Okagbare Wins NCAA Title in 100-Meter Dash

June 11, 2010


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UTEP track and field standout Blessing Okagbare added another chapter to her storied career by toppling the field in the final of the 100-meter dash for the first outdoor title of her career at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Friday evening.

Risper Kimaiyo and Dimitrios Fylladitakis made their own contributions to a successful day on the track and field for the Miners finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, in their events.

“Today was a very, very good day for us,” head coach Bob Kitchens said following the day’s events. “We walked away with three All-Americans and the women really set themselves up for something good tomorrow. Blessing was excellent, Risper had a great race and Dimitrios had a good day so I’m pleased.”

Okagbare broke her own school record of 11.10 posted earlier this season at the Texas Relays with a wind-aided time of 10.98 to claim her first outdoor crown and the third of her career, the most by a Miner woman. The title is the first for the women’s program since the 2000 championships and just the sixth in program history.

“I knew the people I was running against today were pretty good and I had to work for what I got today,” Okagbare said following the race. “I just wanted to go out there and race. I was not trying to chase anyone but just do what I had to do. Today I got it right.”

Okagbare will earn her 10th U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-American honor at the conclusion of the meet. The Sapele, Nigeria, native will have a chance to duplicate her 2010 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships performance, in which she claimed the 60m and long jump titles, when she takes the field in the women’s long jump at 9:30 a.m. (PT) on Saturday.

Junior Dimitrios Fylladitakis earned his second consecutive All-America honor with a sixth-place finish in the men’s hammer. Fylladitakis improved in each of the first three throws of the semifinals to earn a place in the men’s final. The Crete, Greece, native posted his best throw of the day in the third attempt with a mark of 66.77m (219-01). He fouled in the fourth and sixth attempts and recorded a distance of 65.45m (214-08) in the fifth throw of the day.

Risper Kimaiyo closed out the afternoon in a good note for the Miners in the women’s 5,000m race. The cross country All-American came into her first track and field championships with the 17th best time out of the NCAA Preliminaries to take fourth with a time of 16:06.26.

“I was hoping to get seventh or eighth so I am very happy with fourth,” Kimaiyo said. “The last two laps got hard, but I said to myself that I could rest at the finish line.”

After eventual winner Lisa Koll (Iowa State), Marie Louise Asselin (West Virginia) and Angela Bizzarri (Illinois) broke away from the pack, Kimaiyo positioned herself in front setting the pace through the remaining laps. Bizzarri’s surprise exit from the race opened up a spot ensuing a battle for the top eight spots in the final lap. Koll took first while Asselin was the runner-up and Oregon’s Alex Kosinski was third.

Kimaiyo’s five points and Okagbare’s 10 put the UTEP women in 17th place with two events left on Saturday morning. Still to compete is last year’s bronze medalist in the javelin Anna Wessman; that event is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. (PT).

The final day of competition will be aired live on CBS, Saturday, June 12, beginning at 1 p.m., eastern. Non-televised coverage will be streamed at no cost on NCAA.com.



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