Eugene, Or. – UTEP’s sophomore Michael Saruni and junior Jonah Koech earned All-American honors in the 800m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Friday night.
“Sometimes your best is not enough and today was one of those days for Saruni,” said head coach Mika Laaksonen. “He is young and unbelievably talented so he will learn from this. Jonah ran his best 800m and gained plenty of confidence from today’s race. We are so proud of these guys.”
Having to fight against tough weather conditions, both Miners kept pace with the pack of runners throughout the first lap. Heading into the final 200m, Saruni opened a gap before being passed by Isaiah Harris (Penn St.) in the final 15m. The sophomore crossed the finish line at 1:43.31, earning a bronze-medal finish. Koech stopped the clock at 1:46.23 to finish sixth overall.
Saruni and Koech combined to score nine points for the Miners and earn All-American Honors.
Saruni finished his season with a number of accolades, which include posting the NCAA 800m record 1:43.25 at the Desert Heat Classic, clocking a world-best 1:14.79 in the 600m, claiming the NCAA indoor title in the 800m, set the No. 2 NCAA indoor time in the 800m (1:45.15) and posting two school records in the 800m (indoor and outdoor).
Koech finished the 2018 campaign with two Conference USA outdoor titles in the 1,500m and 800m and an indoor conference title in the mile.
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