The UTEP track and field squads will open competition on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Blue and Orange Opener in Nampa, Idaho.
The Miners will be taking on host Boise State, Oregon, whose women enter the season with the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association No. 1 preseason ranking, BYU whose women’s team is ranked No. 7 and the men’s team is ranked No. 14, Nevada, Northwest Nazarene and Lewis-Clark at the Jacksons Indoor Track at the Idaho Center.
Highlighting the group of Miners is Suji Adeniyan, who led the men’s 4x400m relay to a first-place finish at the 2011 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships posting a time of 3:18.22. The Nigerian native is set to compete in the men’s 400m at 1:15 p.m. (MT) and the 4x400m relay.
Coming off a second-place team finish at the 2011 C-USA Cross Country Championships, the men’s distance squad will take the track led by conference champion Justice Chirchir. The senior posted season-best times at last year’s C-USA Indoor Track and Field Championships claiming gold in the 5,000m (14:22.92), silver in the 3,000m (8:16.99) and bronze in the mile (4:09.52).
Joining Chirchir on the track is Elkana Rotich, who earned all-region honors for his performance at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Mountain Regional where he crossed the finish line with a time of 31:03 in the 10K to place 14th overall. Both runners will be participating in the mile race set to start at 11:40 a.m.
All-Americans Endurance Abinuwa and Risper Kimaiyo lead the women’s team of 17 scheduled to compete at the invitational this weekend. The women’s team goes into the meet ranked No. 31.
Abinuwa earned All-American honors last season when she finished fourth at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Championships registering a time of 53.06 in the 400m dash. The senior took bronze at the C-USA Outdoor Championships in the 400m dash posting a time of 53.06. The Nigeria native will be competing in the 60m, 300m and 4x400m relay on Saturday.
Kimaiyo comes of a successful cross country season, where she claimed five crowns, earned C-USA first team honors and finished 25th at the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships recording a time of 20:12 in the 6K race. The senior was also recognized for her performance in the classroom and the community, earning C-USA Spirit of Service and C-USA All-Academic honors. Kimaiyo capped off the trio of All-American honors last season when she finished seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships clocking in a time of 16:13.55 in the 5,000m run.
Kimaiyo will take the track at 11:30 a.m. in the women’s mile run.
The Miners will travel to Albuquerque, N.M. on Friday, Jan. 20 to participate in the Cherry and Silver Invitational.