Jan. 21, 2010
EL PASO, Texas – The UTEP track and field squads will open the 2010 indoor season when they travel to Lubbock for the Texas Tech Invitational this weekend.
The women go into this weekend’s competition ranked 25th by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association preseason rankings.
“A preseason ranking just means that people have taken notice of the proven talent within our team,” head coach Bob Kitchens said. “We’re going to go into the season as we do every year, with expectations. But first we’ve got to see where we’re at and see how our athletes perform the first weekend.”
UTEP concluded the 2009 indoor season at the NCAA Indoor Championships where the men’s distance medley relay placed 12 (9:38.97) and, then freshman, Endurance Abinuwa posted an 11th place finish in the women’s 400m final (53.92). The men finished second while the women placed fourth at the 2009 Conference USA Championships.
“We have a good group of athletes on both teams that have a chance to do something at the conference and national level this season,” Kitchens added.
The Miners will kick off the two-day meet at the Athletic Training Center at 5 p.m. (MT) when throwers Terran Alexander, Laura Macauley and Amanda Pulido take the field in the women’s weight throw. All-American Dimitrios Fylladitakis along with Hans Eriksson and Justin Kepple will immediately follow in the men’s weight throw competition.
On the other side of the field, junior Amanda Apodaca will be joined by a pair of newcomers Marine Menez and Tako Niare in the women’s high jump. All-American Blessing Okagbare returns to competition on the indoor field following a one-year hiatus. Okagbare will compete in the women’s long jump, also slated for a 5 p.m. start.
Running events will get started at 6 p.m. (MT) on Friday beginning with the women’s distance medley relay. The trio of Abinuwa, Gladys Nwaubani and Siobhian Crain will take the track in the women’s 200m, while Ronalds Arajs, Anderson Mutegi, Curtis Kock and Suji Adeniyan will follow in the men’s 200m.
Following a successful cross country season, the distance runners are expected to make a big impact on this year’s men’s and women’s squads. Sisters Karina and Kathya Garcia will compete together in the women’s 5,000m and Solomon Gardea will represent the Miners in the men’s race.
“The new group of distance runners we have coming in proved themselves in the fall and they are going to be factors during our indoor season,” Kitchens, who enters his 22nd season at the helm of the program, said about the Miners’ distance athletes.
Cross country All-Americans Risper Kimaiyo and Nicodemus Ng’etich will get back to competition on Saturday afternoon when they participate in their respective 3,000m race. Also competing in the men’s 3,000m are freshmen Elkana Rotich and Felix Maritim and sophomore Justice Chirchir. Running events kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“The first meet doesn’t tell us a lot,” Kitchens said about this weekend’s competition, “It’s just going to give us the opportunity to see people run and see where we put our expectations.
“This weekend is going to be about getting the body ready to go and see where our level of fitness is for a meet.”
Complete results will be available at www.utepathletics.com immediately following each day of competition.
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