DENTON, Texas (KVIA) – UTEP’s Victor Kibiego was named the Freshman of the Meet, and tallied the most points overall on the Men's side, while Niesha Burgher was the highest-point scorer on the women’s side as the Miners wrapped up competition at the 2023 Conference USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at UNT Track & Field Stadium on a drizzly Sunday afternoon.
Kibiego was the overall High Point Scorer of the Meet with 24, while earning the freshman of the meet after his stellar outing. Burgher was the women’s overall point leader with 22.5.
Burgher took home four medals for the Miners, winning the women’s 200-meter final and being part of the gold-medal 4x400-meter relay team. She also won silver in the 200-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. Burgher also set the school record on Saturday evening with a 22.90 in the 200-meter preliminaries.
Kibiego won three medals, taking gold in the 3000-meter steeplechase, silver in the 5000-meter event, and bronze in the 1500-meter race.
Zani Meaders earned a trio of medals – gold in the 4x400, silver in the 4x100 and bronze in the 400-meter final.
Overall, the Miners claimed 17 total medals – seven gold medals, seven silver and three bronze.
“It was a good meet for us on both sides,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “The women’s team performed well and fought for every point possible. The team finishing fourth is exactly what the final pre-championship ranking predicted. The men’s team also competed hard and the only blemish today was not getting the baton around in today’s 4 x 100-meter relay. The men’s team had a rough outdoor season due to all recent injury issues and we unfortunately had to leave lot of points home for this championship. We are optimistic about our new signees and the core group of the student-athletes returning and plan for very different outcomes next year when we are hosting this championship.”
The Charlotte men’s team won its fifth consecutive C-USA title with 184 points, while Rice captured the women’s title with 187 points. The UTEP men placed fifth with 88 points, while the women finished fourth with 95 points.
The women’s 100-meter dash final provided a bit of drama as Burgher and Denae McFarlane clocked in personal-bests 11.34. After the final tally, Burgher came out on top 11.332 to 11.337 to claim the gold medal. The 11.34 ranks seventh on the program’s all-time list.
Arianne Morais launched a 54.65-meter (179-3) toss to claim gold in the women’s javelin final. Morais made a big leap after winning bronze at last season’s championships.
Marissa Simpson got out to a big lead and never looked back in the women’s 100-meter hurdles final and capturing gold with a personal-best 13.27. Simpson’s time now ranks fifth on the program’s all-time list.
Yusuf Mohamud captured gold in the men’s 800-meter final, clocking in a 1:51.17. North Texas’ Like Canon led the race with about 200 meter to go before Mohamud raced past him and took the lead at around the 100-meter mark. Canon (1:51.62) finished fourth. Last season, Mohamud finished fourth.
The women’s 4x400-meter relay team (Meaders, Benhadja, Brume, Burgher) took a big lead early and captured gold, clocking in a 3:38.87. For Meaders, Benhadja and Brume, it was their second medal each, while Burgher won her fourth medal of the meet (two gold [100m, 4x400], two silver [4x1, 200m]).
The women’s 4x100-meter relay team kicked off the running events with a silver medal, clocking in a 44.66 behind the team of Meaders, Burgher, McFarlane, and Oghenekaro Brume. The Miners led down the stretch, but Charlotte’s Ta-halia Fairman shot past Brume to edge out UTEP with a time of 44.53.
Joshua Hill took silver in the men’s 400-meter dash, clocking in a 47.18.
Loubna Benhadja claimed silver in the women’s 400-meter hurdles final, posting a personal-best 58.17.
Burgher finished second in the women’s 200-meter final, clocking in a 23.26. Charlotte’s Fairman edged out Burgher to win the race with a 23.05.
The men’s 4x400-meter relay wrapped up competition with a silver medal in the final race, as the team of Julio Pacheco Estrada, Abdulraof Rashid, Woodley and Hill clocked in a season-best 3:12.61. Woodley and Hill each claimed their second medals.
Jordani Woodley claimed bronze in the men’s 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.00.
Kibiego claimed bronze in the men’s 1500-meter final. He clocked in a personal-best 3:44.59.
Kibiego tallied his third medal with a silver in the men’s 5000-meter final, clocking in a 14:08.37. Kibiego also won gold in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase on Saturday.
Zani Meaders took bronze in the women’s 400-meter final, clocking in a 54.50.
UTEP MEDAL INDIVIDUAL BREAKDOWN
4 Niesha Burgher (2 Gold – 100m, 4x400; 2 Silver – 200m, 4x100)
3 Victor Kibiego (Gold – 3000m steeplechase, Silver – 5000m, Bronze – 1500m)
Zani Meaders (Gold – 4x400, Silver – 4x100, Bronze – 400m)
2 Loubna Benhadja (Gold –4x400, Silver – 400m H)
Oghenekaro Brume (Gold – 4x400, Silver – 4x100)
Joshua Hill (2 Silver – 400m, 4x400)
Denae McFarlane (2 Silver – 200m, 4x100)
Jordani Woodley (Silver – 4x400, Bronze – 110m H)
1 Jakub Belik (Gold – high jump)
Yusuf Mohamud (Gold – 800m)
Arianne Morais (Gold – javelin)
Julio Pacheco Estrada (Silver – 4x400)
Abdulraof Rashid (Silver – 4x400)
Marissa Simpson (Gold – 100m H)
FINAL MEN’S SCORES
FINAL WOMEN’S SCORES
REMAINING 2023 UTEP OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD SCHEDULE
May 24-27 NCAA OTF Championships 1st Round Sacramento, Calif.
Jun. 7-10 NCAA OTF Championships Austin, Texas