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UTEP Softball notches first win at Highlander Classic

RIVERSIDE, Ca. – UTEP took advantage of the long ball on Friday as the Miners clinched the team’s first win of the 2020 season, a 6-2 victory over Idaho State at the Highlander Classic in Riverside, California

UTEP (1-6) dropped the first game of the day, 4-2, to Santa Clara (3-3), but the Miners rallied for the second contest to come out on top against the Idaho State Bengals (2-4) for head coach T.J. Hubbard’s first win in the Orange and Blue.

All of UTEP’s runs came off home runs, starting with Pamala Baber’s solo shot to left-center field in the first inning that gave the Miners a 1-0 lead. Idaho State knotted things at 1-1 in the bottom half of the first, but the UTEP bats went back to work in the fourth as the Miners plated five runs, all of which came off home runs.

Baber led off the inning with walk before Kasey Flores crushed a two-run shot to right-center to put the Miners up 3-1. Two more walks in the inning led to a three-run home run off Ilena Santos’ bat to help give UTEP some insurance heading into the final three frames.

Idaho State got one run back thanks to a pair of base hits in the bottom of the fourth, but that would be all for the Bengals, who were shut down by the Miners the rest of the way.

Freshman Zaylie Calderon (1-1) got the start in the circle for the Miners and pitched a complete game to pick up her first win of the season. Calderon, who also had a hit in the game from the leadoff spot, allowed two runs on nine hits, while striking out five and walking three.

The Miners were out-hit in the contest, 9-4, but made their hits count with three home runs in the game. UTEP entered the day ranked second in Conference USA in home runs on the season.

The Miners have now hit nine home runs in seven games.

GAME 1: SANTA CLARA 4 – UTEP 2

In the opening game of the weekend, UTEP dropped a close contest to Santa Clara (3-3), 4-2, on Friday morning in a game that saw the Miners get behind early.

Santa Clara drew first blood in the game with a walk and RBI double that gave the Broncos a 1-0 lead. The Broncos extended that lead in the third after a pair of infield singles led to a two-run double in the gap to put Santa Clara up by three.

UTEP started to claw its way back in the fourth when Pate Cathey led off the inning with a walk before stealing second base and later scoring on an RBI double by Idalis Mendez. Pamala Baber then drew a walk and both runs reached scoring position on a wild pitch.

Ariana Valles followed up with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Mendez and making it a 3-2 ball game until the sixth.

Santa Clara gave itself some breathing room two inning later when a Miner error led to the Broncos plating their fourth run of the game and helped clinch the game for SCU.

Freshman Isabella Kelly (0-3) went the distance for the Miners in the circle and was charged with the loss after allowing four runs – three earned – on seven hits, while she struck out two and walked one in six full innings.

At the plate, Mendez led the way for the Miners with a 2-for-2 effort from the dish, including a double, run scored and an RBI. The UTEP offense also saw production out of Calderon, Santos, Flores, Baber and Valles, all of who had a base hit in the game. Both teams closed out the game with seven hits apiece.

On Saturday, the Miners will face off in a rematch with the ISU Bengals at 10 a.m. MT. Sunday’s slate has UTEP battling Santa Clara (10 a.m. MT) for the second time before closing out the tournament versus UC Riverside at 12:30 p.m. MT.

Live stats for every game this weekend will be available through www.GoHighlanders.com.

For complete coverage of UTEP Softball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @utepsoftball (Instagram) and @UTEPSoftball (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

 

Bailey Wins 400m, eight Miners set Personal Bests on final day at Don Kirby Elite Invite

ALBUQUERQUE – The UTEP track and field team completed the final day at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational hosted by New Mexico on Valentine’s Day.

A lot of love went around as Sean Bailey won the men’s 400m, Chantoba Bright hopped out to a big leap in the women’s triple jump, and Shakeem Smith continued his successful senior campaign. Eight personal bests were also set on Friday afternoon in the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Bailey won the men’s 400m, clocking in a 46.46, while Jevaughn Powell recorded a 47.52 for a sixth-place finish.

Bright, the reigning Conference USA Female Field Athlete of the Week, placed second in the women’s triple jump with a personal-best leap of 13.28m.

Smith ran a 7.91 in the men’s 60m hurdles, placing third.

Maribel Caiceda ran a personal best with an 8.32 in the women’s 60m hurdles, placing fourth. The sophomore won the qualifying round, clocking an 8.41, and posted a time of 8.33 in the prelims.

Johna Diggs clocked a personal best with a time of 8.00 in the women’s 60m qualifying round.

Davion Bynaum set a personal best with a time of 6.76 in the men’s 60m final.

All four Miners set personal bests in the men’s mile. Kenneth Talavera ran a 4:17.02, placing eighth. Michael Sims also clocked a 4:30.84, Samuel Zambrano a 4:33.10 and Kayn Quinones a 4:36.01.

Karoline Daland placed 15th in the women’s 800m, clocking a time of 2:14.76.

Sah-Jay Steven finished as the top Miners (13th place) in the women’s shot put (13.96m). Benjamin Coronado placed 16th (16.52) on the men’s side.

IOWA STATE CLASSIC UPDATE

Rodgers Korir placed 10th in the men’s 5000m, clocking a time of 14:20.54. Carolyne Chepkosgei will run the women’s 800m on Saturday afternoon.

UTEP cruises past Texas Wesleyan 7-0

FT. WORTH – The UTEP tennis team will won every match contested in both singles and doubles play to polish off Texas Wesleyan, 7-0, on the road Friday afternoon.

The match was the first of three straight this weekend, with a pair of Conference USA opponents remaining on this trip. The Miners (2-4) will face LA Tech (6-4) in a neutral-site match (Denton, Texas) at 11 a.m. MT Saturday and lock up at North Texas (5-2) at 11 a.m. MT Sunday.

But on Friday, UTEP’s full focus was on Texas Wesleyan, which paid dividends in the form of a 7-0 victory.

“We played solid today,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “This was a good match for us before two C-USA opponents. It is always difficult for us to come down more than 3,000 feet in altitude, but we adjusted well and got it done. We still need to play better tomorrow (and Sunday) in order to be competitive vs. LA Tech and North Texas.”

UTEP quickly seized the doubles point. Eve Daniels and Lina Sáchica blasted Mae Covacevich and Cecilia Salazar, 6-0, at No. 3 doubles. Vanessa Valdez and Erandi Martinez were also practically flawless in a 6-1 dispatching of Caitlin Souvannavong and Hannah Rey at No. 2 to lock up the point.

Kathleen Percegona and Maria Aveiga had to work a bit harder but still took down Aurora Novati and Kara Onza Antonio, 7-5, at the No. 1 position.

Sáchica got UTEP going in singles by drilling Souvannavong, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 2 singles for her fourth dual win of the season. Martinez bested Onza Antonio, 6-3, 6-0, at No. 3 singles to match Sáchica for most dual single wins on the campaign.

Daniels blasted Covacevich, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 5 singles. Kathleen Percegona cruised by Rey, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 4 singles. Thássane Abrahim secured her first dual win of the spring after a convincing 6-1, 6-1, triumph against Salazar at No. 6 singles.

Valdez capped the perfect day with a 6-2, 7-6, vanquishing of Novati at the top spot.

UTEP will vie for its second straight win when it takes on LA Tech in its C-USA opener at 11 a.m. MT Saturday.

***

UTEP at Texas Wesleyan University |  Feb 14, 2020 at Ft. Worth, Texas

UTEP 7  – Texas Wesleyan University 0

Singles competition

  1. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) def. Aurora Novati (TWS) 6-2, 7-6
  2. Lina Sáchica (UTEP) def. Caitlin Souvannavong (TWS) 6-0, 6-1
  3. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) def. Kara Onza Antonio (TWS) 6-3, 6-0
  4. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) def. Hannah Rey (TWS) 6-2, 6-0
  5. Eve Daniels (UTEP) def. Mae Covacevich (TWS) 6-0, 6-0
  6. Thássane Abrahim (UTEP) def. Cecilia Salazar (TWS) 6-1, 6-1

Doubles competition

  1. Kathleen Percegona/Maria Aveiga (UTEP) def. Aurora Novati/Kara Onza Antonio (TWS) 7-5
  2. Vanessa Valdez/Erandi Martinez (UTEP) def. Caitlin Souvannavong/Hannah Rey (TWS) 6-1
  3. Eve Daniels/Lina Sáchica (UTEP) def. Mae Covacevich/Cecilia Salazar (TWS) 6-0

Match Notes:

UTEP 2-4

Texas Wesleyan University 0-2

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,5,3,4,6,1)

For complete coverage of UTEP tennis, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWTennis (Twitter)@UTEP_Tennis (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Dana Dimel announces UTEP Football Staff Changes

On Friday, UTEP Athletics announced that Head Coach Dana Dimel has appointed Josh Brown, Charles Jones, Barrick Nealy and Trevin Wade to positions on his UTEP Football coaching staff, while Keith Burns has been named Director of Recruiting & Director of Player Personnel for the Miners.

Brown takes over as Secondary/Safeties Coach, Jones will be in charge of Offense Quality Control, Nealy is Running Backs Coach & Recruiting Coordinator and Wade is Cornerbacks Coach.

“I’m excited about the changes to our staff and what our new coaches will bring to the table,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said.

“Some bring incredible recruiting ties in areas that are going to be really beneficial for us.  Some have NFL experience, and it’s going to be tremendous for our young kids to learn from guys who have competed at the highest level.  I think that combination, coupled with the relationships our coaches will build with the players, will continue to move us in the right direction as a staff.”

ABOUT JOSH BROWN

Brown brings 20 years of collegiate coaching experience to the Sun City.  Most recently he served as safeties coach at Nevada for the Wolf Pack’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl appearance versus Ohio in 2019.

He has been affiliated with two conference championship teams (2011 Great West, 2012 Big Sky), four postseason teams (2006 Hawaii Bowl, 2012 & 2016 NCAA Playoffs, 2019 Potato Bowl), and three teams that finished the season ranked in the top-25 nationally (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016) during his career.

Previously, he was defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Cal Poly from 2012-19.  Under Brown’s tutelage, the Mustangs rated top-three in the Big Sky Conference in points allowed and total defense in 2012, 2013 and 2015.  Cal Poly ranked top-three in the league in rushing defense on four occasions (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017).  His 2013 unit was listed among the national leaders in points allowed (19th) and rushing defense (25th), while his 2017 squad was also top-25 (19th) in red zone defense.

In 2013, Brown coached the Big Sky Co-Defensive Player of the Year in defensive tackle Sullivan Grosz.  He also coached Nick Dzubnar, who shattered the school record for tackles in a season in 2014 and currently plays for the San Diego Chargers.  Brown spent the 2010 and 2011 campaigns at Cal Poly as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, when he oversaw punt return, kickoff and kickoff return units that rated among the nation’s best.

He also spent time at Foothill College as Special Teams Coordinator/PE Instructor (2000-05), Arizona State as Defensive Line Graduate Assistant (2006), Sacramento State as Recruiting Coordinator/Linebackers Coach (2007-08) and Kansas as Quality Control Coach/Linebackers (2009).

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from San Jose State in 2003, and added a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Education from Arizona State in 2007.  Brown and his wife, Kasey, have a son, Ty, and a daughter, Tatum.  He played his prep football at San Luis Obispo High School.

Brown’s father-in-law is Mike Church, a former assistant coach at UTEP and a member of the staff on the 10-win, 1988 Miners.

ABOUT CHARLES JONES

 Jones has been elevated to a Quality Control Coach after spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons as a Graduate Assistant with the Miners.

He played running back for coach Dimel at Kansas State from 2012-16.  Jones lettered three seasons and rushed for over 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns as a Wildcat.  Jones tallied a career-high 14 total touchdowns in 2014 and ran for a career-best 696 yards with five scores in 2015.

Jones was a three-year starter at Mandeville High School (La.) and rushed for 1,767 yards and 22 touchdowns, while hauling in 31 passes for 321 yards during his senior campaign.

 

ABOUT BARRICK NEALY

Nealy has spent the last two years at UTEP as Director of Player Development & High School Relations (2018-19) and Recruiting Coordinator/Senior Player Personnel Director (2019-20).  He’ll hit the field as Running Backs Coach this spring, while continuing to serve as Recruiting Coordinator.

He received his first coaching opportunity at San Marcos Academy from 2011-17, where he mentored San Marcos High School quarterback and former University of Texas shortstop David Hamilton.  He also worked with San Marcos quarterback Prudencio Calderon, who led the 2017 Rattlers to their first district title in 14 years.  Calderon currently plays at Rice.

Nealy played quarterback for coach Dimel in four games at Houston in 2002 before transferring to Texas State.  Nealy threw for 7,206 yards and 52 touchdowns in 35 starts (2003-05) with the Bobcats. Under then-offensive coordinator and current Texas head coach Tom Herman, Nealy earned 2005 Southland Conference Player of the Year honors after passing for 21 scores and leading his squad to a SLC Championship.

Following his successful 2005 campaign, Nealy signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and was a wide receiver in 2006. Later that year, Nealy inked a contract with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, where he played quarterback for five seasons (2006-10).

Nealy earned his Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from Texas State in 2017.  He and his wife, Tiffany, have two sons, Sir Isaac and Isaiah, and a daughter, Sage.

 

ABOUT TREVIN WADE

Wade comes to El Paso after being active for six seasons on an NFL roster.  Wade appeared in 47 games for four teams (Cleveland, New Orleans, Detroit, New York Giants) from 2012-16, and tallied 95 tackles (79 solo/16 assist), 11 pass breakups, three tackles for losses, four fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.  He started five games for the Giants and appeared in a combined three playoff games for New Orleans (2013 season) and New York (2016 season).

Wade was chosen by Cleveland in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

Following his playing days, Wade has worked on various projects, including serving as a defensive drill coordinator for the Prince Amukamara Football Camp and a varsity basketball assistant coach at Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona.

Wade has also volunteered for a variety of non-profit organizations including his own Trevin Wade Foundation, as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Athletes in Action.

Wade was a three-year starter for the Arizona Wildcats and a two-time All-Pac 12 selection. The Round Rock, Texas, native registered 182 career tackles for Arizona with 12 interceptions and a pair of touchdowns.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Arizona in 2011, Wade completed his master’s degree in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon in 2016.  He and his wife, Courtney, have three children – Maverick, Savannah and Zoey.

 

ABOUT KEITH BURNS

Burns enters his third season with the UTEP Football program and his first as the Director of Recruiting and Director of Player Personnel. Burns spent the past two seasons coaching the UTEP secondary and safeties, while he has accumulated more than 30 years of collegiate coaching experience.

The former head coach at Tulsa (2000-02), Burns has also had collegiate coaching stops at Pacific (Defensive Coordinator 1985-88), Rice (Defensive Pass Coordinator/Special Teams 1989-92), USC (Secondary 1993 & Defensive Coordinator 1994-97), Arkansas (Defensive Coordinator 1988-99), San Jose State (Defensive Coordinator 2004-09), Kansas State (Secondary 2010) and Ole Miss (Secondary 2011).  He was a Special Teams Assistant for the Oakland Raiders from 2012-13, and entered the prep ranks at Archbishop Mitty High School from 2014-17.  His high school tenure included stints as defensive coordinator in 2014 and head coach from 2015-17.

In 1998 Burns was a finalist for the Broyles Award, presented to the best assistant coach in college football.

Burns and his wife, Yvonne, have three sons – K.C., Tanner and Davis.  A decorated athlete out of Coronado High School, Davis is a member of the Miners’ 2020 Recruiting Class and will join the program for the upcoming season.

The Miners will kick off the 2020 season by hosting the Red Raiders of Texas Tech on Saturday, Sept. 5 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

 

UTEP Track & Field completes first day at the Don Kirby Elite

ALBUQUERQUE – The UTEP track and field team produced another successful effort on the first day at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational hosted by New Mexico in the Albuquerque Convention Center on Thursday afternoon.

Karol Koncos highlighted the day as the junior set a personal best in the men’s weight throw, tossing a 20.56m mark and placing first. Benjamin Coronado also set a personal best, recording a 16.25m mark.

Yasmine George clocked a personal-best 56.88 in the women’s 400m, placing 11th.

Madison Gibson ran a personal-best in the women’s 200m, clocking in a 24.69. Geraldy Barron (25.78) and Natalia Roberts (26.31) also posted a personal-bests in the 200m.

Boaz Ronoh recorded an 8:44.65 in the men’s 3000m, finishing fifth.

El Paso native Keith Rodriguez registered a personal-best 4.62 in the men’s pole vault, placing fifth.

A pair of throwers set personal marks in the women’s weight throw. Samantha Cordier posted an 18.05m mark, finishing 10th place, while Sah-Jay Stevens recorded a 17.13m.

Friday’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m. MT with the men’s and women’s shot put. The final day will conclude at 2:30 p.m. with the women’s 4x400m relay.

Video+Gallery+Story: Western Kentucky stops Miners at home 67-62

Souley Boum scored a game-high 21 points, while adding eight rebounds and three assists, but WKU (17-8, 10-3 Conference USA) hit big shots down the stretch, sending UTEP (13-13, 4-9 C-USA) to its fourth consecutive loss, 67-62, on Thursday night in the Haskins Center.

“We felt like our defense had a chance to win this game for us tonight and we had to play with urgency from start to finish,” second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said.  “I thought we did a fairly decent job with urgency, but early on part of our defensive problems were transition defense. [WKU] really pushed the ball in transition. I thought we had good effort, but we have to finish out games and finish out possessions, especially on the defensive part on the floor. We got to keep working and buy into the defensive part of 40 minutes.”

Boum completed a three-point play after making a free throw and getting the Miners within a point (57-56) at the 3:34 mark. But Jordan Rawls made his only three-point shot of the game that put WKU up four points (60-56) with 2:41 left in the game.

Bryson Williams got the Miners within three points (61-58) after connecting on a layup off of one of Jordan Lathon’s five assists, but Taveion Hollingsworth, who led WKU with 18 points, answered with a three-point play that put his squad up 64-58 with just over a minute remaining in the contest.

Williams connected his second basket, a layup off another Lathon dime to make the count, 64-60, but Hollingsworth scored WKU’s last seven points and came up with another big basket with 31 seconds remaining to go up six points.

Williams tallied a season-high four assists, tying his collegiate career high. He added 13 points with eight rebounds and two steals. Daryl Edwards chipped in with 10 points as it was the first time in 11 games that a trio of Miners hit double figures. Lathon led the Miners in assists, steals (three) and blocked shots (two).

Anthony Tarke made his first start since Jan. 2, contributing with five rebounds, two points and a pair of assists in 14 minutes of action. Tydus Verhoeven matching his season high with four points, while recording two rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal. Deon Stroud played 13 minutes, scoring six points.

WKU had four players in double digits led by Hollingsworth. Jared Savage (14 points), Carson Williams (13) and Camron Justice (11) were the other three Hilltoppers to top double figures. Savage led with nine boards

Overall, WKU outrebounded UTEP, 37-34, but the Miners won in the paint (36-24) for the first time in three games. UTEP shot 41.0 percent (25-61), but a measly 14.8 (4-27) from the three-point line. WKU shot 42.3 percent (22-52) from the field, including 9-for-21 from beyond the arc.

In the first half, WKU built a 13-point lead (26-13) with 5:21 left in the first period. After being down 30-17, the Miners used a 12-0 run to get back in the ball game and get within a point (30-29).

WKU ended the half with a pair of made free throws by Hollingsworth to take a 32-29 lead into the locker room.

UTEP continued its fighting effort in the second half, taking a 35-32 lead after Boum hit a pair from the foul line. But WKU went on a 9-0 run and took a 41-35 lead at the 14:26 mark.

The Miners kept battling, getting within a point (50-49) after an Edwards layup at the 6:17 mark, while Williams hit a jumper to make the count 52-51 with 5:16 remaining. But Savage answered Williams’s bucket with a three-pointer.

Up next,  UTEP will host Marshall on Saturday, February 15. The Miners and Thundering Herd will tipoff at 2 p.m., while the game can be heard on UTEP’s flagship station 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen calling the action. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with Duke Keith and Leonard Owens on the mic.

Gallery by Andres “Ace” Acosta – Chief Photographer | Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post | Video by UTEP

UTEP’s rally comes up short at WKU 78-65

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Ariona Gill (19 points) and Michelle Pruitt (career-high 17 points) both had big scoring nights, but UTEP’s valiant comeback bid fell short in a 78-65 setback at WKU Thursday night.

“We dug ourselves way too big of a hole early,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “This team being this team, they fight back to get within five points in the fourth quarter. We expend too much energy, and we can’t get all the way back. The lights are pretty bright for our young kids early, but when they get in the flow of it they’re fine.”

The Miners (13-10, 6-6 C-USA) trailed by 27 (44-17) with 3:29 to play in the first half, but they made the Lady Toppers (17-7, 9-3 C-USA) sweat by fighting back to get within five (66-61) with 2:45 remaining in regulation. Included in that was an 11-0 run to close the first half, setting the stage for the second half.

The Orange and Blue couldn’t complete the rally, with WKU doing just enough to hold on for the win.

Pruitt was a perfect 8-8 from the floor to post the seventh contest in program history with 100.0 percent shooting percentage (min. seven attempts).Gallegos added nine points, seven boards and four assists, while Zec had seven points and seven rebounds. Sabine Lipe pitched in seven points and four assists.

UTEP shook off a sluggish start to connect on 50.0 percent (28-56) from the floor, but it was hindered by committing 19 turnovers that led to 23 points for the home side.

WKU opened up the game by making 57.9 percent (11-19) to lead by 15 (26-11) through 10 minutes of action. UTEP held the Lady Toppers to below 40 percent in each of the final three frames, but WKU still finished at  42.9 percent (30-70) from the floor. It also did a good job against UTEP’s vaunted press, with the Orange and Blue forcing 12 giveaways.

UTEP was aggressive in getting to the hole, piling up 52 points in the paint compared to 36 by WKU. But ultimately the slow start to the game proved too much to overcome for Baker’s charges.

“These kids play their hearts out and they come up short because they dig themselves too much of a hole early,” Baker said. “It’s happening time and time again, and we’ve got to do something (different).”

There was lots of scoring early on, with the Miners trailing by two (9-7) three minutes into the contest. WKU ripped off 12 straight as part of a game-altering 35-10 run to put UTEP down by 27 (44-17) with 3:29 remaining in the first half.

The Miners battled back by closing the half on an 11-0 surge to cut the deficit to 16 (44-28) heading to the locker room.

UTEP kept chipping away at the margin after the break, working within 11 (58-47) after 30 minutes of action. The Lady Toppers knocked down a triple early in the fourth quarter to go up by 14 (61-47), but UTEP responded by peeling off seven straight points to climb within seven (61-54).

After WKU pushed it back out to 10 points, the Orange and Blue scored five in a row to clip the margin to five. It remained a five-point differential (66-61) with 2:45 left, but UTEP was unable to get any closer.

The Miners will continue a stretch of three straight on the road by playing at Marshall at 11 a.m. MT/1 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be streamed on CUSA.tv. It will also be broadcast locally in El Paso on 600 ESPN El Paso with Brandon Cohn on the call.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP announces football series with Nebraska

UTEP Athletic officials announced that for the first time in school history, the Miner football team will match up with perennial national power Nebraska.

“It’s something that we’re leaning towards moving forward, getting some really powerful programs on our schedule,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said.  “Obviously, the tradition and history of Nebraska speaks for itself.  It’s something that we’re going to be able to sell to recruits, playing Nebraska and playing in their venue.  I have a lot of experience as a coach in Memorial Stadium, and it’s one of the toughest and most loud environments that I’ve ever been in.  It’s going to be really exciting for our players to have that big-time college experience that you get from lining up against the Big Red.”

The Miners and the Cornhuskers will square off at 86,047-seat Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, during the 2024 and 2028 seasons.

The first matchup is scheduled for August 31, 2024, with the second slated for September 2, 2028.

A five-time national champion (1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, 1997), Nebraska has also captured 46 conference titles and played in 53 bowl games.  The Cornhuskers have posted 11 undefeated seasons and nine perfect seasons with an all-time record of 902-395-40, a .690 win percentage.

UTEP is 0-2 all-time versus Big Ten opponents.  The Miners fell at no. 15 Iowa, 69-7, on September 27, 1986.  UTEP dropped a close decision at Wisconsin, 37-26, on September 22, 2012.

The Miners will kick off the 2020 season by hosting the Red Raiders of Texas Tech on Saturday, September  5 at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.

For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Tennis hits the road for three matches

The UTEP tennis team will play three matches in as many days on the road, including back-to-back contests against Conference USA foes.

The Miners will compete at Texas Wesleyan University (0-1) at 9 a.m. MT Friday, face LA Tech (6-4) in a neutral-site match (Denton, Texas) at 12 p.m. MT Saturday and lock up at North Texas (5-2) at 11 a.m. MT Sunday.

“After a quick turnaround we are back on the road to Denton,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “We are excited to play a couple of C-USA matches this weekend. We have had a couple of different players play well the last few matches. Now we just need to get everyone playing well at the same time. If we can do that, we will be successful.”

Junior Erandi Martinez enters the weekend with momentum, having staked two victories in as many days against Idaho State (2/8) and Utah State (2/9). She has a team-best tying three dual wins in the spring, sharing the top spot with fellow classmate Lina Sáchica.

Sáchica (nine) and Martinez (six) rank one-two on the squad for total wins.

Freshman Eve Daniels and Sáchica have formed a solid bond in doubles play, forging a record of 3-1 in the spring (2-0 No. 2, 1-1 No. 3). The tandem has claimed consecutive matches in the spring and overall on the year has joined forces for a team-best five wins in doubles action.

Kathleen Percegona has gotten after in the spring as well with two wins in dual play, buoying the efforts of Martinez and Sáchicha.

For complete coverage of UTEP tennis, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWTennis (Twitter)@UTEP_Tennis (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Flyin’ Miners to compete at Don Kirby Elite Invitational; Send Runners to Iowa State Classic

The UTEP track and field team will head to Albuquerque, for a third consecutive meet as the Miners will compete at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational hosted by New Mexico at the Albuquerque Convention Center on February 13-14.

Three other Miners will travel to Ames to run at the Iowa State Classic on February 14-15.

The Miners will take the track and field with schools such as Oregon, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, California, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, SMU, Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Multiple Mountain West programs will make trip as Air Force, Colorado State, Utah State, San Jose State, UNLV, San Diego State and Fresno State will be at the two-day meet.

Stanford, Oregon, Colorado and Washington are ranked eighth through 11th in the latest USTCCCA national women’s rankings, while UNM is ranked 12th. Oregon is ranked 11th and Colorado 17th.

The meet will begin at 1 p.m. MT with the women’s long jump, women’s weight throw and men’s pole vault. The track events begin at 2:30 p.m. with the men’s 400m. Friday’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the women’s shot put and track events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the qualifying round of the women’s 60m hurdles.

Both days of the meet will be streamed on FloTrack HERE. Live results will also be available HERE.

Heading to Ames, Iowa, are a trio of distance runners. Titus Cheruiyot and Rodgers Korir will compete in the 5K, while Carolyne Chepkosgei will run the 800m.

Live results for the Iowa State Classic will be available HERE, while it will be streamed on FloTrack HERE.

At last week’s New Mexico Collegiate Classic saw multiple Miners set personal bests, highlighted by Shakeem Smith’s school-record setting 7.89 in the 60m hurdles. The other Miners to set PB’s were: Kenneth Talavera (800m – 1:54.31), Sam Zambrano (mile – 4:40.21), Titus Cheruiyot (3K – 8:21.93), Kayn Quinones (3K – 9:17.23), Devin Mungro (triple jump – 14.12m), Austin Ondijo (high jump – 1.99m), Benjamin Coronado (shot put – 17.47m), Karol Koncos (weight throw – 20.03), Arturo Ciriza (pole vault – 4.51m), Keith Rodriguez (pole vault – 4.51m), James Flournoy (60m – 7.01), Davion Bynaum (200m – 21.59), Jevaughn Powell (400m – 47.50), Joan Kimaiyo (3K – 11:05.33), Sah-Jay Stevens (weight throw – 15.43m), Samantha Cordier (weight throw – 15.43m), Maribel Caicedo (60m – 7.67, 60m hurdles – 8.37), Jasmine George (400m – 57.47), Johna Diggs (200m – 26.43) and Natalia Roberts (200m – 26.62).

TFRRS Updated Results  UTEP MEN   |    UTEP WOMEN

‘Texas Western’ Night at the Don features Miners battling Western Kentucky

UTEP will look to halt a three-game losing skid as it will play host to WKU on Thursday night in the Haskins Center. ‘Texas Western Night’ will tipoff at 7 p.m.

The Miners (13-12, 4-8 Conference USA) will seek out their first league win since defeating Middle Tennessee on January 30 in El Paso, while the Hilltoppers (16-8, 9-3 C-USA) have won their last two games.

WKU defeated LA Tech, 65-54, on February 6, and Southern Miss, 75-72, on February 8 in Bowling Green, Ky. Overall, WKU is 7-2 in its last nine contests. Its previous losses came on the road at Florida Atlantic (69-65) and at FIU (81-76).

UTEP came up short at Charlotte, 68-64, after leading by 10 points in the second half, and followed with its lowest point total of the season (53) in a 19-point loss at ODU.

Daryl Edwards has been a bright spot for the Miners, averaging 20.0 points per games the last two contests. Edwards has also added a 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) effort from three-point range, while totaling six assists.

Souley Boum is hitting 90.0 percent of his free throws, ranking first in C-USA and seventh nationally. The Miners overall are ranked second in C-USA with a 76.1 free-throw percentage. WKU leads the league at 78.7 percent.

WKU lost Charles Bassey (15.3 ppg, 9.2 rpg) 10 games into the season due to injury, as junior Taveion Hollingsworth has been the team’s leading scorer at 14.8 points game. The 6-2 guard also leads the Hilltoppers in assists (67). Hollingsworth is averaging 17.7 points his last 10 games, while he put up 30 points in a win against Charlotte on Jan. 18.

The Hilltoppers lead C-USA and rank eighth nationally in fewest fouls (322). WKU’s scoring offense (76.0) ranks third in the league.

UTEP will host Marshall at Saturday, Feb. 15 as tipoff is set for 2 p.m. C-USA will announce the ‘Bonus Play’ contests on Sunday.

The Miners and Hilltoppers can be heard on UTEP’s flagship station 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and former UTEP basketball player Steven Yellen calling the action. The contest will also be streamed on Stadium on Facebook Live.

Single-game tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234 or by going online.

UTEP To open three-game roadswing at WKU Thursday

The UTEP women’s basketball team (13-9, 6-5 C-USA) will play the first of three straight road games when it locks up with streaking WKU (16-6, 8-3 C-USA) at 5 p.m. MT/6 p.m. CT Thursday.

The Lady Toppers have won six straight and eight of nine, including an 81-65 victory at Southern Miss on February 8. The Miners were clipped by second-place Old Dominion, 77-69, on February 8, and have dropped three of the past four. WKU is undefeated at home (8-0, 4-0 C-USA), while UTEP is 2-4 on the road (1-3 C-USA).

The contest kicks off a season-closing stretch with five of seven contests on the road for the Miners.

“Western Kentucky is one of the hottest teams in our conference. They have won a bunch of games in a row. The bigger challenge for us will be playing at a high level on the road,” head coach Kevin Baker shared. “We did not play as well as we can on our last road trip, and we would really like to change that. We are capable of beating any team in C-USA no matter where we play. But we will need to prove that.”

WKU is alone in third place in C-USA at 8-3 in league action while UTEP owns a share of sixth place with Charlotte at 6-5. The Miners do have the tiebreaker against the 49ers.

Both UTEP (19.8) and WKU (19.0) rank 1-2 in the league for turnovers forced per game and also go 2-3 in C-USA for points per game. UTEP is making its first trip to Bowling Green in four years, and just the second since the Lady Toppers joined the league.

WKU is unbeaten at home (8-0), while UTEP is 2-4 on the road.

UTEP’s Katia Gallegos (4.7 apg, 104 total assists) and WKU’s Whitney Creech (4.7 apg, 103 total assists) are practically tied for first place in the league for assists; while WKU has three of the top-10 scorers in the league.  For the Miners, Katarina Zec is five field goals short of taking over 10th on the UTEP career list.

The contest will be streamed by CUSA.tv (subscription based). It will also be streamed through the 600 ESPN El Paso website with Brandon Cohn on the call.

C-USA Announces UTEP’s Chantoba Bright Female Field Athlete of the Week

DALLAS – Chantoba Bright’s sophomore campaign is off to a shining start as she was named the Conference USA Female Field Athlete of the Week presented by Top of the World the league announced on Tuesday.

Bright won her first ever triple jump event, leaping out to a 12.98m mark at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic on February 8. Her distance was ranked 20th nationally, while it ranked second in the conference.

The weekly indoor honor is Bright’s second of the season and third overall during her career.

She was named the indoor athlete of the week on January 28 following her first-place finish in the long jump (6.01m) at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational.

Bright’s career results via TFRRS.

The Miners will return to the track and field on February 13-14 at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational hosted by New Mexico.

The C-USA Championships will follow on February 22-23 in Birmingham.

UTEP Volleyball Signs Hula Crisostomo

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP volleyball continue gearing up for the upcoming season, announcing the signing of Ha’ahulakaleikaimanapo’aikalakahikikapuiholaneikeku’ina “Hula” Crisostomo, a defensive specialist/libero from Honolulu, Hawaii.

“We are so jacked up that Hula is going to join our program in the Fall of 2020,” Coach Wallis said. “Not only was she a first team All-American as a volleyball player, but she’s a stud as a leader. She is the type of person and soldier that we need here in El Paso to continue to help push our program in the right direction.”

Crisostomo will be joining the Miners following her two-year stint at New Mexico Military Institute. For the 2019-20 season at NMMI, she was ranked first in the NJCAA for digs with a total of 921 as well as third for her average of digs per set, 6.22. In conference play she accumulated 286 digs and 6.65 D/S.

“One of the main reasons we recruited her is because of her ability to dig balls at an extremely high level,” Wallis stated. “She led junior college in digs per set, and will immediately impact our team defensively with her ability to pursue volleyballs and keep them off the floor. She can make everyone around her better, and make them play harder. We get to now see a lineup where we could potentially run her out there with Alex Torres, who as a sophomore, was one of the best receiving liberos in the conference. Now we have a formidable duo that will make life hard for our opponents in 2020.”

In 2019, Crisostomo was named NJCAA Player of the Week (Sept. 2-8) for Region V.  Throughout her two-year experience at NMMI, Hula managed to increase her total digs by 267 from her freshman to sophomore year.

Previous to NMMI, Crisostomo was a part of Ka Ulukoa Volleyball Institute and Moanalua High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“Her coach at NMMI couldn’t speak more highly of Hula,” Wallis explained. “She consistently talked about her being one of the best leaders she has ever coached, and we need that in our program. We were lucky enough to pull Hula away fro some other pretty good division I programs, and I know El Paso volleyball fans are going to love watching her play.”

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Contact! UTEP successfully communicates with satellite to cap monumental project

Officials with the NASA MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research (cSETR) at The University of Texas at El Paso announced Monday that they had successfully communicated with its Orbital Factory-2 (OF-2) satellite project.

cSETR officials shared that the event was “a significant feat that highlights UTEP’s position as a national leader in technological research and its implementation.”

The Orbital Factory-2, which was designed and developed in collaboration with Lockheed Martin Space and NASA to demonstrate on-orbit repair of solar cells using 3D printing technology, pinged a reply to a cSETR research team at 8:51 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, while in orbit 295 miles above the Earth.

The achievement is a momentous example of the promise UTEP holds for innovation, 21st century workforce development and student research opportunities.

Joel Quintana, Ph.D., research assistant professor of mechanical engineering and a UTEP alumnus, said 25 students from various engineering disciplines worked on the OF-2 project throughout the course of two years. He was with a group of those students at a cSETR research space provided by the City of El Paso near the UTEP campus as they waited on notification from OF-2.

“Seeing their excitement when the first ping came in when they were able to communicate with the satellite as it orbited over El Paso was priceless,” Quintana said. “They leave this program knowing how to design, build and test spacecraft, making them really high in demand and industry experts.”

Photo courtesy UTEP

With this milestone reached, cSETR will now set off on a set of new initiatives including the development of spacecraft capabilities for on-orbit manufacturing, and planetary and lunar exploration. The center will conduct this work concurrently with its primary mission of training El Paso talent and cultivating a space technology workforce.

The success of OF-2 has been an incredible development, said Ahsan Choudhuri, Ph.D., associate vice president for strategic initiatives and cSETR’s founder and director. He added that support from space exploration luminaries played a vital role in the accomplishment.

“This is a very complex project,” Choudhuri said. “It’s important that we have industry partners such as NASA and Lockheed Martin Space who build satellites and are willing to work with our students and mentor them on how to navigate some of the highly technical challenges.”

Amelia Greig, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, joined the cSETR research program in fall 2019. She provides expertise in micro-propulsion and micro-satellites, and a teaching background in spacecraft propulsion and the space environment. Greig previously served as assistant professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo.

“It takes complex, real-world engineering to put something into orbit. Being able to communicate with the satellite was a major breakthrough,” Greig said. “Students working in the program come from different disciplines and leave with great opportunities. Students who can design, build and test spacecraft become in high demand.”

Eduardo Macias Zugasti, a graduate research assistant who expects to receive a master’s degree in computer engineering in spring 2020,

Photo courtesy UTEP

said cSETR has provided a great experience learning about satellites, onboard computers, electric power systems, real-time operating systems and payload design.

“I learned how to work in a team,” Macias Zugasti said. “It is not only about your job to be done, but the entire team’s, because all of the members are looking for the same objective. I have participated in several presentations that have helped me to be more confident when I am speaking. Moreover, I have had the opportunity to present my work to people from different companies such as United Launch Alliance and Lockheed Martin.”

James Holt, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UTEP, was the first student to work on OF-2 as a co-author on the proposal. He was closely involved with its initial design, concept of operations and hardware selection during his time at cSETR from 2016 to 2019.

His research focused mostly on trajectory design and mission analysis. Holt said he was elated to see OF-2 in orbit and sending beacon signals to earth. He joined the Marshall Center in 2018, where he works with the mission analysis and design team on trajectory design and mission analysis. Holt said the skills and experience he developed at cSETR directly helped his career.

“My favorite memory of cSETR was when I first began work on Orbital Factory-2,” Holt said. “We submitted a proposal to United Launch Alliance (ULA) for a launch slot aboard an Atlas V rocket. One day, I received a phone call from ULA informing me that the CEO, Tory Bruno, wanted to schedule a time to speak with me. Mr. Bruno personally informed us that not only had we been awarded a launch opportunity, but that we had won first place. We worked hard in the following months to kick off the project and finalize our preliminary design. Later, we also had the opportunity to travel to Austin, where the Texas Legislature recognized our accomplishment. ULA, Lockheed Martin and NASA have continued to provide excellent mentoring and feedback for the students working on Orbital Factory-2, which helped overcome some of the design obstacles that we encountered.”

Choudhuri said NASA’s contributions have been invaluable and have helped cSETR place 400 engineering graduates and students into the workforce.

“We hope to continue this strong collaboration with NASA as their investment helps support these programs and infrastructure,” Choudhuri said.

To learn more about cSETR, go to utep.edu/csetr.

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