May 12, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. – The UTEP track and field teams arrived in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday and will compete at the 2010 Conference USA Outdoor Championships Thursday-Sunday.
The Miner women, 13th in this week’s U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings, will vie for a sweep of the league’s titles following the program’s first ever conference team crown at the 2010 C-USA Indoor Championships. Much improved from last year’s team which earned a fifth-place finish, the women will be tested by Rice, which will be defending their fourth consecutive title, Tulsa and Houston.
The men’s biggest competition heading into this weekend will be the always-dangerous contingent from Houston. The Cougars were this year’s indoor champions and will be looking for their second consecutive title.
Despite Wednesday’s arrival to the Sunshine State, most of the Miners will not be competing until Saturday. Marine Menez will be the lone competitor for the Miners when she kicks off the four-day competition in the heptathlon at 12 p.m. (MDT). Menez will be the only student-athlete that might compete all four days of the event. She will take the field in the 100-meter hurdles preliminaries on Saturday and is a possible leg for Sunday’s 4x400m relay.
The Miner trio of All-American Dimitrios Fylladitakis, Hans Eriksson and Justin Kepple will start things off for the men on Friday morning with the hammer throw. Fylladitakis will have to fend off Memphis’ Steffen Nerdal in order to defend his title; Nerdal owns the league’s best throw this season. Eriksson took silver at last year’s meet.
On the track, Solomon Gardea and Kathya and Karina Garcia will open up the distance competition with the men’s and women’s 10,000-meter race.
Highlighting the field events on Saturday will be All-American and indoor NCAA champion Blessing Okagbare in the long jump scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (MDT). Okagbare will be looking for her third consecutive outdoor title in the event, she leaped to a C-USA meet record 6.90m (22-07.50). The jump was the sixth-best ever recorded in NCAA women’s history. The senior will also run for a spot on Sunday’s 100-meter dash final alongside Gladys Nwaubani. Okagbare goes into both events with the league’s top performances this season.
Preliminaries for the sprints will begin at 5 p.m. (MDT) with the men’s and women’s 400 meters. Anderson Mutegi, Curtis Kock and Miguel Garcia will run the men’s race, while Endurance Abinuwa and Siobhian Crain run the women’s event. Mutegi and Abinuwa enter the preliminary round with C-USA bests, Mutegi was last year’s conference champion, he will also take part in the 200-meter dash preliminary. The only final on the track for the Miners on Saturday night will be the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase that will include Nicodemus Ng’etich, Robert Menjo and Felix Maritim.
Aside from finals for the sprints and middle distances, Sunday’s action has All-American Anna Wessman defending her javelin title, Justin Kepple in the discus, Tako Niare and Amanda Apodaca in the high jump and Alexander Terran in the shot put.
For more information and live results of the 2010 C-USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships visit: http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/championships/10-o-trackchampionship.html.