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Amusan steals silver at NCAA Championships

Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
Freshman hurdler Tobi Amusan was the runner-up at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, OR.

Freshman hurdler Tobi Amusan raced her best on the grandest stage: the NCAA Championships this past weekend.

It began on Thursday, June 9, when Amusan saved her season by capturing the final qualifying spot during the preliminary round of the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.98. She crossed the finish line in fourth place and almost miraculously made the finals round.

Going into Saturday’s race, on paper Amusan did not seem to threaten the other opponents. However, she proved the odds wrong and ran the best race of her life.

She clocked in a time of 12.79 in the 100-m hurdles to capture second place in the championship round. She broke her own record, set earlier this year, and the program’s record with her noteworthy time.

Amusan currently ranks inside the top 20 in the world for 2016 in hurdles. Her time at the championships was also fast enough to tie for the fastest 100 hurdle time ever ran by a woman under 20 years old. Amusan is UTEP’s first 100-m hurdler since Janice Jackson in 2014 to be named a First Team All-American.

“For her to peak at the National Championships with this spectacular time is very impressive,” head coach Mika Laaksonen said. “I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes the next couple of years.”

Mokrasova captures 13th

With a total of 5,569 points, sophomore Lucia Morkrasova placed 13th in the NCAA Championships.

The soon-to-be Second Team All-American electrified in her first day of the championships, tallying 3,480 points through her first four events, good enough for ninth place. Most notably, she threw a personal best 14.15-meters in the shot put, the second farthest of all the competitors.

On her final day, Saturday, June 11, Mokrasova leaped 5.69 meters in the long jump to rack up 756 points. Her javelin throw and 800-meter run scored her 630 and 703 points, respectively.

“Lucia has a lot of upside and I don’t believe this is close to the best she can do,” Laaksonen said. “She didn’t get off to a tremendous start yesterday, but turned it around in the shot put and 200-meter dash.”

Laaksonen was also very optimistic about Morkrasova’s future with the Miners.

“I’m a little disappointed for her because she wanted to do better, but she will in the future,” Laaksonen said. “She is a great athlete and a great student, so she has better things ahead of her.”

Koech and Uwakwe fall in preliminary round

Freshman Jonah Koech ran the last race of his first year as a Miner on Wednesday, June 8. He clocked in at his best time of 1:46:53 in the 800-m run, but it was one spot away from qualifying for the finals.

Koech, who has been a storied newcomer for the Miners in cross country, indoor track and now outdoor track, reached new heights for the Miners. His time at the NCAA Championship was not only fast enough for his personal best, but also ranks third fastest in program history.

Despite not qualifying for the finals, Koech’s season was filled with plenty of victories. He was named Freshman of the Meet at the Conference USA Championships and won five events during the outdoor season.

“He ran a personal record at the national championships and you can’t ask for any more than that,” Laaksonen said. “He was an All-American in cross country and indoors, and he competed at the championships in outdoors. I don’t know what more you can ask of from a freshman.”

Junior Florence Uwakwe finished the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.28 to place 24th overall. Her time was not fast enough to advance either.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Amusan steals silver at NCAA Championships