April 30, 2009
EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP track and field teams will travel to Albuquerque, NM, for the 19th annual Don Kirby Invitational this weekend for its final met before the Conference USA Championships.
A pair of distance runners, Kathya Garcia and All-American Nicodemus Ng'etich will head west to Stanford's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. Both Miners will be looking to qualify for the regional meet when they take the track in their respective 5,000-meter races.
All but one of UTEP's throwers will make the trip to the University of New Mexico for this weekend's competition and two will be defending titles. Freshman Laura Macauley will double-up in the javelin and the discus, with Amanda Pulido joining her in the latter. Terran Alexander will be the third woman in action in the shot put.
All-American Alex van der Merwe, javelin, and Dimitrios Fylladitakis, hammer, the 2008 Don Kirby champions in their events will take the field to defend their titles. Hammer thrower Hans Eriksson, a second-place finisher to Fylladitakis last year and Justin Kepple round out the field.
On the track, Ronalds Arajs will be the only returning champion to the meet after claiming the crown in the men's 100-meter dash. Arajs will be heavily challenged by UNM's Jermaine McQueen who will be running his last meet on his home track. Suji Adeniyan and Omololu Ogunlana will also take part in the 100m.
A fourth Miner will look to post regional qualifying time in the men's 200-meter dash as Adeniyan runs his second event of the day. Also running the men's 200m are Curtis Kock, Anderson Mutegi and Arajs, all have already qualified for the May 29-30 NCAA Regionals in Norman, Okla. Kock and Mutegi are also part of the 400-meters field.
Justice Chirchir will be the only distance runner participating at the Don Kirby on Saturday when he appears in the 1,500-meter race. Delia Cesar will participate in the women's version of the 1,500m, Jepchirchir Kigen was the 2008 champion in the event.
All-Americans Blessing Okagbare will participate in the 100-meter dash as All-American Shalaiyah Sommerville and Gladys Nwaubani attempt to better their time to a regional qualifying standard. Okagbare will be running in the event for the first time this season.
Other competitors include Endurance Abinuwa and Siobhian Crain in the women's 400-meters, Kitria Stewart in the 800-meters, Chasity Ross in the 400-meter hurdles and Crain, Nwaubani and Sommerville in the 200-meter dash.