Photo Courtesy of UTEP Athletics
Photo Courtesy of UTEP Athletics

C-USA Names UTEP’s Simpson, Talavera Track Athletes of the Week

UTEP’s Marissa Simpson was named the Conference USA Female Track Athlete of the Week, while Kenneth Talavera earned the honor on the men’s side as announced by league officials on Valentine’s Day, presented by Blenders Eyewear.

Simpson turned in a great performance, setting her personal best with an 8.12 in the 60-meter hurdles finals. Simpson started the day with a then-personal-best 8.20 in the qualifying round. Her previous best was an 8.23 at the Texas Tech Corky Classic. Simpson’s time (8.12) is third best in program history (Janice Jackson [2014] and Tobi Amusan [2017] each hold the record with a 7.98). Simpson’s converted time for altitude (8.14 from an 8.12) ranks no. 1 in C-USA and 18th nationally.

For Simpson, it’s her first weekly honor. It was also the initial indoor weekly track accolade by a UTEP female student-athlete since Carolyne Chepkosgei on Feb. 18, 2020. She’s also the first UTEP female sprinter/hurdler since Tobi Amusan was recognized twice on Jan. 24 and Feb. 14, 2017.

Talavera won his third mile event of the season with a personal-best 4:06.33. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 this season in those events, while claiming his fifth career mile overall. Talavera’s converted time for altitude (4:00.97) ranks first in Conference USA heading into this week’s championships.

For Talavera, it’s his first indoor weekly honor, while he’s the initial UTEP male indoor distance runner to be named track athlete of the week since Jonah Koech earned the honor on Feb. 13, 2018.

It also marks the first time since Jan. 16, 2018, that a pair of UTEP athletes (Lilian Koech and Michael Saruni) swept the indoor track weekly honors.