May 30, 2009
EL PASO, Texas - Five men and three women will represent UTEP at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships scheduled for June 11-13 at Fayetteville, Ark., following this weekend's Midwest Regionals.
"This was a good weekend for us," head coach Bob Kitchens said. "We did what we came to do and qualified our athletes for the national meet. We could have done better, but the important thing was getting to nationals and we did just that."
All-American Blessing Okagbare qualified in two more events to the NCAA Championships after finishing top five in the women's triple and 100-meter dash. The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump finished third in the triple jump reaching a distance of 13.47m (44-02 ½ ft.) to qualify for a second jumping event in two weeks. The Sapele, Nigeria, native will also see the track after posting the fifth-best time of the day, 11.37, in the 100m.
The hammer tandem of Dimitrios Fylladitakis and Hans Eriksson punched their tickets to the national meet with two top five finishes for the Miners. Sophomore Fylladitakis picked up his first regional crown in the men's hammer throw besting the field with a distance of 67.27m (220-08 ft.). Eriksson was fourth with a mark of 62.79m (206-00 ft.).
All-American Dominic Tanui was the region's runner-up in the men's 800-meter race qualifying him for the national meet with a time of 1:48.29. Anderson Mutegi will also make the trip to Arkansas with fifth-place finish of 20.84 in the men's 200-meter dash in today's regional finals.
Freshman Anna Wessman picked up a silver medal with a mark of 53.04m (174-00 ft.) in the women's javelin. Fellow freshman Laura Macauley's distance of 48.07m (157-08 ft.) was the seventh-best at the regional meet. Wessman automatically advances to nationals, while Macauley will wait for a NCAA at-large bid.
Newcomer Endurance Abinuwa, a 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships participant, will get a second chance at a national meet after posting the third-best time of the day in the women's 400-meters, 52.72.
The men's 1,600 meter relay finished seventh with a time of 3:06.39, the quartet are in the bubble for a NCAA at-large bid. Suji Adeniyan ran the first leg with a time of 47.1, Curtis Kock (second leg) ran his portion in 46, third leg Tanui's time was 47.5 and Anderson Mutegi ran the anchor in 45.3.
Alex van der Merwe assured his spot in nationals during yesterday's javelin competition finishing fourth at the meet.