Photo by Michael Reese

Flyin’ Miners open outdoor season with four first place finishes

SAN ANTONIO – The UTEP track and field team competed in an outdoor regular-season meet for the first time in almost 700 days.

The Miners opened the much-anticipated 2021 season with four first place finishes, while four more UTEP student-athletes placed in the top three on the second day at the UTSA Invitational at Park West Athletics Complex.

UTEP last stepped onto a track during the regular season on April 27, 2019 at the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson, Ariz.

Roosa Yloenen launched a career-best throw of 53.37m (175-01) in the javelin for a first-place finish. Yloenen eclipsed her previous high of 50.44m on April 12, 2019. Karoline Daland competed in her first career 3000m steeplechase and clocked in an 11:26.24 to claim gold.

Titus Cheruiyot experienced a wealth of success in his first season as a Miner and continued that going into his first career outdoor meet as the sophomore finished first with a time of 14:56.04 in the 5000m. Ruth Jerubet impressed in her first meet as a Miner. The freshman earned gold in the 5000m with a time of 15:50.80.

“It’s just fun to finally be at it again,” said UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen. “There definitely is rust in the system, but everybody is working hard to get it going again. Day one was a mixed bag as you typically get from the first meet, but we still have most of our events left for the weekend tomorrow. Three ladies – Karoline, Roosa and Ruth – definitely stood out a bit today. It was a fine start to the season.”

Freshman Maxwell Kipkosgei registered a 14:57.32 in the 5000m, placing second behind Cheruiyot, while Rodgers Korir (15:01.25) finished third. Joan Kimaiyo (17:13.66) saw action in her first outdoor meet, placing third in the 5000m. Karol Koncos opened his senior outdoor season with a third-place finish (60.61m) in the hammer throw.

Freshman Aleks Hristov opened his collegiate career with a fourth-place finish in the hammer throw with a 56.52m mark. Benjamin Coronado recorded a career-best 50.27m toss in the hammer throw. Misael Ortiz, a graduate of Socorro High School, made his UTEP debut on Friday. The redshirt freshman registered a 14.09m throw in the shot put. Ortiz also posted a 41.00m toss in the hammer throw.

Sah-Jay Stevens made her UTEP outdoor debut, finishing with a 37.21m mark in the javelin throw. Stevens finished as the top Miner in the shot put with a 13.50m heave, while registering a 41.74m throw in the hammer event.

Cierra Chenault (11.83m), Samantha Cordier (11.61m) and Kayla Larry (10.43m) also competed in the shot put. Cordier (46.25m) finished as the top Miner in the hammer throw with a 10th-place showing, while Larry (45.64m) posted a career best toss, finishing 11th, and Chenault (40.86m) placing 19th.

The final day of competition is Saturday. Graduate student transfer Paulo Benavides, who competed in the Big 12 at Kansas and is a Franklin High School graduate, will open his UTEP career with the pole vault at 10 a.m. MT.

The running events will shoot off at 1 p.m. MT with the women’s 4x100m relay. The final event of the weekend will be the men’s 4x400m relay.