Outdoor season opens with Springtime Meet

Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter

Coming off a successful indoor season for both the men’s and women’s track and field team, the Miners hosted their first outdoor meet — the UTEP Springtime Meet at Kidd Field.

The UTEP Springtime Meet is considered more of a warm-up event to the Texas Relays and the UTEP Invitational that will follow. Both the men’s and women’s did not have their full squad in competition on March 22, but the Miners that did compete showed promise.

On the women’s side, freshman Florence Uwakwe and Aiyanna Stiverne finished first and third respectively in the women’s 400-meter dash. Stiverne finished with a personal best of 55.59 seconds and Uwakwe set the fastest time in the nation for 2014 with a staggering 52.79 seconds.

“I thought Florence was pretty solid in the 400,” said head coach Mika Laaksonen. “But to be honest I expected a little bit more out of the team as a whole, but the wind was a factor. I still thought we would get more reasonable results all around.”

Despite Laaksonen’s surprise, he was not worried with the Miners picking it up in the weeks to come.

“I am happy we got the season started,” Laaksonen said. “We didn’t have any major injuries. Everyone was healthy so that is a good thing. I know this meet doesn’t necessarily mean anything so the team will get it together and pick it up for the weeks to come.”

One Miner who was not happy with his performance was senior Abiola Onakoya. The Nigeria native finished second in the men’s 400-meter dash, Onakoya led most of the race but was tracked down by Western Texan College sprinter Rashard Clark.

“I could have had a better performance,” Onakoya said. “Sometimes you feel like you can do better but today was not my day. I’ve had back issues that I have been battling for the past three weeks so that did not help, but I am working really hard to get it right.”

Despite Onakoya’s disappointment there were still good results to go around. The Miners swept first through third in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and took second in the women’s 4×400-meter relay. Junior Monica Lopez took first in the women’s triple jump.

Freshman Evans Kiprono dominated the men’s 5000-meter run finishing 25 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Sophomore Sven Zellner won the men’s 110-meter hurdles. The men’s relay teams took third in the 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay.

In addition to the success on the men’s side, former Miners All-American and two-time Olympian Mikael Hanany set the French national record in the men’s high jump with a jump of 2.36 meters (7.74 feet).

The Miner of the day was freshman sensation Cosmas Boit. Boit took home first in the men’s 800-meter run and dominated the men’s 1500-meter run. Boit finished with a time of 3 minutes, 51.18 seconds on March 22, giving him the 10th fastest time in the nation for the 1500-meter run.

“I felt pretty good,” Boit said. “Overall, I think I did my best. The pace was kind of slow (referring to the 1500-meter race) but I had to move forward and improve my time. It was the fastest time in the 1500, so I feel pretty good about it.”

The Miners will now go on the road to Austin, Texas for the Texas Relays, which is a three day event with some of the best schools in the nation. Shortly after that, the Miners will be at the Stanford Invitational and the Texas Tech Open in early April before returning home for the UTEP Invitational.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected].