elkana Rotich was recipient of the UTEP Male Athlete of the Year Award, while basketball's Gloria Brown and softball's Camilla Carrera were co-recipients of the Female Athlete of the Year honor at the 38th annual "Dinner With The Miners" banquet on Wednesday night at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.
Marie-Therese Joyce received the Golden Miner Award, and Traci Miller was recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award.
Rotich was a double threat for the UTEP cross country and track and field teams over the last year. During the 2011 outdoor track season, he was Conference USA champion in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, while finishing third in the 1,500. He won the 1,500 meters at five separate meets over the course of the outdoor campaign. Rotich was equally as successful during the Miners' 2011 cross country season, picking up a second-place showing at the conference meet and earning a bid to the NCAA Championships. Rotich garnered USTFCCCA All-Region honors in cross country and was a three-time C-USA Athlete of the Week.
The catalyst of the most successful season in UTEP women's basketball history, Brown helped the Miners post a school and Conference USA record 29 wins while winning the league's regular season and tournament title. Despite coming off the bench for all 33 games, Brown led the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. She repeated as the C-USA Sixth Person of the Year and was tabbed first team all-league. Brown also earned a spot on the C-USA All-Defensive Team while averaging 12.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.7 steals. She was appointed C-USA Tournament MVP as the Miners clinched their second NCAA Tournament bid in five years.
A dominant force in the college softball ranks, Camilla Carrera leads the country with 29 home runs and a 1.191 slugging percentage in 2012. She also ranks among the national leaders in batting with a .450 average. Carrera has paced UTEP in most offensive categories including RBI, on-base percentage, runs scored, walks and total bases. She has recorded 16 multi-hit games and 17 games with two or more runs batted in.
Joyce has been a major contributor for a UTEP volleyball program that has increased its win total in each of the last four years. In 112 matches for the Miners, "M.T." registered 282 kills, 89 service aces, 542 digs and 104 blocks. She posted career-highs across the board as a senior in 2011, helping UTEP record 19 victories, its top tally in six years. She was also third in Conference USA in service aces with 0.31 per set. In 2009, she played for the Bring It Promotions/USA Development Team, helping the squad to a gold medal at the Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia.
"M.T." was a four-time C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll selection and a four-time recipient of a C-USA Academic Medal for posting a grade point average of 3.75 or better. She graduated from UTEP with a degree in Media Advertising in December of 2010 and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. "M.T." has also performed 200 community service hours in her Miner career, working with the SAAC Hunger, Child Crisis Center Rescue Mission, West Texas Food Bank, Project Move, EPISD and Paso Del Norte projects. She is president of UTEP's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
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.
Miller was a two-year standout for the Miners from 1985-87 after transferring from College of the Desert. She averaged a team-leading 11.4 points as a junior, and 18.3 points as a senior. Miller totaled 747 points at UTEP, putting her 21st on the school's all-time scoring list. Her career average of 14.6 ppg rates sixth in school history. Miller scored in double figures 37 times in a Miner uniform, with eleven 20-point games her senior campaign.
After completing her college eligibility, Miller played professionally in Europe for four years. She returned to El Paso and has served as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for the past 12 years. Her current role is second vice president of wealth management. Miller continues to take an active role working with the UTEP women's basketball program, serving as a team mentor previously and in her current capacity as radio color commentator. She is also a passionate supporter of local animal rescue groups, aiding fund-raising efforts, and has volunteered with the First Tee of America Association, an organization that introduces golf to underprivileged children.
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 Gabriel McCulley (men's basketball); Alix Moncada & Andrea Palafox (rifle); Martin Simonsen (men's golf); Shang-Fan Huang & Teresa Nogués (women's golf); Stephanie Figueroa & Xitlali Herrera (volleyball); Azia Nicholson (soccer); Camilla Carrera & Chelsea Troupe (softball); Anthony Wright (men's indoor track and field); Dimitrios Fylladitakis (men's outdoor track and field); Endurance Abinuwa (women's indoor track and field); Terran Alexander (women's outdoor track and field); Justice Chirchir (men's cross country); Risper Kimaiyo (women's cross country); Rebeca Calvillo (tennis); Lamar Holmes & JaLyssa Walker (cheerleading); Jeremy Springer & Victoria Valencia (strength & conditioning); and J.P. Ramirez (athletic training). The women's basketball MVP award went to the entire team.
The UTEP football team announced its award winners as well. The honorees are as follows: Joe Banyard (Offensive MVP), TraVaun Nixon (Defensive MVP), Adrian James (Special Teams MVP), Josh Bell (Offensive Scout Team MVP), A.J. Ropati (Defensive Scout Team MVP), Julio Lopez (Most Inspirational Player & Pick Axe Award), Jordan Leslie (Dr. Diana Natalicio Academic Award) and Jeremy Springer (Bob Stull 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.