UTEP’s Aleks Hristov | photo by Stephanie Van Horn/MT Athletics
MURFREESBORO, Tn. – The UTEP track and field team completed its second day of competition at the 2021 Conference USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships as Aleks Hristov was the first Miner to medal, and a total of 10 Miners advanced to the finals at Dean A. Hayes Track Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The men’s squad gained 17 points on the day, totaling 30 points for the meet. The UTEP men’s team stands in fifth behind host Middle Tennessee (35), UTSA (44), Rice (53) and C-USA favorite Charlotte (60).
The women’s side is still looking to earn points. Rice leads with 62.5 points. Host Middle Tennessee has 24 points in fourth place.
“Not exactly the day we were hoping to have and losing three individuals (Titus Cheruiyot, Chevannie Hanson, and Maribel Caicedo) to injuries in their first event for the day was not uplifting at all,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “It’s the way these events sometimes go, but the rest of the team did not blink. They competed hard and we qualified well for Sunday’s finals.”
Hristov hurled a personal-best 56.54m (185-6). Hristov claimed bronze and earned six points. Benjamin Coronado also set a personal-best with a toss of 50.30m (165-0), as the junior finished seventh with two points.
In the men’s high jump, both sophomore Emilio Rios and freshman Ishmel Williams each set persona marks with leaps of 2.09m (6-10.25). Rios earned five points, while Williams tallied four points.
“Our male high jumpers and discus throwers overachieved in a big way today and all four finalists (Hristov, Coronado, Rios and Williams) set personal bests in their competitions,” Laaksonen said. “We gained some momentum today and will try to build on it tomorrow to have a strong finish for the championship.”
The running preliminaries opened with junior Carolyne Chepkosgei (4:35.49) and freshman Ruth Jerubet (4:38.28) advancing to Sunday’s 1500m finals. The pair will run at 3:15 p.m. MT with Chepkosgei running in lane 3, and Jerubet in lane 9. Chepkosgei will also run the 800m in lane 8 at 4:20 p.m. MT after placing fifth (2:11.16) in the prelims.
Kenneth Talavera will also run two final events on Sunday. The freshman placed third in the 1500m (3:52.25), and second in the 800m (1:52.22). Talavera will run the 1500m in lane 1 at 3:25 p.m. MT, and the 800m in lane 4 at 4:25 p.m. MT.
Shakeem Smith placed second (13.96) in the 110m hurdles and 400m hurdles (51.38). The senior will run the 110m hurdles in lane 4 at 3:40 p.m. MT, and the 400m hurdles in lane 6 at 4:40 p.m. MT. Smith will also see action in the men’s 4×100 (3:05 p.m. MT) and 4×400 (6 p.m. MT) events on Sunday.
Junior Ned Azemia will run the 400m hurdles in lane 3 after placing fifth in the prelims (52.26).
Senior Sean Bailey will see action in a pair of events on Sunday. Bailey won his heat (46.52) in the 400m, and placed third in the 200m (21.32). Bailey will run the 400m finals in lane 6 at 3:55 p.m. MT, and the 200m in section two (lane 6) at 4:55 p.m. MT.
Freshman Jevaughn Powell streaked out for a first-place finish in the 200m in his heat (21.10) and will see action in second two (lane 5) in the 200m finals at 4:55 p.m. MT. The freshman placed fourth in the 400m with a personal-best time 46.76 and will run in lane 3 in the finals. Powell will also compete in the 4x100m relay at 3:05 p.m. MT.
Freshman Dennis Johnson tied his personal-best time of 10.58 in the 100m prelims, and will race in lane 4 in the finals at 4:10 p.m. MT. Johnson will also run the 4×100.
Freshman Denae McFarlane won her heat (11.71) in the 100m prelims, and will run in lane 5 in the finals at 4:05 p.m. MT. McFarlane set her personal-best time with a 24.29 in the 200m prelims and will run in lane 1 in the finals at 4:50 p.m. MT.
Oghenekaro Brume also set a personal best, clocking in a 24.21 in the 200m. The freshman will run in lane 8 in the finals.
Juniors Larry Kayla (Flight 1), Samantha Cordier (Flight 1), and Sah-Jay Stevens (Flight 2) will start Sunday with the women’s shot-put finals at noon MT.
Senior Devin Mungro will leap the triple jump finals at noon MT.
Graduate student Paulo Benavides and senior Arturo Ciriza will compete in the pole vault finals at 12:30 p.m. MT.
Sophomore Roosa Yloenen and Stevens will see action in the javelin finals at 1 p.m. MT.
Coronado, Hristov and freshman Misael Ortiz will compete in the shot-finals at 2:30 p.m. MT.
The women’s 4x100m relay team (TBD [Maribel Caicedo], Brume, Chinique Brown, McFarlane) will run at 3 p.m. MT, while the men’s 4x100m relay team (Smith, Powell, TBD [Hanson out], Johnson) will shoot off at 3:05 p.m. MT.
The 2021 C-USA Championships will conclude with the women’s 4x400m relay (Brown, Chepkosgei, Carshaylah, Harrison, Brume) will start at 5:50 p.m. MT, while the men’s 4x400m relay team (Smith, Hill, Kevin Hewitt, Hanson) will cap the weekend at 6 p.m. MT.