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Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 20:00
UTEP will send fourteen individuals and two relay squads to Eugene, Ore., next week for the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminary Round hosted by the University of Oregon on May 26-28.
Historic Hayward Field will be one of two sites hosting the first rounds of the NCAA Championships leading up to the final rounds set for June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
A total of 10 men will make the trip to compete in 11 events including the two relays, while five women were accepted into a total of six individual events.
Leading the men’s team is two-time All-American Dimitrios Fylladitakis with the highest regional ranking in the hammer going into the preliminary round. Fylladitakis ranks fifth with a mark of 67.97m achieved on March 28 in the Miners’ season-opening meet. The senior claimed the Conference USA outdoor title, the third of his career, last weekend in Houston.
Highlighting the women’s team are All-Americans Risper Kimaiyo and Endurance Abinuwa. Abinuwa, who most recently garnered All-America status in the 400m at the indoor national meet, will be vying for a spot in the 200- and 400-meter dash races.
Four-time All-American Kimaiyo will look to improve last year’s seventh-place finish in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:06.26. The Iten, Kenya, native set a new school record and personal best this year clocking in a time of 15:48.14 at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
The men’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays made the top-12 lists that qualified for the preliminary round that advances the top 24 times in each region. The 1,600m relay, made up of Suji Adeniyan, Anderson Mutegi, Leon Dillihunt and Curtis Kock, goes into next week’s competition ranked 11th in the west with a time of 3:07.80.
Anthony Wright, making his debut at a national meet, will be anchoring the 4x100m squad with Adeniyan, Mutegi, Dillihunt. The foursome are ranked 12th in the west preliminary pool with a time of 39.76.
Also making their debut at the prenational meet are freshmen Richard Olsson and Dillihunt. Olsson holds the 13th best mark, 69.26m, in the men’s javelin in the west. Dillihunt, the 2011 Conference USA Championships Freshman of the Meet, qualified individually in the men’s 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 47.25. Wright will compete individually in the men’s 100-meter dash qualifying with a time of 10.46.
Also competing in the 400m preliminary round are Mutegi and Kock. Mutegi’s time of 45.95 ranks fourteenth in the group of 48 competitors, while Kock’s time of 46.79 ranks 26th.
Four Miners in addition to Kimaiyo posted national qualifying times in distance events. Senior Robert Menjo will take the track in the 3,000m steeplechase while Elkana Rotich and Justice Chirchir will compete in the men’s 1,500-meter race.
Chirchir finished the 2010 outdoor season finishing 28th at last year’s first preliminary with a time of 3:46.88; he goes into this year’s nationals with a season-best time of 3:45.35. Rotich is ranked 18th with a time of 3:44.36.
Kathya Garcia goes back to nationals for a second consecutive year, this time in the women’s 10,000 meters. Garcia competed in the 5,000-meter at the 2010 NCAA West Preliminary but did not advance to the final round. The junior ranks fourth in the 10,000m with a personal best time of 33:18.61.
Senior Terran Alexander will also be returning to the prenational meet in the women’s hammer throw. Alexander ranks 10th in the field of 48 with a throw of 60.88m.
Joining Alexander on the throwing events is junior Laura Macauley in the javelin. Macauley’s season-best throw of 48.47m ranks 19th in the west regional.
The New Mexico State women's track and field team earned five invites to the NCAA West Prelims in Eugene, Ore., to be held at the end of May.
Sisters Courtney and Camille Schultz will represent the Aggies in the 10,000m, while junior Jndia Cleveland will compete in the long jump and 400m hurdles.
Other Aggies invited were sophomore LaSasha Aldredge for the 400m-dash and senior Kelsey Brennan for the javelin throw.
The Schultz sisters placed first and second in the 10,000m at the WAC Championships with Camille taking first in a time of 36:53.48 and Courtney finishing closely behind in a time of 36:53.75.
Cleveland placed second at the WAC Championships in the 400m hurdles with a time of 59.76 and was selected in the long jump for her overall body of work during the season.
Aldredge finished third at the WAC in the 400m-dash in a time of 55.44 to earn a spot, while NM State dual athlete Kelsey Brennan, who also stars on the volleyball team, won the javelin at the WAC Championships with a throw of 46.15m (151-05).
The NCAA West Prelims begin Thursday, May 26 and end Saturday, May 28. The action will be held all day during the course of the event.