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Past and present Miners ‘pick’ apart the competition and shine at the World Athletic Championships

EL PASO, Texas - For years now UTEP track has had a storied history, but this past weekend at the World Athletic Championships, the pedigree was taken up a notch.

Tobi Amusan (2016-2017 at UTEP) won the 100-meter hurdles and broke a 6-year-old world record twice (semifinals, 12.12 and finals, 12.06 aided by wind) becoming Nigerias first World Champion and also the fastest female in the history of the 100-meter hurdles.

"When she came here she was a pretty special young lady and she's been progressing nicely," UTEP head track coach of 13 years Mika Laaksonen said. "But this is a pretty huge drop in her personal best time at that kind of event to set a world record I don't think anyone saw that coming."

Meanwhile last years Olympic gold medalist Emmanuel Korir (2017 at UTEP) took home gold in the 800 meters in a time of 1:43.71.

"It was pretty clear early on that they would go and do some different things, bigger and better things," Laaksonen said. "I think that's special that both of them won a gold medal. I don't think we've had those kinds of performances in the past."

It wasn't just the former Miners doing the university proud, current UTEP Miner Jevaughn Powell ran the third leg in Jamaica's second place finish in the 4x400m relay.

"It was a good meet for us," Laaksonen said.

Good might be an understatement. But how does the Miners stellar showing at the World Championships impact the future of the program?

"It should help," Laaksonen said. "We'll see, it's a good sign but prospects nowadays want a bunch of bells and whistles. That [the weekend] checks out the part that coaching is here [UTEP] and you can develop here, but then they start looking."

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Rachel Phillips

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