Aleks Hristov | photo by Sam Craft Photography
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Alek Hristov became the first UTEP male discus thrower in 16 years to punch his ticket to nationals at the newly renovated Hayward Field to headline day three at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field West Preliminaries on Friday afternoon at E.B. Cushing Stadium. However, inclement weather postponed the remainder of the men’s events till Saturday.
Hristov, a 21-year freshman from Karnobat, Bulgaria, unloaded on a personal-best 56.99m (186-11) throw and finished in fifth place. Arizona State’s Turner Washington took first with a facility-record 64.87m (212-10) mark.
Ishmel Williams also competed at regionals as a freshman, setting up a bright future for the Miners. Williams came up short with a 2.06m (6-9) leap. He set his personal best at the Conference USA Championships with a 2.09m (6-10.25) mark.
“Today started really well for us before multiple weather delays and eventual postponement of the competition for the day due to persisting lightning,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said.
“Our freshmen that were up early in the afternoon competed well. Ishmel and Aleks both exceeding our expectations. Ishmel in the men’s high jump made several great attempts of what would have been his new personal-best height of 6-11 but today it was still a bit too much for our freshman with a bright future ahead of him. Our second freshman Aleks struggled a little early before letting it rip with his third and last attempt, and punched his ticket to the NCAA Outdoor Championships against stiff competition. It was a clutch performance under an extreme pressure situation and being able to achieve a new lifetime best in that situation speaks volumes of his future potential. We plan to continue tomorrow where we left off today. It was great to add another name to our travel roster to Eugene!”
Hristov will join Paulo Benavides, who is the first UTEP male pole vaulter to advance to nationals in over 20 years, and Roosa Yloenen, who became the first UTEP female javelin thrower to advance in over a decade.
Correy Harrison was the last male discus thrower to advance when he competed at Cal State Sacramento in 2005.
SATURDAY’S UPDATED SCHEDULE
Shakeem Smith | 110m hurdles – 11:45a.m.
Sean Bailey | 400m dash – 12:20 p.m.
Smith | 400m hurdles – 12:55 p.m.
Jevaughn Powell | 200m dash – 1:10 p.m.
4x400m (Joshua Hill, Powell, Kevin Hewitt, Bailey) – 2:15 p.m.