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Community Champions: UTEP track & field members ready for NCAA National Championships

EL PASO, Texas - All eyes are on Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon next week.

Several members of the UTEP track & field team will get a chance at becoming national champions.

The Miners will see action in five events at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships on June 9-12. 

UTEP's 4X400 meter relay team is one of the teams that will be looking for gold in Eugene.

The team is comprised of Joshua Hill, Jevaughn Powell, Kevin Hewitt and Sean Bailey.

Bailey will be competing in two events at nationals, the 4X400 relay and also the 400 meter dash.

Bailey turned in a season-best time 3:04.60 in the relay and the Miners finished seventh overall at the regional meet.

This is Bailey's first time competing at nationals, but he's not letting the first time jitters get to him.

"I think it's going to be a good experience," Bailey said, "They have a very beautiful track and I think people want to compete there. I'm just going to go in there with confidence from these past races."

Then there's UTEP pole vaulter, Paulo Benavides.

He finished tied for second place at the regional competition.

Benavides graduated from Franklin High School and will be looking to complete his college career on a high note by winning a national title.

He knows he'll have to take his game to the next level, but he believes he has what it takes to get it done in Eugene.

"I had a couple of misses early on in the competition (regional meet)," Benavides said. "I thought I could have done a little bit better, but I feel like I'm ready to go."

The other two Miners competing at nationals are Alek Hristov in the discus.

He became the first UTEP male discus thrower in 16 years to punch his ticket to nationals.

And on the women's side, Roosa Yloenen in the javelin.

Yloenen, a product of Hankasalmi, Finland, is the first UTEP female javelin thrower in more than 10 years to advance to nationals.

For their accomplishments this season, the members of the UTEP track and field team have been named Community Champions.

Community Champions is sponsored by Albertsons and the El Paso Community Foundation.

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.

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