Former, Current Miners continue Quest for Gold in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From the links to the track lanes in Rio, both former and current UTEP Miners are showing the world exactly what Miner Strong means.

UTEP great Churandy Martina finished second in the men’s 200m semifinal clocking a time of 20.10 and securing a spot in the final dash at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.


The qualifying sprinters will race in the men’s 200m final at 7:30 p.m. MT on Thursday.

Martina of the Netherlands edged USA’s Justin Gatlin by .03 seconds in the third semifinal heat. Alonso Edward (Panama) won the third sprint with a time of 20.07. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (19.78) literally laughed his way past Andre De Grasse of Canada by .02 seconds, while claiming the top time in the second semifinal.

USA’s LaShawn Merritt recorded a time of 19.94 to win the first semifinal.

Martina will make his sprint from lane eight in tomorrow’s final. Bolt will be in lane six, while DeGrasse is in lane four. Merritt will race from lane five.

Current UTEP sophomore Tobi Amusan also competed on Wednesday night, coming up short in the women’s 100m hurdles. Amusan

Tobi Amusan
Tobi Amusan

clocked a time of 12.91 in the second semifinal to finish third behind Canada’s Phylicia George (12.77).

The last Miners to medal came at the 2008 Olympics when Blessing Okagbare (long jump), Osayomi Oludamola (100m relay) and Halimat Ismaila (100m relay) all claimed bronze medals in Beijing

Former UTEP golf standout Gerina Piller shot a two-under-par 69 over the first of four rounds at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Piller is tied for 11th place and within striking distance of the leader, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who carded a 65.

Gerina (Mendoza) Piller | Photo courtesy |Brian Kanof / UTEP
Gerina (Mendoza) Piller | Photo courtesy |Brian Kanof / UTEP

Piller posted the second-best score among United States competitors behind Lexi Thompson, who is tied for seventh place (68).

Single rounds will be played through Saturday.

A native of Roswell, N.M., Piller played for the Miners from 2003-07.  She put together a banner senior year, winning the Conference USA championship.  She was named the C-USA Player of the Year and first team All-League.

Piller led Conference USA in scoring average that year (72.8) with four tournament titles.  She began her pro career on the Futures Tour before earning full playing privileges on the LPGA Tour for 2011.