May 1, 2010
Albuquerque, NM – The UTEP track and field teams completed their final season tune up with a successful day at the Don Kirby Invitational on the campus of the University of New Mexico.
“Overall, we had a very interesting meet and many great performances,” assistant head coach Mika Laaksonen said. “People we expect to perform well at conference had a very good day all around. Aside from that, we walk away from this meet with no injuries so this sets us up well for conference.”
UTEP opened the day’s competition with a sweep in the hammer throw. The Miners took the top two spots in the men’s competition for the second consecutive year. All-American Dimitrios Fylladitakis defended his title on his fourth throw of the day with a mark of 66.23m (217-03). Justin Kepple was second with a toss of 50.71m (166-04).
Terran Alexander led throughout the entire women’s hammer competition posting a personal best of 58.15m (190-09) to take the event by more than 30 feet, NM State’s Randi Grimes’ second-place mark was 48.70m (159-09).
The Miners’ first gold on the track came courtesy of junior Robert Menjo in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Menjo clocked in at 9:47.35; freshman Felix Maritim finished fourth with a time of 9:50.89.
The distance runners kept things going in the men’s 1,500-meter run. The pair of Justice Chirchir and Aggrey Chirchir led through most of the race relinquishing the lead to Central Arizona’s Henry Lelei in the final lap. The Miner twosome kicked in the last 100 meters to close in, Aggrey Chirchir outlasted Lelei for the title crossing the finish line at 3:52.79, Justice Chirchir was third, 3:53.13.
In the women’s 1,500 meters, Gladys Chumba took silver with a time of 4:41.48.
Anderson Mutegi lighted up the track with a new stadium record in the 400 meters. Mutegi broke Alonzo Babers' (Air Force) 22-year old record of 45.37 with a season and personal best of 45.32. The time is the third best ran in the nation this season, after the altitude adjustment it should remain a top-five performance, and ranks fourth all-time in the UTEP record book. Curtis Kock gave the Miners the one-two finish dashing out to a time of 46.50 to complete UTEP’s second sweep of the day.
Endurance Abinuwa and Siobhian Crain also teamed up for the top two finishes in the women’s 400-meter run. Abinuwa crossed the finish line first at 54.14 with Crain following at 55.22 in the first of three sections in the finals.
“Both men and women quarter milers had a really good day and really stepped up in today’s meet,” Laaksonen added.
Mutegi won his second race of the day in the men’s 200-meter dash. The junior clocked in at 20.91 for the gold, Ronalds Arajs took silver with a time of 21.08.
Back on the field, sophomore Tako Niare was the top finisher in the women’s high jump with a height of 1.69m (5-6.50). Amanda Apodaca was fourth with a jump of 1.65m (5-5).
The Miners will take next week off to prepare for the 2010 Conference USA Outdoor Championships scheduled for May 13-16 in Orlando, Fla.