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UTEP track breaks records at Albuquerque Invitational

Joel Molina
Xavier Butler races against the competition at a track meet on Jan 26.

The UTEP indoor track team was ready to set the standard at the New Mexico Team Open at the Albuquerque Convention Center Jan. 26, and 27. From El Paso to four hours to Albuquerque, the only time that mattered was the record times they broke on the track.   

With broken records and personal bests, freshman Xavier Butler set the tone on day one in the 200 meter and 60-meter dash with personal records. Butler now ranks fifth in Conference USA with his time (20.95). Also tied the fifth fastest all time 200m indoor time with Daniel Ward (2005) in the all-time top 10 list in program history. Seeming five was Butlers lucky number, in the 60-meter dash, butler clocked in a new personal best with a 6.75 in the prelims as he became ranked 5th in C-USA for the indoor 60-meter dash.  

Other notables were Oriade Rashid who clocked a new personal best in the men’s 200-meter dash marking 21.27, which now ranks him second in C-USA behind fellow teammate Xavier Butler. 400-meter runner Julio Pacheco Estrada also managed to run a personal best while finishing second overall in the 400-meter race.  

Jaku Belik won his second straight high jump event of the season. Falling short of his C-USA number one leading mark of 2.10m, Belik posted 2.09m which has now helped him win three high jump events darting back to last year’s indoor C-USA championships.

Joyce Kemboi recorded a new personal best, which helped her take second place overall in the New Mexico Invitational. Kemboi finished with a 9:29:37 in the women’s 3000-meter on Friday.  

Meanwhile, Boubna Benhadja, clocked in at 54.84 for her first ever indoor 400-meter race, which placed her second overall at the track meet and in C-USA.   

In the 200-meter race, Niesha Burgher came close to breaking her own school record. With her personal best and current school record (23.17) Burgher clocked in with a 23.18 on Friday. Her time currently ranks 1st in C-USA. 

Jordani Woodley has now broken the school record in back-to-back occasions, breaking the record once in his freshman year, sophomore year and now twice in his junior year. Marking a 7.75 at the Stan Scott invitational and now a new best of 7.73, Woodley set the school record and C-USA best time in the men’s 60-meter hurdles.    

“We set two new school records again by the same two individuals as last time. In addition to new records, we had several conference leading marks, personal bests, and we made excellent progress as a team from our first outing two weeks ago,” UTEP Director of Track and Field Mika Laaksonen said. “Next week is another bye week until we finish our regular season at Texas Tech in two weeks against the stiffest competition of the season yet. I expect a strong move forward again as a team.” 

The Miners will conclude their indoor track regular season at Texas Tech’s Jarvis Scott Open Feb. 9, and 10 at the Techs Tech Sports Performance Center. The Miners will then have a bye week before heading out to Lynchburg, Va. For C-USA indoor conference championships on Feb. 23, to the 25.  

 Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer and can be reached at [email protected]  

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About the Contributors
Gianluca Cuevas, Photographer
Gianluca Cuevas is a staff photographer for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. He plans to work in the automotive industry designing cars/mechanic in the F1. He also has his small photography business 365elements which he plans to continue to grow.
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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