Friday , April 28 2017
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Miners Notch Four First Place Finishes at Brutus Hamilton Challenge

Berkley, Ca. – The UTEP track and field team had four first-place finishes in six different events on day one Friday at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge.

Karol Koncos won the men’s hammer throw tossing 63.35m (207-10). Koncos has thrown over 60m four times this season. Kevin Rincon placed 12th overall with a throw of 45.02m (147-08).

Daniel Cheruiyot took the lead in the 3,000m steeplechase and never looked back stopping the clock at 9:07.17. Antony Kosgei (14:37.21) and Evans Kirpono (15:07.87) finished first and second respectively in the 5,000m run.

Winny Koech took home gold in the women’s 5,000m run leading the race from the start to finish with a time of 16:45.77, followed by teammate Gladys Jerotich with a season-best 17:23.25.

Fayon Gonzales threw 50.11m (164-05) to place fourth in the javelin and placed eighth in the hammer throw with a toss of 37.75m (123-10). Abedola Akomolafe took ninth-place with a toss of 48.96m (160-07), followed by Cierra Chenault in 10th with a personal-best 45.91m (150-07).

Lucia Mokrasova placed fourth in the women’s javelin with a toss of 36.67m (123-07).

The Miners return to action on Saturday with the first field event starting at 10:00 a.m. PT and the first running event starting at 1:20 p.m.

For live updates and breaking news follow @UTEPTrack on Twitter and uteptrack on Instagram.

UTEP Rifle Gains Experience At 2017 USA Shooting National Junior Olympics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – UTEP rifle team members Abby Monique (smallbore and air rifle) Mara Rouse, Maranda Nelson and Bailey Powell (air rifle only) recently had an amazing opportunity for growth by being invited to compete at the 2017 USA Shooting National Junior Olympic Shooting Championships at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Miners interacted with and shared the range with some of the best shooters in the sport, including 2016 Rio Olympics Women’s Air Rifle gold medalist Ginny Thrasher.

It marked the first such trip to the event for Rouse while Monique and Powell made their third and Nelson her fourth. The Miners performed admirably, placing three individuals among the top 75 (in a field of nearly 200) in the 10m air rifle.

In order to attend the Junior Olympics, athletes who are under the age of 20 (junior-aged athletes), must compete in a state junior Olympic Shooting championship match and receive an invitation to compete by meeting either an automatic score or win the athlete’s respective state title.

“It was very exciting to have all four of our junior aged athletes qualify and compete at the Junior Olympic Shooting Championships representing UTEP,” UTEP head coach Hannah Muegge said. “I’d like to thank our UTEP parents who came out and supported all of our athletes, in addition to those back home who followed along online. In the collegiate category, we definitely had one of the largest showings at this match. I could not ask for a better support system.”

Powell was exceptional, finishing in 14th place (out of a field of 180) in the 10m air rifle. She was particularly strong on the first day of action with her score (413) placing her eighth heading to the second day.

Monique represented the Orange and Blue in the smallbore. She recorded a score of 1120 to land in the upper-echelon of the field with a 31st-place finish. She also joined Powell in the 10m air rifle, tallying a total score of 804.8 to take 68th place.

Rouse, competing in the 10m air rifle, shot 401.3 in the first day before improving to 402.1 on day two. The total of 803.4 was good enough for 74th.

Nelson was saddled with a rifle malfunction on the first day and had to borrow an air rifle for the second day. Despite the challenges she held her head up high.

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FloraFest 2017 Returns to UTEP’s Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

The UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens present the 2017 FloraFest – Native Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30, at the museum, corner of University Avenue and Wiggins Road on the UTEP campus.

FloraFest is the annual event where shoppers can choose from more than 2,000 native and desert-adapted plants and visit with local Master Gardeners or other plant experts for advice on how to care for their plants at home.

Most of the plants sold at FloraFest are not available at local nurseries or retailers. The event is the only fundraiser for the maintenance and operation of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens and is the largest sale of its kind in the region.

This year’s FloraFest will feature some new plants to the sale as well as some older favorites. The Chisos Red Oak is a new tree addition that is a great colorful tree for El Paso that has spectacular fall color and is of moderate size.

Another addition is the ‘Nuevo Leon’ Mexican Rosewood that will make an excellent evergreen screen about 15 feet in height with dark green leaves and a large white umbel flower. A newly introduced, very florific, False Red Yucca ‘Desert Flamingo’ will also be available.

Many locally adapted colorful groundcovers, perennials, shrubs and trees will be available during the two-day sale.

UTEP Honors Athletes of the Year at “Dinner With the Miners”

Football’s Aaron Jones and Track & Field’s Tobi Amusan were named the UTEP Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively, at the 43rd annual “Dinner With the Miners” banquet on Thursday night at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Soccer’s Aleah Davis received the Golden Miner Award, presented to UTEP’s top all-around senior student-athlete based on athletics, academics and community service.  Former Miner volleyball player Christine Brandl was recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award.

Houston Baptist vs UTEP
Houston Baptist vs UTEP

Jones became UTEP’s all-time leading rusher (4,114 yards) in 2016, breaking a school record that had stood for 28 years.  He ranks seventh on the all-time Conference USA rushing list.  Jones set a school single-season record with 1,773 rushing yards.  He was named a third team All-American by the Associated Press and first team All-Conference USA.

Jones became only the second player in school history to rush for 300 yards in a game, and the first in 51 years, when he rambled for 301 yards against North Texas.  He was named the Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week for his effort.  Jones compiled 17 rushing touchdowns (third in school history), 2,006 all-purpose yards (fourth) and scored 120 points (third).

He led Conference USA and rated third nationally in rushing this season, collecting 147.8 yards per contest.  He went over the 100-yard rushing mark seven times, and had 200+ yards in three games.

Amusan made her mark during the 2016 outdoor season, receiving numerous accolades including first team NCAA All-American,

UTEP's Tobi Amusan in the Women's 200 meter dash at the  2017 UTEP Invitational, Kidd Field El Paso, TX
UTEP’s Tobi Amusan in the Women’s 200 meter dash at the 2017 UTEP Invitational, Kidd Field El Paso, TX

Conference USA Track Athlete of the Year and C-USA Freshman of the Meet.  She competed at the 2016 Olympics and World U20 Championships.  She broke a 33-year old school record, and posted the fourth-fastest time in the nation in the 100-meter hurdles (12.83 seconds).

She claimed titles in the 100-meter hurdles and the 200 meters at the C-USA Championships, while adding a runner-up showing in the long jump.  She was NCAA runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles.  Amusan achieved another school record in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season (7.98 seconds).  She claimed six first-place finishes during the indoor campaign.  She won two events (60-meter hurdles, 200 meters) at the C-USA Indoor Meet for the champion Miners.  Her time in the 200 meters (23.35 seconds) was a UTEP record.

Amusan was the C-USA High Point Scorer of the Meet.  She recorded a sixth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-American honors.

Davis earned All-Conference (first team) and All-Region (second team) accolades for the fourth time in as many years, making her the first Miner to achieve the feat.  She started all 22 matches, tallying six goals and eight assists for a team-high tying 20 points.  She posted five game-winning goals.

She helped the Miners register their most wins (13) in seven years and advance to the semifinals of the Conference USA Championships.  She was voted to the NSCAA Senior Women’s College Scholar All-America Team and the C-USA Women’s Soccer All-Academic Team.  Davis also compiled over 100 community service hours during her UTEP career.

The Silver Anniversary Miner Award is presented to an individual who had a distinguished college athletic career, and has continued to contribute to UTEP and the El Paso community.

Brandl played for the Miners from 1988-91 and is the school’s all-time leader for assists (4,210) and service aces (148).  She was a second team Verizon Academic All-American as a junior and senior and was the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1992.

Brandl finished her Premedical Education at UTEP in 1992.  She completed her Medical Education from Texas Tech in 1996 and her Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas in 2000.  She became a certified OBGYN in 2002 and today operates her own private practice, Lifesteps OBGYN, in El Paso.  She has received numerous awards in the medical field and is a former Vice Chairman for Providence Hospital.

Brandl has also volunteered as a volleyball coach at St. Mark’s School and Mount Franklin Christian Academy in El Paso.

The grade point average award was presented to the tennis team, and the community service award went to volleyball.

In addition, team MVP awards were presented to Dominic Artis (men’s basketball), Sparkle Taylor (women’s basketball), Jonah Koech (men’s cross country and outdoor track & field), Winny Koech (women’s cross country), Emmanuel Korir (men’s indoor track & field), Tobi Amusan (women’s indoor and outdoor track & field), Aaron Jones (football), Frederik Dreier (men’s golf), Lily Downs (women’s golf), Bailey Powell (rifle), Alyssa Palacios (soccer), Kaitlin Ryder (softball), Raven Bennett (tennis), Lindsey Larson (volleyball), Bailey Sarver & Omar Gardea (Cheerleading), Jeanna Mullen, James Bias & Will Hernandez (strength & conditioning) and Ariana Rodarte (athletic training).

“Dinner With The Miners” is made possible by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club. The event was inspired by past Lion president John Phelan. In 1979, a $10,000 memorial endowment was established. Due to the overwhelming community support of the event, the memorial fund was raised to $100,000 in 1983.

A second endowment has already been established and continues to grow each year. These two endowments provide funds annually to offset the cost of student-athlete scholarships.

UTEP, Lockheed Martin Create Enterprise Resource Planning Academy

The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration and Fortune 500 company Lockheed Martin have teamed up to create a new academic program that integrates business management practices to better prepare students for the workforce.

Leaders from both entities will participate in a kickoff of the Lockheed Martin Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Academy from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 27, in the Business Administration Building lobby. The first cohort of academy students will begin in fall 2017.

This new program will provide UTEP students with curriculum that has workplace relevance, state-of-the-art ERP support and corporate faculty integration, said Robert Nachtmann, DBA, dean of the College of Business Administration.

“We could not be more proud nor more thankful as together, Lockheed and UTEP build the foundation for our students’ futures,” Nachtmann said.

Photo credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications.
Photo credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications.

College of Business Administration faculty and Lockheed Martin employees are developing a curriculum that will enable students to earn an ERP academic certificate. This 12-credit program, which will incorporate the world’s leading business software, SAP, will expose students to how enterprisewide information systems support the planning and management of business processes across various departments within an organization.

Along with the academics, the program will feature a speaker series that brings in ERP experts, and chances to tackle real-world ERP applications. Academy participants also may join in site visits, mentorship opportunities, and could be selected for paid internships.

Richard Horvath, Lockheed Martin vice president and controller, said his company was proud to align its resources with UTEP to help develop the next generation of talent. His company, which employs more than 200 University graduates, has a long history of collaborating with UTEP.

“I’m confident the establishment of the academy will allow that number to only increase,” Horvath said.

This is the latest collaboration between the College of Business Administration and industry. The college and ADP started the Human Capital Management Academy in fall 2016 to extend the understanding of theory and practice of human capital management.

UTEP Track and Field Head West to Finish Regular Season

The Miners are westbound for the second time during the outdoor season as they head to Berkley, Calif. for the Brutus Hamilton Challenge. This will be the final competition the Miners will see before the Conference USA Outdoor Championships hosted by UTEP (May11-14).

The historic two-day meet starts Friday 9:00 a.m. PT with the men’s hammer throw. Sophomore Karol Koncos will be one of the top competitors in the field. Koncos threw for 63.43m (208-1) last week at the UTEP Invitational. His mark is the third-best his season in C-USA.

Senior Fayon Gonzales and junior Lucia Mokrasova will compete in the women’s javelin set for 5:30 p.m.Gonzales (39.37m) ranks ninth in the league, while Mokrasova holds the number eight spot (39.94m).

The running events will see Daniel Cheruiyot in the 3,000m steeplechase starting at 3:30 p.m. Cheruiyot clocked the fourth-fastest time in conference running a season-best 9:03.31. Antony Kosgei and Evans Kiprono will run at 4:10 p.m. in the 5,000m. Kosgei (14:16.60) ranks fifth in the league.

Gladys Jerotich and Winny Koech will tussle in the women’s 5,000m starting at 3:45 p.m. Koech (16:22.26) ranks first in C-USA.

Saturday’s events will start with the women’s long jump at 10:00 a.m. Tobi Amusan will make her first jump of the outdoor season. Senior Samantha Hall will compete in both the shot put (10:45 a.m.) and discus throw (12:30 p.m.). Hall ranks 12th in the NCAA West Region (54.62m) in the discus throw.

Runners to look out for on the track will be UTEP’s freshman duo Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni in the men’s 800m starting at 3:10 p.m. The Kenyan natives have both started their collegiate careers off with a bang.

Korir won the 800m indoor national title and ranks second in the west region. The Kenyan has clocked a blistering 44.67 in the 400m ranking second in the West Region.

Saruni ranks first in the West Region in the 800m after stopping the clock at 1:45.82 winning gold at the Texas Relays. The mid-distance runner ranks ninth in the 400m clocking 45.69 in the 400m in the West Region.

Brandon Moss will compete in the men’s long jump at 11:45 a.m., where he ranks ninth in the league after jumping out to 7.20m (23-7.5) in his first outdoor competition at last week’s UTEP Invitational.

Ada Benjamin will race at 2:05 p.m. in the 400m. Benjamin ranks first in conference with a time of 53.16. Florence Uwakwe will take the track at 2:25 p.m. in the 100m. Uwakwe will race her first short sprint of the outdoor season.

Lilian Koech and Truphena Sum will run in the 800m set for a 3:00 p.m. Koech ranks third in the league with a personal-best 2:05.86.

For live updates and breaking news follow @UTEPTrack on Twitter and uteptrack on Instagram.

HP Sports In-Depth: UTEP to Play at UAB Following Bye Week

The UTEP softball team will continue its 2017 campaign with a trip to Conference USA West Division foe UAB April 29-30. The Miners (11-31, 5-13 C-USA) are coming off their bye week, while the Blazers (16-29, 7-9 C-USA) are coming off a loss at Middle Tennessee on April 22.

The Miners and Blazers will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. CT/Noon MT on Saturday, while the series finale will be played on Sunday (1 p.m. CT) at Mary Bowers Field.

The weekend series in Birmingham will be the first of six final regular season games leading up to the C-USA Tournament May 10-13 in Hattiesburg, Miss. UTEP will close out the regular season against the defending C-USA Champions Florida Atlantic May 6-7.


UTEP is 4-2 the last two seasons following a bye week. In the 2015, following three losses at no. 25 UABMarch 14-15, the Miners responded by winning two of three against Southern Miss in El Paso (March 28-29). Last season, UTEP won two of three at Middle Tennessee (April 16-17). UTEP did not have a bye week in 2014 as it was scheduled to play at Colorado State in a three-game set April 5-6.


UTEP is currently on the outside looking in the postseason outlook. Marshall (15-3 C-USA East) and LA Tech (13-5 West) have clinched spots while there are six spots remaining for the C-USA Tournament. The top three programs in each division will clinch a spot and the next two schools with the best record will seal the final two spots.

FIU (11-6 East), Florida Atlantic (10-8 East), North Texas (11-10 West) and UAB (7-9 West) are the next best four teams regarding league record, while WKU (10-10) and UTSA (9-12 West) would clinch spots if regular season ended today. Charlotte (7-10 East), Southern Miss (7-13 West), Middle Tennessee (5-11 East) and UTEP round out the list.


UTEP lost three contests at LA Tech April 14-15. The Miners fell in a pair of close contests on Friday, 4-2 and 4-0. The Lady Techsters took game three 8-0 in five. Taylor Sargent kept a hot bat as she hit .375 (3-8) with a double and a two-run triple. Kaitlin Ryder hit .333 with a run scored, while Lindsey Sokoloski also hit .333 and did not strikeout during the weekend.


The Blazers are 21-9 all-time against the Miners since May 6, 2006. UTEP has lost its last nine contests against UAB (April 20, 2013-April 24, 2016). UTEP last defeated UAB on April 22, 2012 in El Paso by the score of 7-0. The Miners were swept last season by the Blazers in El Paso. Cortney Smith went 4-for-10 with a pair of home runs and four RBI, while Courtney Clayton hit .545 (6-11) with a long ball and a pair of RBI.

UAB pulled away late in game one with the score knotted at 1-1 through four innings. The Blazers scored five in the fifth, three in the sixth and another run in the seventh to claim victory.

The Miners and Blazers slugged one out in game two as both squads each recorded 12 hits. The Miners took an early 3-0 lead after a Danielle Pearson RBI double and a Smith two-run single in the first frame. After UAB took a 4-3 lead, the Miners would tie the score in the second on a Kaitlin Ryder solo home run. After the Blazers took a 7-5 lead after three frames, Kiki Pepi scored on an error in the fourth that brought the Miners within a run.

But the Blazers used two runs in the seventh to put the game away. The Miners would go on to lose a heartbreaker in the series finale as UAB scored three runs in the seventh to claim a 4-2 victory. Following a run by the Blazers for a 1-0 edge in the fourth, the Miners would score runs in the fifth (Smith solo home run) and the sixth (Hope Moreno RBI single) for a 2-1 advantage.

UTEP is also 2-13 all-time in Birmingham, as the Miners took two of three from the Blazers during the 2009 season.


The Blazers are coming off a pair of losses, the first to no. 9/10 Washington, 6-0, on April 20 and another to at Middle Tennessee, 3-1, on April 22. UAB and Middle Tennessee were rained out on April 23 and rescheduled the two-game set for May 3 in Murfreesboro.

UAB is 16-29 overall and 7-9 in Conference USA. The Blazers are 8-9 on their home field and 3-2 in their last five home games – won two of three against North Texas (April 14-15), defeated Samford 4-3 [8] (April 18) and fell to Washington.

UAB ranks last in the conference with its .219 batting average, while its 132 runs are the least. UAB ranks eighth in the ERA (3.55) and walked a league-high 188 batters but have struck out 223 (ranked fourth in C-USA). UAB also ranks last in slugging (.314), on-base percentage (.298), hits (258) and RBI (114). The Blazers rank last in fielding percentage (.949) while their errors (73) are the most in the league. UAB has turned 22 plays, the third most in C-USA. Analyse Petree leads the team with a .278 batting average, while Madison Millsaps leads the squad in RBI (17).

Joanna Fallen and Millsaps each lead the team with five home runs apiece; Petree leads in doubles (seven) and Destini England leads the squad in runs (20) and hits (38). Claire Blount (7-10) leads the staff in wins, ERA (2.84), walks (88), innings (138.0) and Ks (114). Blount’s 114 strikeouts rank tied fourth in C-USA. Cara Goodwin (4-11) has a 3.85 ERA in 91.0 frames of work with 37 BBs and 70 Ks.


UTEP turned three more double plays at LA Tech during Easter Weekend. The Miners lead Conference USA with 27 double plays turned, while they rank second nationally in double plays per game (.64) behind Auburn (.77). Auburn as turned a national-best 36 double plays, while Campbell has turned 29. UT Arlington has been part of 28 double plays, and UTEP and UC Riverside have turned 27 each.

Taylor Sargent andCourtney Clayton have each been part of 12 DPs to rank tied fourth with Florida Atlantic’s Lauren Whitt.Cortney Smith (11) ranks tied seventh with LA Tech’s Katie Smith and Kiki Pepi (10) is tied ninth with three other players.


UTEP’s 27 double plays turned in 2017 is already the second most turned in program history. Last season’s squad turned a program-best 30 double plays. In fact, since Tobin Echo-Hawk arrived to UTEP, the Miners have turned 96 doubles plays in 201 games (.48 per game).

The 2007 squad turned 21, while 19 double plays were turned during the 2005 season. The previous four seasons (2010-13), 46 double plays were turned.


UTEP is hitting .299 to rank fourth in Conference USA and no. 58 nationally, while it would rank the third best average in program history if the season ended today. UTEP hit .307 in 2016 and .303 in 2007. UTEP’s slugging (.415) ranks fifth, while its hits (342) rank sixth. Marshall leads C-USA in batting (.321), while UTSA leads with 396 hits.


The Miners rank second in batting average (.308) and hits (152) in Conference USA games only behind UTSA (.310 average & 181 hits). UTEP ranks fifth in runs scored (76), on-base percentage (.363), RBI (73) and fourth in total bases (200). UTEP ranks third in slugging (.405). LA Tech leads the way in runs scored (96) and RBI (89).


UTEP tallied a triple and double at LA Tech. The Miners rank fourth in Conference USA with 10 triples and seventh with 49 doubles. The Miners rank third in C-USA and no. 49 nationally with .24 triples per game.

Binghamton leads the nation with .49 triples per game and Florida State leads the nation with 20 triples (.42 per game). Marshall and LA Tech are tied for the lead league with 12 triples and Southern Miss (11) ranks third.


UTEP has five players ranked in the top 25 in Conference USA in batting. Taylor Sargent (.351) ranks 13th,Kaitlin Ryder (.350) ranks 14th, Kiki Pepi (.339) ranks 15th, Cortney Smith (.336) ranks 16th, andCourtney Clayton (.315) ranks no. 25.

UTEP has the most players in the top 25, while Marshall, Charlotte, North Texas and FIU each have three. Middle Tennessee and UTSA each have two. Florida Atlantic, WKU, LA Tech and Southern Miss each have one.


The Miners have connected on 342 hits, ranking sixth in Conference USA. UTEP’s 17 hits at UTSA (April 1) are tied for the most during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era, as 17 hits were recorded against Incarnate Word on Feb. 11, 2016. The 17 knocks are tied for eighth on the all-time list. Last season, the Miners set a single-season record with 451 knocks.


UTEP has recorded 10-plus hit games 79 times during the Tobin Echo-Hawk era. The previous four seasons, the Miners tallied 10-plus hits in 50 contests. Since Echo-Hawk took the helm at UTEP, the Miners are hitting .298 (1,611-5,415), while the previous four years saw a .268 average (1,462-5,462). The Miners have connected on 15-plus hits in 14 different contests from 2014-17 and eight different times from 2010-13. The most hits recorded the last eight seasons were 24 at Brown on March 3, 2012 – tied most in program history.

UTEP Softball Announces the Addition of Pitcher Julia Wright

UTEP softball head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk announced on Wednesday that pitcher Julia Wright will join the program prior to the 2017 fall season. Wright has played the last two seasons at Ranger College.

“We’re super excited to bring Julia onto the pitching staff for next season,” Echo-Hawk said. “Since we’ll be three pitchers short heading into next season, she’ll definitely add depth to the roster. Julia throws hard and places the ball well. We know Julia is excited to play at the Division I level and it’s great to add someone with collegiate experience in the circle.”

Wright, a native of Langley, British Columbia, will have two years of eligibility with the Orange and Blue and will add to a pitching staff that will lose three senior pitchers (Kaitlin Fifield, Taylor Grohmann & Erika Harrawood) following the 2017 campaign. Wright will join current freshmen hurlers Devyn Cretz and Allie Johnson.

Wright (17-11) ranks tied no. 36 nationally among NJCAA Division I pitchers in wins and has fashioned an ERA of 3.52 in 151.1 innings of work with 89 Ks. Wright has started 28 games with 32 appearances and registered 16 complete games. She has also tallied a save and 60 walks. Wright has four at bats with an RBI single.

One of Wright’s highlights in 2017 was tossing a no-hitter during a victory against Western Oklahoma State College on Feb. 25. She threw 5.0 frames, stuck out five and walked one during the 15-0 triumph. Wight hurled a season-high seven strikeouts in only 3.0 frames of work in a win against Mountain View College (April 19).

She tallied six Ks in 5.0 innings against Northern Oklahoma College-Enid (Feb. 18). Wright registered five strikeouts and allowed only one hit in 5.0 frames during a victory versus Cloud County Community College (Feb. 17). Wright went 1-for-3 with a RBI during an 8-0 win at Rose State College (March 18), while recently tossing a one-hit win in 5.0 innings against Vernon College (April 22).

She earned her lone save on March 1 at North Central Texas College, throwing an inning with a strikeout during Ranger College’s 7-5 win.

In 2016, Wright threw 213.0 innings and recorded 134 Ks. She finished 17-18 in 35 starts (41 appearances) and saved a pair of games. Wright recorded a career-high nine Ks in 6.0 innings, while allowing only three hits at Western Texas College on Feb. 29. She tallied seven strikeouts in three different contests, while registering six Ks in four different games her freshman season.

C-USA Champions! UTEP Downs Southern Miss, Charlotte to Win Golf Crown

TEXARKANA – The UTEP men’s golf team defeated Southern Miss (4-1, semifinals) and Charlotte (4-1, finals) in match-play format to win the 2017 Conference USA Men’s Golf Championship at the Texarkana Country Club on Tuesday.

It is the first conference title since 1985 and only the second in program history. The Orange and Blue also punched their ticket to the NCAA Regionals for the first time as a team since 2004.

It was the fitting conclusion to the three-day event for the Miners, who notched the top seed in match play after their first-place showing in stroke play (15-over 879; 287-294-298).

“You have a lot of moving parts going on,” sixth-year head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “It’s tough to judge [the match]. The best part is we got the first two points on the board. Knowing that we had leads in two other matches, we knew we just needed to hang on and close out one of those matches.”

Battling in a match that was too close to call early, Nicklas Pihl got the Miners off to a solid start in the championship vs. Charlotte. The match with the 49ers’ Conor Purcell was all square through eight holes before Pihl found another gear. He won two of the next three holes to go 2UP through the 11th hole, and Purcell could never recover.

UTEP pushed its team advantage to 2-0, thanks to Charles Corner knocking off the 49ers’ Matty Lamb, 2UP. Corner started fast by taking the first two holes, an edge he maintained through the turn. Lamb’s comeback started on the back nine with wins at both 10 and 13 to make the match all square. Corner remained steadfast, winning both the 15th and 18th holes to put Lamb away.

Charlotte tried to claw back into the championship with Tyler Young edging Aaron Terrazas, 1UP. The match was all square through 15 holes but Young found the necessary separation after carding a 3 and Terrazas recorded a 4 on the 17th hole. Both golfers fired 4s on the 18th hole to give the 49ers a team point.

The lone senior on the team Frederik Dreier then took center stage. The reigning C-USA Golfer of the Year was in a back and forth match with Charlotte’s John Gough. All squared through 10 holes, Dreier won three of the next five holes to take control of the dual. Gough claimed hole No. 16 to get within two, but Dreier prevailed, sending the Miners into celebration.

“It was very emotional,” Dreier said. “This being my last conference [tournament] ever and to win it with the guys was amazing.”

Those sentiments were expounded upon by Lieberwirth.

“I think fittingly, it was Frederik Dreier’s match that clinched it for us, him being a senior, him being the reigning Conference USA Player of the Year,” Lieberwirth said. “It couldn’t have been a better ending for us to have Freddie finish it.”

Andreas Sorensen lost the first two holes to the C-USA individual medalist Seth Gandy before a stunning reversal. He squared with Gandy by the fifth hole and vaulted out to 3UP through hole No. 13. Gandy’s rally came too little, too late, as Sorensen won 1&2.

The Miners made it to the final round of match play after a hard-fought 4-1 win over Southern Miss. The tournament was shortened a day due to a forecast of inclement weather on Wednesday.

“It [weather] forced us to have to play two rounds in back-to-back days, which is something we never do,” Lieberwirth said. “Without question, fatigue was a factor for both teams. We were fortunate to get to that championship match. It’s difficult for everybody involved, but our guys fought through it, they continued to play well throughout the afternoon. They just did a great job.”

Pihl set the tone against the fourth-seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles with a 3&2 conquest of Walker Kesterson. It was all squared through the opening six holes before Pihl won two of the next three to make the turn 2UP. The Golden Eagle briefly cut into the lead on hole No. 11, but Pihl recovered immediately on No. 12 and never looked back.

Sorensen raced out to a huge lead, taking each of the first five holes from the Golden Eagles’ Derick Kelting. The margin remained five heading into the 13th hole, before Kelting mounted a rally, winning four of the next five to make the dual tight going into the 18th hole. Sorensen did not flinch however, matching Kelting with a 4 and winning the dual.

USM’s Ryan Argotsinger and UTEP’s Dreier battled back-and-forth early on, with Argotsinger 2UP at the turn. Dreier’s aspirations of a comeback didn’t come to fruition, with Argotsinger posting a 5&4 victory.

As it turned out, that proved to be the lone team point in the match for Southern Miss. The Miners clinched the team win thanks to Corner’s 1UP vanquishing of Matt Lorenz. Terrazas downed Matt Codd 1 & 1 to punctuate the victory.

Corner quickly dug himself an early hole, with Lorenz jumping out to a 2UP lead through three holes. Corner responded brilliantly, tasting victory on six of the next seven holes to stand 4UP through the 11th hole. Lorenz fought back and eventually clawed back to all square through 17 holes but Corner won the 18th hole.

It was a compelling match between Terrazas and Codd, with action all square through 16 holes. Terrazas found a way to get it done, though, carding a 3 while Codd was saddled with a 5 on the 17th hole.

The NCAA Regionals are slated to begin on May 15.

“I feel like we have got a lot of grown men,” Lieberwirth said. “They act mature, I think they play the game the right way and I think they act the right way, which is something that we want from our program. I couldn’t be any prouder than I am right now.”

UTEP’s Korir Garners C-USA Athlete of the Week

UTEP’s freshman Emmanuel Korir was named Conference USA Athlete of the Week after his performance on Saturday at Kidd Field, announced the league office Tuesday afternoon.

The Kenyan clocked the nation’s second-fastest time of 44.67 in the 400m and broke the 37-year old stadium record (Billy Mullins, 45.03, USC, 1980).

Korir etched himself into the UTEP recordbooks with the second-fastest time in program history, just .02 seconds behind Bert Cameron’s time of 44.58 set in 1980.

This is Korir’s second weekly award of the outdoor season. Last weekend, the mid-distance runner clocked the fourth-fastest time in school history with a time of 1:47.19 in the 800m, which rates him 12th in the nation in the event.

The UTEP track and field team travel westbound to Berkley, Calif. for the Brutus Hamilton Open at Edwards Stadium. For live results and breaking news follow @UTEPTrack on Twitter.

Miners Win Stroke Play Portion of C-USA Tourney, Notch Top Seed In Match Play

TEXARKANA – The back nine of the Texarkana Country Club golf course was the breakaway point for the UTEP men’s golf team as they pulled away from their tie with North Texas to take sole possession of first place in the final round of stroke play at the Conference USA Men’s Golf Championships and the top seed going into tomorrow’s match play.

The Miners shot 15-over 879 (287-294-298) to best North Texas, who came in second with 19-over 883 (283-297-303) and third place Charlotte, who shot 28-over 892 (289-292-311). Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss tied for fourth with 29-over 893 and will battle in a one-hole playoff tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. CT for the fourth and final spot in the match play portion of the tournament.

The winner will face UTEP while Charlotte and North Texas will compete in the other semifinals match play, with the winners battling for the C-USA team championship.

The first round of match play at the Texarkana Country Club (par 72/6,969 yards) tees off at 7:30 a.m. CT concluding with the second round at 12:30 p.m. CT to determine the 2017 Conference USA Men’s Golf Champion.

Charlotte senior Seth Gandy fired a 2-under 214 (67-71-76) to take individual medalist honors.

“First things first, our goal was to get to the match play, whatever seed it was,” sixth-year head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “Fortunately, we are the No. 1 seed heading into match play, but tomorrow everything is wiped clean. We have to come out and take care of business in the first match. We’re not sure who that’ll be, the playoff [between Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss] will run tomorrow morning. Whoever we get, we know we’re going to get their best shot. We have to show up ready to go.”

The Miners were the only team in the tournament to have a three round total below 300.

“Throughout the day, and in the afternoon especially, we had a pretty large buffer on those teams trying to make the match play cutoff,” Lieberwirth said. “The golf course was playing extremely difficult this afternoon, the greens were extremely firm and fast as well, that made for very difficult scoring, plus being the second round of the day that these student athletes were playing, fatigue was setting in. It was an extremely long day, but I thought our guys really hung in well. We played that back nine well. I think that was more than anything why we pulled away. We just kind of hung in there and kept playing reasonably well. North Texas and Charlotte both struggled coming in late, which, to be honest, was not hard to do, it was really tough out there.”

The last time the Miners made the match play portion of the Conference USA Championships was in 2015. Though they fell to UAB that year, UTEP’s finish of third place marked the best placing in program history since the institution entered Conference USA in 2006. The team just missed out on last year’s match play when they placed fifth in stroke play.

All five Miners placed in the top-50, but three placed in the top-10. Junior Charles Corner spearheaded the Miners’ run, firing 3-over 219 (73-70-76) to finish in sixth place, five strokes out of first place. Corner made birdie on hole No. 16 in the final round and his second round score of 70 was the lowest of the day for the Miners.

Frederik Dreier and Aaron Terrazas helped the Miners’ first place effort, tying for seventh with 4-over 220. Dreier shot a round of 77 and 72, collecting four birdies, two on the front nine and two on the back nine while bogeying four times on the difficult back nine. Terrazas fired 73 and 74 while tallying a birdie on hole No. 8 and only bogeying once on the back nine.

“They were solid,” Lieberwirth said of Corner, Dreier and Terrazas. “Especially the spring, we haven’t had any great individual performances, meaning top-5s or wins, but we have had consistent, solid play out of all of those guys. They were great. Freddie got a couple of unlucky breaks on the last nine holes, but he played very well. Aaron was solid, start to finish, but you know I feel like we’ve got a group of very solid players that I trust and that I feel confident going into tomorrow with.”

Breaking into the top-20 was Andreas Sorensen, who shot 7-over 223 (70-77-76), finishing with four birdies, three of which came in the third round, to finish with a share of 17th place. Nicklas Pihl rounded out the Miners’ scorecard in a tie for 42nd with 17-over 233 (79-74-80). The junior saw his best round of the tournament in his score of 74 in round two.

“I’m proud of how my guys played,” Lieberwirth said. “They did a great job. I wouldn’t say that was the best day of golf that we’ve played all year, but that was some of the toughest golf we’ve played, without question. I credit my guys for hanging tough.The scores didn’t look great, but the effort that was given and the way that we fought over the last nine holes, I’m very proud of that.”

The Conference USA men’s golf champion will be crowned following the results of the second round of match play. Live stats will be available via

“You have a good field in this conference, as you can see by the scores,” Lieberwirth said. “We understand nothing is given at this point. In match play, anything can happen. We just have to show up tomorrow and be the better team.”

2017 Conference USA Men’s Golf Championships Stroke Play Final:

Team — Score
1. UTEP – 287-294-298=879 (+15)
2. North Texas – 283-297-303=883 (+19)
3. Charlotte – 289-292-311=892 (+28)
T4. Middle Tennessee – 294-292-307=893 (+29)
T4. Southern Miss – 296-299-298=893 (+29)
6. Marshall – 297-299-304=900 (+36)
7. UTSA – 302-300-300=902 (+38)
8. UAB – 295-298-310=903 (+39)
9. Rice – 299-308-298=905 (+41)
10. WKU – 299-306-305=910 (+46)
11. Louisiana Tech – 307-302-310=919 (+55)
12. Old Dominion – 307-296-317=920 (+56)
13. Florida Atlantic – 307-314-318=939 (+75)

Kevin Baker Named UTEP Women’s Basketball Head Coach

UTEP Director of Athletics Bob Stull announced on Monday that Kevin Baker has been appointed as the eighth head coach in UTEP women’s basketball history.

“We are very pleased to introduce Kevin Baker as our head women’s basketball coach,” Stull said.  “We had tremendous interest nationally for this position, and it was really difficult going through the process of narrowing it down to the type of person that we wanted to lead this program.  In the end, no one could match the level of success that he has achieved, winning over 300 games and setting school records for victories at every stage of his coaching career.  He is a personable and energetic young man and a great fit for UTEP and the El Paso community.”

“I’d like to thank Dr. Diana Natalicio and Bob Stull for giving me the opportunity to lead the UTEP women’s basketball program,” Baker said.  “I am truly honored to take the reins of a program that has enjoyed so much success.  Coach Adams had an amazing run here for 16 years.  She really put UTEP women’s basketball on the map, and my goal is to build on what she has already accomplished.”

Baker comes to El Paso from Angelo State University, where he posted a combined record of 50-14 in two seasons (2015-17).  Baker was also the head coach at the University of Texas Tyler from 2012-15, fashioning a 72-16 mark.  His combined college coaching record is 122-30.

Overall Baker is 344-131 in a coaching career that has also taken him to four high schools in the state of Texas — Commerce (1997-98), Palestine (1998-2000), Nacogdoches (2000-03) and Copperas Cove (2004-07).  He has set school records for wins at every stop of his career, and has taken every school to the playoffs with a total of five district championships.  He is an eight-time Coach of the Year.

More recently, Baker’s teams captured back-to-back conference championships at UT-Tyler and Angelo State.  He led Angelo State to a 26-6 mark in 2016-17, including the school’s first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and a runner-up finish in the NCAA South Central Regional.

Baker has led both a Division II (Angelo State) and Division III (UT-Tyler) school to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

His 2016-17 Angelo State squad was ranked as high as second in the nation, earning him Conference Coach of the Year honors for the fourth consecutive season.  The Rambelles were 24-8 in 2015-16, reaching the NCAA Regional semifinals.

He compiled marks of 18-9 (2012-13), 27-4 (2013-14) and 27-3 (2014-15) in three seasons at UT-Tyler.  The Patriots won the American Southwest Conference title in 2014 and 2015, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 2014.  He was ASC Coach of the Year all three seasons.

Baker spent the previous five years (2007-12) as an assistant coach at Division II West Texas A&M University, where he was part of a run to 120 victories including a 30-4 campaign in 2009-10.  The Lady Buffs were a top-10 team nationally all five seasons, were ranked fourth in 2007-08, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament on four occasions.

West Texas A&M won back-to-back-to-back Lone Star Conference titles (2008-10) and made an Elite Eight appearance in 2009.  West Texas A&M also posted the no. 5 team GPA in the country in 2007-08.

In 10 seasons as a high school head coach, Baker put together three seasons with 29 or more wins.  He was a combined 222-101 in the prep ranks.  Highlights included a 29-4 mark at Palestine High School (4A) in 1999-2000, a school-record for victories, and District, Bi-District and Area championships.

His 2002-03 Nacogdoches team was 30-4, a school-record for wins, with District and Bi-District titles.  His final high school team, at Copperas Cove (2006-07), was 32-3 with Area and Bi-District championships and a Regional Semifinal berth.

Baker received his Bachelor of Science degree (Kinesiology) and Masters of Education from Stephen F. Austin in 1994 and 1996, respectively.  He began his coaching career as an assistant girls basketball coach at Hudson High School in his hometown of Lufkin, Texas in 1994.

The Kevin Baker Career Head Coaching Record

1997-98            Commerce HS            18-10

1998-99            Palestine HS            18-13

1999-00            Palestine HS            29-4

2000-01            Nacogdoches HS            5-22

2001-02            Nacogdoches HS            19-13

2002-03            Nacogdoches HS            30-4

2003-04            Copperas Cove HS            24-10

2004-05            Copperas Cove HS            24-10

2005-06            Copperas Cove HS            23-12

2006-07            Copperas Cove HS            32-3

2012-13            UT-Tyler            18-9

2013-14            UT-Tyler            27-4

2014-15            UT-Tyler            27-3

2015-16            Angelo State            24-8

2016-17            Angelo State            26-6

Career Totals                        344-131

Seven UTEP Miners Awarded Prestigious Research Fellowship

This year the National Science Foundation (NSF) offered seven University of Texas at El Paso students and alumni the prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship – a record number of recipients for the University.

More than 13,000 students across the nation applied to the program, while only 2,000 fellowships were awarded.

The NSF program supports outstanding students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. Awardees receive a $34,000 annual stipend, plus $12,000 to the university the graduate is attending to pay for tuition and fees.

UTEP alumni recipients of the GRFP include Mayela Renata Aldaz Cervantes, who is currently attending the University of California, Santa Barbara; Veronica Escalante with the University of California, San Francisco; Sofia Lopez attending the University of Michigan; Jacob Richard Prat at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Brian Roman Zamarripa attending the University of Central Florida.

Awardees currently attending UTEP include Jacqueline Lechuga and Beu Primavera Oropeza.

In addition to the seven fellowship recipients, two current UTEP students, Oswaldo Raudel Avila and Patrick Brown, received Honorable Mentions from the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The designation also is considered a significant academic achievement.

“This program recognizes the best of the best in the nation when it comes to potential for achievement in science,” said John Wiebe, associate provost at UTEP. “We are incredibly proud of the UTEP students and alumni who have competed successfully for the award and those who earned honorable mention in the competition.”

UTEP Grad Makes NASA List of Space Technology Research Fellows

Mechanical engineering graduate student Sergio Cordova is part of the NASA 2017 class of Space Technology Research Fellows. The prestigious award is the most competitive NASA fellowship with an estimated value of $74,000 annually.

Cordova is a master’s student graduating in May and will start his doctoral work, supported by this fellowship, in UTEP’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in the fall. His accomplishment marks a first for UTEP.

“I have always been interested in space research and I hope my work can make an impact on the future of space travel,” Cordova said.

This seventh class of Space Technology Research Fellows will conduct research relevant to agency technology challenges aligned with NASA’s space technology roadmaps, while pursuing degrees in related disciplines at their respective institutions.

“One of the most important challenges to our continued leadership and advancement of space technology is the assurance that we harness the innovation and technology capabilities from our American universities,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These grants provide one vehicle to tap into the enormous talents of graduate students working at universities to advance the development of future space technologies.”

Sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, the fellowships are improving America’s technological competitiveness by providing the nation with a pipeline for innovative space technologies.

The fellows conduct innovative space technology research on their respective campuses, at NASA centers, and at nonprofit U.S. research and development laboratories.

Evgeny Shafirovich, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering and Cordova’s mentor, said the opportunity is invaluable and a great accomplishment.

“I am very excited,” Shafirovich said. “This fellowship includes summer work for the student at one of NASA’s centers and exposes him to the NASA environment and some of the nation’s top researchers. I believe that the selection of our student for this award and his choice of UTEP for NASA-supported doctoral studies clearly demonstrate our progress and competitiveness with top universities of the nation.”

Cordova’s research titled “Combustion Synthesis of Thermoelectric Materials for Deep Space Exploration” addresses an important challenge – the lack of radioactive materials for radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) used by NASA as a power source in space exploration missions. The proposed approach to the fabrication of promising thermoelectric materials will enable the development of RTGs with superior performance characteristics. Also, these materials will be useful for thermoelectric conversion in nuclear fission reactors for space applications.

Cordova’s previous research on combustion synthesis has resulted in two published peer-reviewed journal articles. He has been involved with NASA research before. In 2014, he was the leader of a student team that developed a lunar dust-cleaning device and tested it aboard a reduced-gravity aircraft at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The fellowship awards are made initially for one year, and may be renewed for up to three additional years.

Miners Shoot Under Par In Round One Of C-USA Tournament

TEXARKANA – The second seeded UTEP men’s golf team opened the Conference USA Men’s Golf Championship with a bang, posting 1-under 287 with a field-leading 17 birdies for a second place spot, four strokes behind leader North Texas. Competition at the Texarkana Country Club (par 72/6,969 yards) will resume tomorrow, April 24, with the Miners teeing off on hole one at 9:20 a.m. CT alongside Charlotte and North Texas.

Due to forecasted inclement weather on Wednesday, the tournament is now scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.

All teams will play their final two rounds tomorrow, Monday, April 24, with tee times starting at 8 a.m. CT. Following the two rounds of stroke play to determine the individual medalist, the four best teams will advance to match play on Tuesday, April 25. The first round of match play tees off at 7:30 a.m. CT concluding with the second round at 12:30 p.m. CT to determine the 2017 Conference USA Men’s Golf Champion.

“We had a nice start to the tournament today,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “North Texas shot five-under, they played a great round and deserve the lead right now, but we’ve got two more rounds of stroke play to go and I think we have plenty of time to catch up. We’re in for a really big test and I’m pleased we got off on the right foot in the first round.”

With his short game on point, sophomore Andreas Sorensen led the Miners’ charge on day one, firing a round of 70 while collecting four birdies to tie for fifth place. The sophomore had back to back birdies on holes No. 7 and No. 8 and scored two more on holes No. 12 and No. 16, while bogeying only twice. Sorensen’s strong play puts him three strokes behind tourney leader Seth Gandy of Charlotte, who shot five-under 67.

Frederik Dreier was the only other Miner to shoot under par on the difficult course, shooting 71 to land in the individual top-10 with a share of seventh. Dreier, ranked No. 97 in Golfstat, pared 11 times and birdied on holes No. 1, No. 3, No. 8, No. 12. The senior had three bogeys.

Both Charles Corner and Aaron Terrazas shot 73 to finish just outside of the top-10 in a tie for 13th. Corner had consecutive birdies on holes No. 7 and No. 8 and added one more on hole No. 12, while Terrazas collected four birdies on holes No. 1, No. 7, No. 12, and No. 16 and nine pars.

Junior Nicklas Pihl’s score kept all the Miners in the top 50. Pihl shot a round of 79 to sit in a seven-way tie for 50th, scoring two birdies and bogeying three times.

The team’s round of 287 was its sixth-best opening round this season, though on a much more difficult course. The Miners shot an opening round of 302 at the C-USA tournament at the Texarkana Country Club last year.

“The golf course if difficult, the green was firm,” Lieberwirth said. “It was much warmer than yesterday. The wind wasn’t as severe as yesterday, but there’s a lot of swirls that you feel on the ground. That made club selection difficult, and add that to the firmness of the greens, it was difficult to hit greens in regulation. I thought we did a reasonably good job of that [hitting greens] and I think we also did a good job of getting it up and down when we had the opportunity to.

“Even one-under par for us out here on this course is a good score. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be a little bit better as far as lighter winds, so I would expect the lower scores to be a little bit more possible.”

The final two rounds of stroke play begin tomorrow at 8 a.m. CT with Rice, UTSA and WKU starting on hole 10 while play on hole one begins concurrently with Marshall and Southern Miss. UAB and Middle Tennessee play as a twosome from the first hole at 8:40 a.m. CT, while Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion will go off from the back nine at 8:50 a.m. CT.

Live stats are available at

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