Inset: Emmanuel Korir and Tobi Amusan.
UTEP claimed two superlative Conference USA track and field honors as Emmanuel Korir and Tobi Amusan were named C-USA Male and Female Track Athletes of the Year, announced by the league office on Friday afternoon.
“Both athletes are very special and talented. He [Korir] was the best candidate for our league and would most likely do very well other top conferences as well,” head coach Mika Laaksonen stated. “A lot of work goes into these things and Tobi worked incredibly hard over these past two years and she absolutely deserves this award, they both do.”
Korir ran a world best 1:14.97 in the 600m earlier this year at the New Mexico Cherry & Silver meet, which was his first race on an indoor 200m banked track. The freshman followed that up by capturing the NCAA title in the 800m (1:47.48) at the same track in Albuquerque, N.M., with a time of 1:47.48. The freshman is one of three athletes in the world to run an outdoor sub-45 400m and a sub-1:44 in the 800m.
The Kenyan native won the NCAA outdoor title in the 800m (1:45.03) and is the first Miner to win both titles in the same year.
Amusan was the leading scorer for the Miners with 25 points at the C-USA Indoor Championships and notched a meet record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.01. The sophomore helped her team win its third consecutive conference title. Amusan qualified to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles where she notched a sixth-place showing.
The outdoor season started with a bang, as she set a school record (12.63) in the 100m hurdles at the UTEP Springtime meet. She followed that with a first-place finish at the 2017 Clyde Little Field Texas Relays in the 100m hurdles, setting a meet record time of 12.72. The Nigerian native scored 24.5 points at the C-USA Outdoor Championships leading the women’s team to its first ever outdoor conference title.
Both athletes were named semifinalists for college track and field’s high individual honor, The Bowerman Award. The women’s three finalists will be announced on Wednesday, June 21 and the men’s finalists will be announced Thursday, June 22.
For more information on UTEP track and field, follow the Miners on Twitter (@UTEPTrack) and on Instagram (uteptrack).