Wilson and Koech
Nickevea Wilson recorded the sixth-longest triple jump in the country and Jonah Koech notched the eighth-fastest mile time in the nation on day two of the Don Kirby Invitational. Both Wilson and Koech’s mark rank No. 1 in Conference USA.
“Looking at this meet before it started, the two main things we wanted to get done individually were to get Jonah and Nickevea qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships,” head coach Mika Laaksonen said. “Both of their marks were superb and it could not have gone any better.”
Wilson, who had the 15th-longest triple jump in the nation coming into today, registered an outstanding personal best bound of 13.22m (43-4.50) to place tied for second. The mark is the fifth-longest in program history.
Koech, who was outside the top-16 marks in the mile that qualify for the NCAA Championships, eclipsed his personal best by a second and a half to win the mile with a time of 4:03.14. The 4:03.14 was translated to a time of 3:58.15 due to the altitude.
Freshman Tobi Amusan continued her excellent campaign with personal best times of 8.36 (semifinals) and 8.35 (finals) on her way to a sixth-place finish in the 60m hurdles. Amusan’s final time of 8.35 is the fourth-fastest in UTEP program history and ranks second in C-USA.
“Tobi was a mid-year enrollee for us and she had some very good marks when she arrived,” Laaksonen noted. “Tobi is a very good athlete and we had high expectations for her, and so far, she has matched them and continues to get better.”
Samantha Hall launched the second-longest shot put throw in C-USA with a personal best mark of 14.21m (46-7.50) to place 11th. The heave of 14.21m is the ninth best in program history.
“Samantha had a rough start to the season, but she is starting to find her groove and is getting better every week,” Laaksonen said.
The Miners had seven athletes (four female, three male) run in the 400m dash. Ada Benjamin clocked a season best of 54.03 to finish 11th in a field of 82 runners; Benjamin’s mark is No. 1 in C-USA. Dreshanae Rolle (56.90) and Alexis Roberts (59.55) also tallied personal bests in the dash.
For the men, Carnell Horn clocked a season-best time of 48.01. Tommy McCoy (51.14) and Yinka Oyebanjo-Odofin (51.25) notched personal bests in the 400m dash.
Evans Kiprono notched the best mile time of his career with a time of 4:22.43 and Brittney Adams collected a personal best of 2:20.97 in the 800m run.
The women’s foursome of Rolle, Florence Uwakwe, Yanique Bennett and Benjamin registered a season best and C-USA leading 4x400m relay time of 3:40.73 to finish fifth.
The next meet will be the C-USA Championships in Birmingham, Ala. from Feb. 24-25. “I still believe that we have four or five more individuals that can step it up a notch,” Laaksonen mentioned. “For us to have a chance at conference those athletes with have to perform well.”