Birmingham, Ala. – Jonah Koech dashed his way to a sixth-place finish in the mile and Nickevea Wilson placed 12th in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships on Saturday afternoon at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Koech, who is only a freshman, dabbled with taking gold in the mile and even had a lead during the last 200m. He was unable to hold off a furious pack of runners, but he still earned First Team All America honors. Koech crossed the finish line with a time of 4:07.52, less than a second behind the winner.
“What a gutsy performance from Jonah today,” head coach Mika Laaksonen said. “He made a move rarely seen at this meet by passing inside to free himself from being boxed in. He was in position to have it all, but just didn’t have enough today. He has run at two NCAA Championship meets (2015 cross country and 2016 indoors) and he is already a two-time All American. He is a special young man with a bright future in our sport.”
Koech ends his freshman indoor campaign with four individual golds, a second place showing in the distance medley relay at the C-USA Championships and two other third-place finishes.
Wilson closed out her collegiate career today at the CrossPlex. She finished 12th with a bound of 12.82m (42-0.75) in the field of 16 jumpers. Wilson will long be remembered for her stellar performances the last four years.
“I can’t say enough about what Nickevea has meant to this program,” Laaksonen mentioned. “We would not have been able to win the conference indoor title this year without her performance and leadership. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a storybook ending today in her last competition as a Miner, but I could not be more proud of what she has accomplished in her time her at UTEP. She will be missed.”
Wilson will be named a Second Team All American for her performance. The Jamaican was a First Team All American at the 2014 NCAA Indoor National Championships with an eighth-place finish in the triple jump. At the 2014 NCAA Outdoor National Championships, she was named a Second Team All American for finishing 10th and she received honorable mention for All American status as a freshman in 2013.
Wilson won four-career triple jump individual conference titles and helped the women’s team secure its first two conference titles in program history this year and last year. She won 11 triple jump titles between outdoors and indoors as a Miner, and she also ranks inside the top five in the indoor triple jump (13.22m), outdoor triple jump (13.38m) and indoor long jump (6.01m).