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UTEP T&F Women place second, Men third at CUSA Championships Saturday

The Conference USA Track and Field Indoor Championship is held at the Indoor Track on February 23, 2024 (Photographed by: Kendall Tidwell)
UTEP Athletics
The Conference USA Track and Field Indoor Championship is held at the Indoor Track on February 23, 2024 (Photographed by: Kendall Tidwell)

LYNCHBURG, Virginia (KVIA) -- The UTEP women’s track and field team finished in second place while the Miners totaled 17 medals on the final day at the Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the Liberty Indoor Track Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Liberty ran away with the championships in its first season in CUSA as the women tallied 169 points to claim the title. The Flames’ men’s squad amassed 215.5 points to capture their championship trophy.

The UTEP women tallied 99 points, while the men placed third with 104.5 points. Sam Houston (137.5) finished in second on the men’s side.

The Miners totaled 20 medals during the two-day meet. UTEP garnered five gold, seven silver and eight bronze medals.

“We had a good meet. Both teams competed hard and we have no regrets,” UTEP Director of Track & Field Mika Laaksonen said. “Second place for women’s team is big improvement from last year. Liberty teams set the standard for this new conference. We will try to figure out a way to challenge them in three months when we host the outdoor meet.”

Niesha Burgher continued her successful season, clocking in a facility and CUSA-best 22.97 in the women’s 200-meter dash final to take home a gold medal. Burgher bettered Charlotte’s Joyasia Smith’s facility time of 23.30 in 2024, while UCF’s Aurieyall Scott posted a then-CUSA best 23.35 in 2013. Burgher also captured a silver medal in the women’s 60-meter dash final with a 7.37.

Marissa Simpson raced out to a gold-medal performance in the women’s 60-meter hurdles final, clocking in a facility-record 8.12.

Julio Pacheco Estrada was the first on the men’s side to grab some gold when the junior clocked in a personal-best 47.22 in the men’s 400-meter dash final.

Jakub Belik captured gold for the second consecutive season in the men’s high jump final, posting a 2.12-meter (6-11.25) leap. 

Joshua Hill finished right behind Pacheco Estrada, taking silver in the men’s 400m final. Hill clocked in a 47.43. The Miners tallied 18 points in the men’s 400m.

Freshman Princess Uche claimed a silver medal in her first championships, clocking in a personal-best 54.43 in the women’s 400-meter final.

Loubna Benhadja wasn’t far behind, clocking in a personal-best 54.46 in the 400 final and taking bronze. The Miners totaled 14 points in the event.

Jordani Woodley took silver in the men’s 60-meter hurdles final with a 7.83. MT’s Stephen Ebji won the race, tying a CUSA ITF Championships record with a 7.77. Ebji’s time is shared with Woodley who tied the time in Friday’s preliminaries and two others.

Aleks Hristov took bronze in the men’s shot put final, posting a 16.22-meter (53-2.5) mark.

Freshman Oleksandr Blonskyi climbed up the heptathlon standings, capturing bronze with 4,986 points. Blonskyi started in sixth but won the 1000-meter race with a 2:56.00 to tally six points for his squad.

Jalen Cadet finished in fifth with 4,792 points and tallying four points for the Miners. Liberty’s Anthony Bryon won the men’s hep with a 5,187 points. The Miners totaled 10 points in the event.

Aron Tanui clocked in a personal-best 4:08.31 in the men’s mile final, claiming a bronze medal and six points. Tanui took home another bronze medal, this time in the 800-meter final with a 1:52.23.

Freshman Rejoice Sule captured bronze in the women’s 200 final, clocking in a 23.44. UTEP tallied 16 points in the 200. Sule also scored five points in the women’s 60-meter dash final.

Freshman Xavier Butler streaked out to a silver-medal showing with a 20.97 in the men’s 200-meter dash final. Butler also scored five points in the men’s 60-meter dash final.

Ruth Jerubet turned in a personal-best 4:57.06 in the women’s mile final, placing sixth with three points.

Freshman Joyce Kemboi clocked in a 9:37.74, placing fourth with five points in the women’s 3000-meter race, while teammate and fellow frosh Sandra Maiyo posted a personal-best 9:48.23, scoring two points.

The women’s 4x400-meter relay team concluded competition with a facility-best 3:38.55 as the team of Uche, Benhadja, Zani Meaders and Burgher captured gold. The women tallied 10 points to finish second overall.

Burgher totaled 28 points ( 10 pts – 200m, 10 – 4x400, 8 – 60m).

The men’s 4x400-meter relay team posted a 3:13.79 as Hill, Pacheco Estrada, Woodley and Butler scored eight points for a silver-medal showing.

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Bea Martinez

UTEP Athletics


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