Roosa Yloenen | Photo courtesy MT Athletics
DALLAS – The 2021 Conference USA Outdoor Track & Field All-Conference Teams were determined at the conference meet, held May 13-16 in Murfreesboro, Tn.
UTEP’s Shakeem Smith (110m hurdles, 400m hurdles) led the C-USA men with two first team All-Conference awards, while the Miners produced a men’s league-high seven overall first team All-Conference USA honorees.
“Happy to see these hardworking student-athletes to be recognized by the conference of their dedication to the sport,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “Speed and power dominated the championships for us.”
UTEP’s Sean Bailey (400m), Paulo Benavides (pole vault), Jevaughn Powell (200m), the 4×100 and 4×400 relay team were announced to the first team. Making the third team were Bailey (200m), Aleks Hristov (discus) and Kenneth Talavera (800m).
On the women’s side, Denae McFarlane (100m, 200m) earned pair of second team honors. Roosa Yloenen (javelin) and Carolyne Chepkosgei (800m) were also named to the second team.
Smith broke a C-USA 21-year old record in the 400m hurdles, clocking in a personal-best 49.82. He also set a PR in the 110m hurdles, turning in a time of 13.73. He earned a trio of gold medals that included one in the 4×100.
Bailey ran a 45.24 in the 400m, as the senior streaked past his competition to capture gold. The senior set a PR in the 200m with a third-place finish. Bailey racked up four total medals after competing with the 4×100 and 4×400 teams.
Powell posted a 20.75 in the 200m with a gold medal showing, while Benavides cleared the bar in the pole vault with a season-best mark 5.36m (17-7) to win gold.
Hristov earned bronze in the discus with a personal-best 56.54m (185-6) mark.
Talavera turned a third-place showing (bronze) in the 800m with a time of 1:52.05.
The men’s 4x100m relay team (Bailey, Smith, Powell, Dennis Johnson) ran a season-best 40.03, while the 4x400m relay team (Joshua Hill, Ned Azemia, Kevin Hewitt, Bailey) capped the weekend off with a 3:08.19 to gain 10 points. The Miners were tied with host Middle Tennessee at 116 heading into the event. UTEP finished the meet with 126 points, to MT’s 121.
McFarlane impressed in her first collegiate season. The freshman saw two silver medal finishes on PR’s in the 100m dash (11.52) and the 200m dash (24.02).
Yloenen tallied a 49.38m (162-0) toss, earning a silver medal.
Chepkosgei clocked in a 2:08.40 in the 800m to take home a silver medal.