UTEP Track & Field Men's Team Claims C-USA Title
May 12, 2013
Houston, Texas – The UTEP track and field team claimed the 2013 Conference USA Outdoor Title on Sunday.
“It’s a special feeling,” said head coach Mika Laaksonen, who was named the C-USA Coach of the Year. “We’ve been chasing for a couple of years now, second place the last four years; this is sweet.”
It all came down to the final event of the night for the men’s championship. The Miners led by five points heading into the 4x400m relay with Houston sitting in second.
Kicking off the relay for the team was Carnell Horn, who put the Miners in good position handing it off to A-Shawni Mitchell. Mitchell took off and gave Daniel Tarango a head start. Tarango sustained the lead and handed the baton to anchor Abiola Onakoya. Onakoya stormed out and in the final curve flew past the competition giving the Miners the victory with a time of 3:10.41.
UTEP earned the championship trophy with a final score of 166.50. Houston took second with a combined score of 152.50.
The Miners opened the full day of events with the men’s 1,500m where once again Anthony Rotich was victorious. The sophomore earned his second gold medal of the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championship with a career best of 3:43.01. Teammate Elkana Rotich also clocked in a personal best of 3:46.81 claiming the bronze medal.
Anthony Rotich ended the meet with a triple crown winning the 5,000m run. The distance runner did not back down taking another gold medal with a time of 14:25.92. The All-American was named C-USA Outstanding Male Performer of the Meet.
Elkana Rotich finished third in his first 5,000m of the season with a time of 14:34.12. Sophomore Elphas Maiyo concluded the race in fourth place with a time of 14:38.27.
The Miners dominated the track in the men’s 400m dash posting a one, two, three finish. Leading the way was captain Abiola Onakoya with a first-place finish with a time of 46.90. A-Shawni Mitchell crossed the finish line second with a time of 47.11 and Carnell Horn was third with a personal best of 48.01.
Onakoya was not done as he took the track once more in the 200m dash to boost the Miners on the leaderboard. The junior registered a bronze medal finish with a time of 21.34. Anthony Wright concluded the race with a six-place finish earning the squad three more points.
El Paso native Daniel Tarango had a stellar showing in the 800m upsetting Houston in a photo finish. Tarango sat in the top three heading into the 800m finals. The freshman fought to the last second to earn a silver medal with a time of 1:51.69.
Jackson also placed third in the men’s 100m finals with a season-best time of 10.44.
Wrapping up the men’s side of action was junior Richard Olsson in the javelin throw. In the throwers first attempt of the night, he recorded a mark of 68.64m (225-02) earning him a silver medal at the conference meet.
On the women’s side, the hurdlers dominated the field posting personal best marks. Janice Jackson earned her second C-USA gold medal with a personal-best time of 13.11 in the 100m hurdles. Her time also ranks her 10th nationally heading into the NCAA Preliminary Championships.
Senior Risper Kimaiyo ended her regular season with another gold finish in the 5,000m. The All-American defended her C-USA title posting a winning time of 16:17.83.
The women’s 4x100m relay team (McGhee, Yolanda Suggs, Jackson and Sharper) registered a tough finish clocking in a time of 45.32.
The women’s team concluded the meet in sixth place with a total of 62 points.