EL PASO, Texas - The UTEP track and field team will be sending seven student-athletes to compete in five events at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., on June 9-12.
The championships will be televised/streamed on a trio of ESPN Networks (ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU) throughout the week.
Representing the Orange and Blue on the men’s side are Sean Bailey (400m, 4x400m relay), Paulo Benavides (pole vault), Kevin Hewitt (4x400m relay), Joshua Hill (4x400m relay), Aleks Hristov (discus), and Jevaughn Powell (4x400m relay).
Chevannie Hanson will serve as alternate for the 4x400 squad. Roosa Yloenen (javelin) will represent the Orange and Blue on the women’s side.
Overall, it’s the most athletes representing UTEP at the NCAA Championships since the 2017 season.
“We are excited to travel to historic and recently renovated Hayward Field to face the ultimate test of will and skill in our sport,” UTEP Head Coach Mika Laaksonen said. “We have a young and hungry team to represent us at this championship – 50 percent of the team is freshmen and 75 percent either freshmen or sophomores. This is definitely a move up as a team from 2019, the last time this championship took place. We are well prepared and healthy which is all you can ask at this point in the season. This outdoor championship is the type of event that gets coaches really fired up – can’t wait for the experience!”
Benavides will start competition for the Miners on Wednesday, June 9 (6:30 p.m. MT).
Bailey will run the 400m dash on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. MT, while the men’s 4x400m relay team will start on Wednesday at 9:18 p.m. MT.
Yloenen will compete on Thursday, starting at 5:45 p.m. MT, and Hristov will throw on Friday at 5:35 p.m. MT.
The finals in the 400m dash and 4x400m relay will run on Friday.
The Miners are not scheduled to compete in any events on Saturday.
NOTES ON BENAVIDES
Benavides will get the week started for the Miners, as the men’s pole vault final is on Wednesday, June 9 at 6:30 p.m. MT/5:30 PT.
Benavides will start at position no. 17.
Benavides, a graduate transfer from Kansas and Franklin High School alum, cleared the bar with an outdoor collegiate personal-best 5.45m (17-10.5) mark at the West Prelims last week.
Benavides hit 5.47m (17-11.25) during the 2017 indoor season while competing at Kansas. Benavides is the first UTEP male pole vaulter to advance to nationals since 1998 (Mikhail Gorbatenko in Buffalo, N.Y.).
NOTES ON BAILEY
Bailey will run the 400m semifinals on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. MT/6:30 PT.
The senior will run in Heat 2, Lane 3. Bailey is making his second consecutive appearance at nationals after running the 400m in 2019 in Austin, Texas, where he earned All-American second team honors.
Bailey finished second overall in the 400m at the 2021 West Prelims with a time of 45.31.
Bailey’s personal best is a 45.19 at the 2019 West Prelims, while his season best is 45.24 at the 2021 Conference USA Championships.
NOTES ON 4x400M RELAY TEAM
The men’s 4x400m relay team will run the semis at 9:18 p.m. MT/8:18 PT.
The team composted of a trio of freshmen in Hill, Powell and Hewitt, and Bailey will start in Heat 2, Lane 8.
The Miners clocked in a season-best 3:04.60 at the West Prelims, placing fifth overall.
It’s the first time since the 2017 season that the men’s 4x400 team will compete at nationals.
NOTES ON YLOENEN
Yloenen will compete in the women’s javelin final on Thursday, June 10 at 5:45 p.m. MT/4:45 PT.
The sophomore will start in Flight 2, Position 3.
Yloenen finished in fifth place overall at the West Prelims with a 53.55m (175-8) mark on her final attempt.
Yloenen’s personal best is 53.89m (176-10) at the 2021 Desert Heat Classic.
She’s the first UTEP female javelin thrower to advance to nationals since 2010 (Anna Wessman at Hayward Field).
NOTES ON HRISTOV
Hristov will throw in the men’s discus final on Friday at 5:35 p.m. MT/4:35 PT.
Hristov will start in Flight 2, Position 2. The 21-year old freshman advanced to nationals after slinging a personal-best 56.99m (187-0) mark at the West Prelims, where he finished fifth overall.
Hristov is the first UTEP men’s discus thrower to advance to nationals since 2005 (Correy Harrison in Sacramento, Calif.).
UTEP SCHEDULE | Hayward Field | Eugene, Oregon
DATE EVENT NAME TIME NETWORK
June 9 M Pole Vault Final Benavides 6:30 p.m. ESPN3
June 9 M 400m Semi Bailey 7:30 p.m. ESPN2
June 9 M 4x400m relay Semi 9:18 p.m. ESPN2
June 10 W Javelin Final Yloenen 5:45 p.m. ESPN3
June 11 M Discus Final Hristov 5:35 p.m. ESPN3
June 11 M 400m Final Bailey 7:02 p.m. ESPN2
June 11 M 4x400m relay Final 8:21 p.m. ESPN2