UTEP Announces December Student-Athlete Graduating Class

Blessing Okagbare

Dec. 7, 2011

Twenty-five past and present UTEP student-athletes will graduate from the university on Saturday (Dec. 10) after 38 others went through commencement procedures in May.

Included on the December list are six members of the 2011 Miner football team -- Joe Banyard, Vernon Frazier, Donavon Kemp, Nathan McCage, Tate Smith and Chris Whatley. Banyard led the team in rushing (832 yards) and Frazier rated ninth nationally in kickoff returns with a 30.5-yard average.

Also graduating this weekend is world-class track and field athlete Blessing Okagbare. She completed her career in the spring of 2010 as a four-time NCAA champion and 11-time All-American. Another track and field standout, Dimitrios Fylladitakis, will also receive his diploma this weekend. He was a two-time All-American in the hammer throw for the Miners.

Katie Dorman, Brittany Gonzalez, Anoop Josan and Sara Kaltwasser were all instrumental in the UTEP soccer team extending its current streak of consecutive winning seasons to 10. Dorman was a two-time All-Conference honoree, and Josan's 2007 accolades included freshman All-American by SoccerBuzz and second team All-League.

Volleyball's Amy Sanders paced the squad in kills three straight years (2007-09) and racked up 1,431 in a UTEP uniform, the second-top total in school history.

Sharif Fajardo (men's basketball), Milton Mallard (track & field) and Demetrious Maxie (football) all returned to El Paso to complete their degree work following extended absences to concentrate on their professional athletic careers. Fajardo was UTEP's leading scorer in its final season (1998-99) under the direction of coaching legend Don Haskins. Mallard earned a couple of All-American honors during the 1994 season. Maxie was a two-year starting linebacker for the Miners (1993-94).

Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, a first team All-Conference USA safety in 2009 and current member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, will also graduate on Saturday.

Rounding out the list of December graduates are Amanda Apodaca (track & field), Kyla Muela (volleyball), Ana Pastor (women's golf), Wayne Portalatin (men's basketball), Amanda Pulido (track & field), Kitria Stewart (track & field), Jon Wiley (football) and Tracy Wittebolle (women's basketball).

UTEP Athletics 2011 December Graduates

Amanda Apodaca (Track & Field) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Joe Banyard (Football) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith (Football) - Communication
Katie Dorman (Soccer) - Nursing
Sharif Fajardo (Men's Basketball) - Criminal Justice
Vernon Frazier (Football) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Dimitrios Fylladitakis (Track & Field) - General Business
Brittany Gonzalez (Soccer) - Nursing
Anoop Josan (Soccer) - Nursing
Sara Kaltwasser (Soccer) - Biology
Donavon Kemp (Football) - Management
Milton Mallard (Track & Field) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Demetrious Maxie (Football) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Nathan McCage (Football) - Kinesiology
Kyla Muela (Volleyball) - Education
Blessing Okagbare (Track & Field) - Management
Ana Pastor (Women's Golf) - International Business
Wayne Portalatin (Men's Basketball) - Criminal Justice
Amanda Pulido (Track & Field) - Communication
Amy Sanders (Volleyball) - Education
Tate Smith (Football) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Kitria Stewart (Track & Field) - Multimedia Journalism
Chris Whatley (Football) - Multidisciplinary Studies
Jon Wiley (Football) - Marketing
Tracy Wittebolle (Women's Basketball) - Communication

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