Photo Courtesy UTEP Athletics
UTEP’s Michael Saruni marked his spot in track and field history when he clocked the NCAA record time of 1:43.25 at the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson on Saturday night.
“Michael Saruni made the most of the opportunity to run a great 800m time tonight,” said head coach Mika Laaksonen. “His time was one of two collegiate records set tonight and that just proves what a special athlete he is.”
Saruni’s time breaks the NCAA record previously held by Donavan Brazier (Texas A&M) who ran 1:43.55 at the 2016 NCAA Championships. His time ranks as the fastest in the world this year and breaks the school record held by former teammate Emmanuel Korir (1:43.73).
The Miners had strong performances across the board racking up 14 personal-bests on the day with highlights coming from Saruni, Asa Guevara and Shakeem Smith.
“The weather was perfect to run a track meet tonight in Tucson,” said Laaksonen. “Our athletes really focused on their race and performed very well. Asa Guevara had a huge showing in the 200m, which should boost his confidence heading into the Conference USA Championships in two weeks.”
Guevara, known for running the 400m, showed his power in sprinting by registering a career-best 20.51 taking home a gold medal finish. His time ranks 15th in the country and puts him eighth in school history. The senior was part of both the 4x400m and 4x100m relay teams that finished second and fifth, respectively.
Smith stamped his mark in program history by sprinting to a career-best 13.97 in the 110m hurdles, which ranks fourth all-time. His time ranks 14th in the west region and will qualify him the NCAA West Preliminary round.
Jonah Koech registered a season best time of 1:47.12 in the 800m to finish third overall. Koech’s time ranks No. 6 in the nation.
Junior Kyle Farrell notched two personal bests in the 100m and 200m. Farrell clocked 10.87 in the 100m to finish eighth overall and 21.87 garnering a 14th place finish.
On the women’s side, freshman Annette Bolomboy notched personal bests in the 200m and 400m. Bolomboy sprinted to a time of 24.81 in the 200m. She followed that performance with a 400m time of 54.96 to finish ninth overall.
Linda Cheruiyot, Lilian Koech, Destiny White and Andrea Lucero all competed in the 800m. Lilian Koech led the miners with a first-place finish, stopping the clock at 2:07.06. Cheruiyot finished close behind with a time of 2:11.05. Andrea Lucero (2:22.03) and Destiny White (2:30.02) came in at 11th and 13th overall, respectively.
In the 400m hurdles, Dreshanae Rolle raced her way to a career-best 59.57 to finish third overall. Her time ranks second in C-USA.
Sophomore Madison Gibson notched a 10th-place finish in the 400m notching a personal-best 55.08. Gibson was also part of the 4x400m team that finished in third-place with a time of 3:40.81.
The Miners will enjoy a week off before traveling to Houston, Texas, for the Conference USA Outdoor Championships hosted by RICE on May 10-11.
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