EL PASO - Nine Miners from the UTEP track and field team will compete at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore., from June 5-8 at Hayward Field.
Kicking off the week of action for the team will be Anthony Rotich in the 3,000m steeplechase semifinal on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. (PCT), followed by Risper Kimaiyo in the 10,000m final at 7:10 p.m.
The Miners continue to be recognized for their efforts on the field and in the classroom. Mark Jackson was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Mountain Region Athlete of the Year heading into the championship seeded seventh with a leap of 15.94m (52-03.75) posted at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
Janice Jackson not only excels on the track but also in the classroom sporting a grade point average of 3.88, which secured her a spot in the Conference USA All-Academic team. The hurdler will be making her second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100m hurdles.
Live results of the NCAA Championship will be available at http://www.rtspt.com/ncaa/d1outdoor13/.
Going the Distance
Rotich took the track in the first heat of the men's 3,000m steeplechase at the NCAA West Preliminary Round and automatically qualified for the NCAA Championship after blowing past the competition with a time of 8:37.49. The sophomore finished the meet third overall out of 48 competitors.
At the Conference USA Championship, Anthony Rotich was recognized as the Performer of the Meet after posting a triple-crown performance. The sophomore stormed out to winning the 1,500m, 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase in the three-day meet.
Rotich was one of two individuals on the men's side to set a meet record at the conference outdoor meet, clocking in a time of 8:39.44 in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Last season, he finished sixth at the NCAA Championships in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 8:46.01 receiving his first All-American honor in the Orange and Blue.
Rotich ran for the first time this season in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays. The sophomore was the first collegiate runner to cross the finish line with a personal-best time of 8:37.47, which also ranks him third in the nation.
The distance runner also holds the ninth-fastest time in the nation in the 5,000m with a time of 13:34.84, which also is the fourth-fastest time in school history. Rotich will not be running in the 5,000m at the West Preliminary Round, he will focus on the 3,000m steeplechase the remainder of the season.
The sophomore is a three-time All-American earning honors in the 3,000m steeplechase (2012), indoor 5,000m (2013) and cross country (2012).
Miners Bring Reinforcement
The Miners have always been a force to be reckoned with but this season UTEP is bringing some reinforcements on the field. Texas transfer, Mark Jackson, has conquered the jumps and proved to be a contender at the national level.
Jackson not only claimed the title in the triple jump at Drake Relays, but also posted a personal best and the fourth-best leap in the nation of 16.19m (53-01.50).
The jumper went on to qualify for the NCAA West Preliminary Round in both the triple and long jump for the Miners. At the meet he punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships with only three attempts. Jackson posted a leap of 15.94m (52-03.75) finishing sixth overall.
Most recently the Taylor, Texas native was named the USTFCCCA Mountain Region Athlete of the Year for his success on the field.
The junior took the gold medal at the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championship in the triple jump with a mark of 15.79m (51-09.75). He went on to compete in the long jump for the first time this outdoor season and finished fifth out of 20 jumpers. He recorded the 64th-best jump of the nation of 7.46m (24-05.75) in his second to last attempt.
The squad earned the final spot in the West Region to advance to the NCAA Championships as the squad ran in the first and fastest heat of the 4x400m semifinals at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. The team proved to be a threat clocking in a personal-best time of 3:06.88. The time is also garnered the foursome the No. 4 spot in the UTEP recordbook.
Earlier this season the relay team registered a time of 3:08.03 at Texas Relays. Its time rates 40th in the nation this season.
The team helped the men's team secure the conference title with a first-place finish, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:10.41.
Abiola Onakoya has boosted the 4x400m relay as the anchor of the squad. He had a stellar meet at the UTEP Invitational, where he registered a personal best of 20.83 in the 200m. He then went on to post the 32nd-fastest time in the nation of 46.22 in the 400m, which earned him C-USA Athlete of the Week honors.
The junior dominated the competition at the C-USA Championships finished first in the 400m, third in the 200m and brought home the title with a first-place finish in the 4x400m relay.
A-Shawni Mitchell has excelled this season for the Miners posting the 78th-best time in the nation this season of 46.90 in the 400m posted at the UTEP Invitational.
Mitchell claimed second place in a close finish at the C-USA Championships, where he crossed the finish line with a time of 47.11.
Carnell Horn improves every time he takes the track. The freshman helped UTEP record a one-two-three finish at the C-USA Championships registering a personal best of 48.01.
El Paso native Daniel Tarango has had a tremendous season. The freshman opened the season with a personal best of 1:51.58 in the 800m set at the Texas Tech Open.
Tarango went on to claim his first individual medal at the C-USA Championship. He took silver in the 800m with a time of 1:51.69.
Jumping Over Obstacles
Janice Jackson is known for finishing ahead of the pack time after time. The junior earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, after finishing in the top three in her heat of the 100m hurdles at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
At the NCAA West Preliminary Round she finished second overall in the prelims. She then went on to post a time of 13.18 in the semifinals taking sixth place overall.
The hurdler earned her second C-USA gold medal but this time stormed past the competition in the 100m hurdles.
The junior clocked in the 14th-fastest time in the nation and a personal best of 13.11 at the conference meet. The hurdler also secured the No. 2 spot in the school recordbook, which she previously held with a time of 13.24 set at the 2012 NCAA West Preliminary.
During the season, Jackson took first place in the 100m hurdles at Drake Relays with a time of 13.26 (W: -1.6).
Returning to the women's team one final time is senior Risper Kimaiyo. The distance runner had to sit out the 2012 outdoor season due to an injury, but Kimaiyo is back and stronger then ever.
The senior took two titles at the C-USA Championship meet winning the 10,000m and defending her crown in the 5,000m. Kimaiyo ran the 10,000m for the second time in her career and proved to be victorious with a time of 34:47.64.
Kimaiyo was the only competitor for the Miners on the women's side to take the track in two events at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. She punched her ticket to her final NCAA Championship appearance in the 10,000m with a time of 35:08.85.
This will be the first time the senior will run in the 10,000m at the national level. She concluded the NCAA West Preliminaries 10th overall.
The distance runner sits 24th nationally in the 5,000m with a time of 15:55.67 registered earlier this season at the 55th Mt. SAC Relays.
The All-American has been known for her effort in the 5,000m ranking nationally year after year, but the senior has proven to be a threat in the 10,000m as well. Kimaiyo ran in the 10,000m for the first time this season at the Stanford Invitational and registered the 13th-fastest time in the nation of 33:24.21.
Taking the Field
Supporting the women's team on the field this season is sophomore Nickevea Wilson in the triple jump.
Wilson secured the final spot of the West Region in the triple jump. She set a personal best of 12.76m (41-10.50) with only three attempts at the highly competitive NCAA West Preliminary meet.
The jumper opened the season with the 43rd-best leap in the nation of 12.72m (41-08.75), which was registered at the Texas Tech Open.