HOUSTON – UTEP track and field wrapped up day three at the 2018 Conference USA Outdoor Championships at the Wendel D. Holloway Field.
“We had some good performances throughout the day,” UTEP head coach Mika Laaksonen said. “There are still some things we need to work on but both men’s and women’s teams put themselves in a good position for tomorrow’s final.”
The day started with a second and third-place showing by Jonah Koech and Michael Saruni in the 1,500m. Koech clocked a time of 3:59.14, followed by Saruni (3:59.15) earning an automatic-qualifying spot in Sunday’s final at 5:15 p.m. MT.
The mid-distance duo also advanced to the 800m final. Koech crossed the finish line with a time of 1:50.79 to win the first heat. Saruni cruised to an easy second-place finish in the second heat with a qualifying time of 1:52.93. The 800m final will start at 6:20 p.m. on Sunday.
Lilian Koech and Linda Cheruiyot matched their male counterpart’s performances by qualifying in both the 800m and 1,500m. Koech notched an overall first-place finish in the 1,500m with a time of 4:34.35 and garnered second place in second heat of the 800m clocking in at 2:12.50. Cheruiyot registered a time of 4:34.41 in the 1,500m finishing second in the second heat and took first in the third heat of the 800m with a time of 2:12.30.
The Kenya natives with compete in the 1,500m final on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. and will return for the 800m final at 6:25 p.m.
Newcomer Shakeem Smith stamped his place in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.10 and the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the field. Smith squeezed his way into the 400m hurdles final with the eighth and final qualifying time of 54.33.
He will race in the 110m hurdles final starting at 5:35 p.m. and in the 400m hurdles at 8:35 p.m.
Junior Dreshanae Rolle showed her speed in the 400m hurdles qualifying to Sunday’s final with a time of 1:01.30. Rolle earned the third-fastest qualifying time and will race tomorrow at 6:40 p.m.
Senior Asa Guevara cruised his way into the 200m and 400m finals. Guevara registered a time of 20.82 in the 200m, which was the third-fastest time of the night. He clocked 46.17 in the 400m notching a second place overall. Guevara will compete in the 400m at 5:50 p.m. and again at 6:50 p.m. in the 200m.
Madison Gibson notched a personal-best 54.95 in the 400m earning her a spot in tomorrow’s final. Gibson clocked the fourth-fastest qualifying time and will race at 5:55 p.m.
The men’s team earned five points in the pole vault after freshman Etamar Bhastekar climbed over the bar at a career-best 4.82m (15-9.75).
The team is currently in fifth place overall with 22 points, while the women’s team is in 10th place with 10 overall points.
The action continues tomorrow on the final day of the 2018 Conference USA Outdoor Championships with the field events starting at 2 p.m. and the running events at 5 p.m.
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