The road to NCAA Championships first goes through Austin, Texas with the start of the NCAA West Region Preliminaries on May 25-28.
Eight Miners will make their first trip to the west regional preliminary round, while eight more make a return to the regional stage.
The men’s 800m run will be the strong point for the Miners with two of the nation’s top runners competing. All-American’s Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni will compete at 7:35 p.m on Thursday. Korir clocked the fastest time in the nation (1:43.73). Saruni heads into the meet ranked sixth in the country with a time of 1:45.82.
Sophomore sensation Tobi Amusan makes her second consecutive trip to the regional meet competing in the 100m hurdles at 3:30 p.m on Friday. Amusan finished runner up at last year’s NCAA Championships with a wind-aided time of 12.79. The Nigerian native qualified with a time of 12.67 ranking her second in the region. She was named the C-USA Female Performer of the Meet after leading the women’s team to its first outdoor title in program history with 24.5 points.
Thursday will see sophomore Karol Koncos in the men’s hammer throw starting at 1:30 p.m. MT. Koncos registered a personal best of 64.29m (210-11) in the hammer garnering a bronze medal at the Conference USA Championships. The Slovakian native ranks 18th overall in the west region.
In the women’s 400m hurdles, Yanique Bennett and Dreshanae Rolle will take the track at 2:30 p.m on Thursday. In her final year as a Miner, Bennett has accumulated five top-three finishes this season. The senior claimed gold at the conference meet with a season-best time of 58.52 and ranks 17th in the region. Rolle clocked a personal best of 1:00.19 earlier this year at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge.
Freshman Linda Cheruiyot will compete in the 1,500m run at 4:30 p.m. Cheruiyot won bronze at the conference meet. She clocked a personal-best 4:23.60 at the Brutus Hamilton meet to qualify for the regional meet.
Cosmas Boit and Jonah Koech will compete in the men’s 1,500m run on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. The senior scored four points at the C-USA meet finishing in fifth place. He had an outstanding performance at the Texas Relays capturing silver with a time of 3:49.90. Boit ran a season-best 3:49.46 at the UTEP Springtime in the first outdoor meet of the season.
Koech ranks seventh in the region with a qualifying time of 3:42.52. The sophomore captured gold at the C-USA Championships in the 1,500m and took home fifth place in the 800m.
Two seniors will compete in the first round of the women’s 400m. Ada Benjamin and Florence Uwakwe will take the track at 6:20 p.m. Benjamin clocked a personal best of 52.76 in the 400m when she took home silver at the C-USA Championships, where she ranks 14th in the region.
Uwakwe notched a bronze medal in the 400m and silver in the 4x400m relay. Last year, the senior finished 12th overall at the NCAA preliminaries in the 400m.
Asa Guevara will take the track in the men’s 400m at 6:45 p.m. The junior competed last year in the 100m and 200m at the regional meet. He helped both the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay team finish fourth and second, respectively.
Making her first appearance at the regional meet in the 800m run, Lilian Koech will compete at 7:10 p.m. The sophomore heads into the preliminary race ranked sixth in the region. She helped the women’s team claim their first ever outdoor conference title by claiming silver in the 1,500m and 800m run.
Rounding out Thursday’s action will be Winny Koech in the women’s 800m run. The sophomore makes her first trip to the regional meet with at time of 33:51.31 posted at the Mt. SAC Relays, ranking her 16th in the region.
Three Miners will compete on Friday, starting with the women’s discus throw at 11:00 a.m. Senior Samantha Hall makes her third trip to the regional meet, during the 2015 season Hall qualified to the NCAA Championships after placing third at the regional meet. The senior qualified with a season-best mark of 55.17m ranking her 12th in the region.
Ending Friday’s action in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at 8:00 p.m. will be Daniel Cheruiyot. The sophomore qualified for his first regional meet with a time of 8:53.68 registered at the C-USA Championships crossing the finish line in second place.
In order to advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., an athlete must finish in the top 12 at the preliminaries.
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