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Track and field finishes day three of C-USA championships

Gaby Velasquez

After three days of the Conference USA Outdoor championship action at Kidd Field, the UTEP women’s team sits in second place overall with 44 points, only trailing Middle Tennessee State who leads the competition with 47 points.

The UTEP women’s team is still in reach of their first ever outdoor championship in school history.

On the men’s side of the spectrum, after eight events scored, UTSA is the leader with 60 points, Rice comes in at second with 55 points, and UTEP holds the third spot with 36 points.

The UTEP men’s team is seeking to retrieve their first conference title since the 2013 season.

Day three saw a lot of changes in the standings with seven events taking place on Saturday. After day two, MTSU’s women’s squad only had 16 points and was in third place behind the Miners (28 points at the time) and Rice (16 points), but a big day on the track helped steal the lead for the Blue Raiders.

Also, day three saw a huge jump from the Roadrunners. During day two of the events, UTSA could only put together 13 points total as a team and was tied for fourth place with Charlotte. The Roadrunners were down by 22 points to the then-leading Rice squad who recorded 35 points. UTSA gained 47 points during day three to take first.

In two events scheduled for the women’s teams on day three, the Miners picked up 16 points total. It began with a strong discus outing for two UTEP student-athletes. UTEP’s senior Samantha Hall had all eyes on her since she was the reigning champion of the women’s discus throw from last season at the Conference outdoor championships.

Hall came through again, as she took the crown for the second year in a row with her highest toss of 54.50 meters. The next closest throw to Hall’s toss was by Florida International’s senior Gabrielle Rains, who threw for 50.95 meters. Third place was rewarded to Southern Mississippi’s Brashe Wood as she tossed her discus 50.79 meters.

“There wasn’t really much pressure on me. I just wanted to beat my personal best. I predicted what would win, but I still wanted my beat my personal best today. I’m a little disappointed in myself, but still happy, too,” Hall said.

The other senior competing in the same event for the Miners was Fayon Gonzales, who came in at the seventh spot with her throw of 46.44 meters. In total, Hall and Gonzales added 12 points for the orange and blue and gave the Miners the lead at the point (40 points).

UTEP’s Female Athlete of the Year Tobi Amusan (13.07 time) hurdled her way to victory in the 100-meter hurdle finals on Saturday. She helped UTEP stay in contention for a conference title as she earned four points for UTEP.

Amusan will be joined by three other Miners who were good enough to qualify for Sunday’s set of events.

In the same event as Amusan, UTEP’s sophomore Rebecca Oshinbanjo finished five spots behind Amusan, as she placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles. Oshinbanjo’s time of 13.75 seconds qualified her for Sunday.

Lilian Koech, redshirt sophomore for UTEP, and Koech’s freshman running mate Linda Cheruiyot finished first in the 1,500-meter race, which granted the duo a qualifying time.

Koech also finished first in the 800-meter prelims with her time of 2:12.70, and will race in the finals on the last day of the outdoor championships.

Lastly for the women’s side, winning the 400-meter hurdle prelim was UTEP’s senior Yanique Bennett (59.21 seconds).

From the men’s performances, the standout freshman Emmanuel Korir ran his way to the 400-meter men’s final, after his event-leading time of 46.67 seconds.

UTEP’s other standout freshman Michael Saruni and UTEP’s sophomore Jonah Koech left their mark on Saturday’s action, as they both qualified for two events.

Koech (1:51.65) finished ahead of the Saruni (1:53.87) in the 800-meter race, but both times did the job for qualifying spots.

The other event the two competed was the 1,500-meter final. Koech (3:55.67) again edged Saruni (3:55.71), but, again, Koech and Saruni both qualified in the event. Their running mate Cosmas Boit competed in the same event, finishing behind both with his time of 3:57.93—also a qualifier.

UTEP’s graduate student, James Bias was another Miner that qualified for two events—he did so in the 200-meter race (21.26) and the 400-meter final (47.63). And also in the 400-meter final, Florence Uwakwe (54.07) and Ada Benjamin (54.17) qualified along with Bias.

The final day of the four-day Outdoor Championships will take place on Mother’s Day. The doors open at 1 p.m.

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Track and field finishes day three of C-USA championships