UTEP's Dennis Johnson | Photo by UNM Athletics

Flyin’ Miners garner10 First-Place Finishes at Don Kirby Tailwind Open on Thursday

ALBUQUERQUE – Even with a short week to prepare, the UTEP track and field team chalked up 10 victories at New Mexico’s Don Kirby Tailwind Open on a windy Thursday afternoon at UNM Track & Field Complex.

“This one was difficult to get up for with such a short week of preparation,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “I still like, for the most part, what we accomplished.”

In the field events, Roosa Yloenen won her second javelin throw of the season, registering a 50.80m (166-08) mark.

Aleks Hristov won his first collegiate event, earning gold in the discus with a mark of 54.08m (177-05).

Paulo Benavides, who struggled his last two meets, won his first pole vault as a Miner with a season-best 5.16m (16-11) leap.

Ishmel Williams recorded his first collegiate victory, leaping 2.04m (6-8.25) in the high jump. Williams also placed second in the long jump with a 7.12m (23-4.5) mark (3.6 wind).

“Some student-athletes made very nice progress here,” Laaksonen said. “Like Dennis [Johnson] in the 100-meter dash, Ishmel [Williams] in his conference-prep long jump, Shakeem [Smith] in the 110-meter hurdles, Ruth [Jerubet] in the 1500 meter run, and Denae [McFarlane] in the 100-meter dash. Carolyne’s [Chepkosgei] tune up in the 400-meter dash was good in windy conditions, and Sean [Bailey] did well in his 200-meter conference prep race. I’m very happy we came out of this one relatively healthy and can’t wait to finish the regular season strong next Saturday at the Desert Heat Classic at the University of Arizona.”

UTEP claimed six gold-medal finishes on the track. Shakeem Smith won his first 110m hurdles since 2019, posting a personal-best time of 13.91 (1.5 wind).

Denae McFarlane posted her first career individual win, crossing the finish line first in the 100m dash with a personal-best time of 11.67 (1.7 wind).

In the men’s 100m dash, Dennis Johnson won his first collegiate event, racing out to a time of 10.25 (3.2 wind).

The relay team won three of four races. The women’s 4x100m team (Maribel Caicedo, Denae McFarlane, Geraldy Barron, Oghenekaro Brume) placed first with a time of 45.67, while the women’s 4x400m squad (Carshaylah Harrison, Aphiniti Crupper, Natalia Roberts, Brume) clocked in a 3:58.07 for a first-place finish.

The men’s 4×400 team (Ned Azemia, Ronaldo Griffiths, Joshua Hill, Kevin Hewitt) won its event, posting a time of 3:19.77. The men’s 4×100 team (Smith, Johnson, Bailey, Chevannie Hanson) finished in second place.

Hanson checked in a personal-best time of 46.23, placing second in the 400m dash, while Azemia placed second with a 52.62 in the 400m hurdles.

Carolyne Chepkosgei competed in her first collegiate 400m dash, registering a time of 57.47 for a third-place finish, and Harrison saw a third-place finish in the women’s 400m hurdles, posting a time of 1:05.24.

Bailey competed in his second 200m dash event of the season, placing third with a time of 20.99 (1.7 wind).

Up next, the Miners will close out the regular season, traveling to a pair of meets. The Miners will see action at the Texas Invitational in Austin April 30-May 1, and the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson on May 1.