(Courtesy: UTEP Athletics)
EL PASO, Texas - Jakub Belik (high jump), Victor Kibiego (3000m steeplechase), Arianne Morais (javelin), Marissa Simpson (100m H), and Roosa Yloenen (javelin) will represent UTEP at the 2023 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field National Championships hosted by Texas at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on June 7-10.
Competition starts Wednesday as Kibiego will run in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase semifinals at 6:02 p.m. MT/7:02 CT.
On Thursday, the women will get started with Morais and Yloenen in the women’s javelin final starting at 5:45 p.m. MT/6:45 CT.
For Yloenen, it will mark her final competition of her track and field career. Simpson will race in the women’s 100-meter hurdles at 7:32 p.m. MT/8:32 CT.
Belik will look to leap high in the men’s high jump final on Friday starting at 6:30 p.m. MT/7:30 CT.
If Kibiego advances, he’ll run in the 3000m steeplechase final on Friday at 7:24 p.m. MT/ 8:24 CT, while if Simpson moves on, she’ll compete in the 100m hurdles final on Saturday at 7:42 p.m. MT/8:42 CT.
The NCAA OTF Championships will be televised/streamed on multiple ESPN Platforms during the week.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Wed., June 7 – M 3000m Steeplechase semis – 6:02 p.m. MT/7:02 CT – Victor Kibiego
Thurs., June 8 – W Javelin final – 5:45 p.m. MT/6:45 CT – Arianne Morais & Roosa Yloenen
Thurs., June 8 – W 100m H semis – 7:32 p.m. MT/8:32 CT – Marissa Simpson
Fri., June 9 – M High Jump final – 6:30 p.m. MT/7:30 CT – Jakub Belik
Fri., June 9 – M 3000m Steeplechase final – 7:24 p.m. MT/8:24 CT – Kibiego*
Sat., June 10 – W 100m H final – 7:42 p.m. MT/8:42 CT – Simpson*
*if Kibiego and Simpson advance
Jakub Belik | Sophomore | High Jump
Belik cleared 2.14 meters (7-0.25) and tied for fourth in the men's high jump at the NCAA West Prelims on May 26. The sophomore will compete in his first national championship. Belik’s personal best is a 2.16m (7-1) at the Conference USA Championships where he won gold on May 13. The product of Jaromer, Czech Republic, also claimed gold at the C-USA indoor Championships (2.14m). Belik produced a solid outdoor season, winning his first three high jump events (Willie Williams, New Mexico Spring Invitational, Bryan Clay), while finishing second at the Desert Heat Classic. Belik improved each leap as he went from 2.10m (6-10.75) in his first outdoor meet of the season to a 2.16 at the conference championships.
Victor Kibiego | Freshman | Distance
Kibiego raced to a personal-best 8:26.80 and placed seventh in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase quarterfinal at the West Prelims on May 26 to advance to Austin. Kibiego, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, ranks fourth on the program's top-10 list. His previous best was an 8:41.90 at the Bryan Clay in April. The freshman distance runner competed in his first career 3000m steeplechase at the Willie Williams Classic/Dave Murray Distance Carnival, placing first with a 9:15.10 on March 24. He followed the performance with his 8:41.90 at the Bryan Clay, while he captured gold in the 3000m steeplechase (8:51.93) at the C-USA Championships on May 13.
Arianne Morais | Junior | Javelin
Morais finished first overall with a personal-best 57.61-meter (189-0) launch at the West Prelims on May 25. Her mark is ranked second on the program’s top-10 list. Morais’s previous best was 57.38m (179-3) at the 63rd-Annual Mt. SAC Relays on April 14. Morais will make her second appearance at nationals in as many seasons. Last year in Eugene, Ore., Morais placed 22nd with a 50.26m (164-11). Coming off an injury following last season, Morais opened 2023 competition at the Willie Williams, but fouled her attempts. She followed that with a first-place finish at the Mt. SAC Relays, while coming in second at the Desert Heat Classic (53.82m). Morais then took gold at the ’23 C-USA Championships with a 54.65m (179-3) on May 14. Morais transferred from the University of Florida prior to the 2021 campaign.
Marissa Simpson | Sophomore | Hurdles
Simpson finished third in heat 2 in the 100m hurdles quarterfinals with a personal-best 12.94 to automatically qualify at the West Prelims on May 27. Her time ranks no. 2 on the program’s all-time list behind Miner great Tobi Amusan (12.57). Simpson’s previous best was a 13.08 in the first round on May 25. Simpson made huge strides in her second season with the program. At the 2022 C-USA Championships, she placed ninth in the 100m hurdles final. This season, the native of Kellits, Jamaica, took gold in the 100m hurdles with a 13.27 on May 14. Simpson opened the outdoor season at the Willie Williams with a third-place showing (13.49) in the 100m hurdles, while she followed with that with a first-place finish (13.94) at the New Mexico Spring Invitational.
Roosa Yloenen | Senior | Javelin
Yloenen advanced to nationals with a season-best 53.40-meter (175-2) toss at the West Prelims on May 25. It will mark the second trip to nationals for the native of Hankasalmi, Finland. She threw in Eugene during the 2021 season, finishing 18th with a 50.28m (164-11) mark. Yloenen, who struggled in 2022, found her rhythm in ’23 as she opened the outdoor season with a first-place finish after tossing a 51.40m (168-8) mark at the Willie Williams. After finishing seventh (44.67m) at last year’s conference championships, she rebounded and placed fourth at this year’s meet with a 49.87m (163-7). Her career best launch is 53.89m (176-10) at the 2021 Desert Heat Classic.
GOING BACK A BIT
Arianne Morais and Roosa Yloenen are the first pair of UTEP female javelin throwers to advance to nationals since 1996 when Kirsi Hasu and Terhi Palovuori were named All-American with third and fifth place finishes, respectively. Morais is the first UTEP female javelin thrower since Anna Wessman to advance to consecutive national championships (2009 and 2010).
Jakub Belik is the first UTEP male high jumper to reach nationals since 2008 when Mickael Hanany won the national championship with a 2.32m (7-7.25).
Victor Kibiego is the first UTEP men’s steeplechase competitor to advance to nationals since 2015 when Anthony Rotich ran his way to a third consecutive national title with an 8:33.90.
Marissa Simpson is the first UTEP female 100-meter hurdler to advance to nationals since 2017 when Tobi Amusan sprinted her way to a national championship with a 12.57.
MOST ENTRIES AT NATIONALS SINCE ‘17
Five UTEP track and field student-athletes (Jakub Belik, Victor Kibiego, Arianne Morais, Marissa Simpson, and Roosa Yloenen) will compete in four events on June 7-10. The five entries are the most since the 2017 season when the Miners had eight entries. Tobi Amusan (100m H), Samantha Hall (discus), Winny Koech (10,000m), Lilian Koech (800m), Emmanuel Korir (800m), Lucia Mokrasova (heptathlon), Michael Saruni (800m) and the 4x400-meter relay team (Asa Guevara, James Bias, Saruni, Korir) made the trip to Eugene, Ore., six seasons ago.
REMAINING 2023 UTEP OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD SCHEDULE
June 7-10 NCAA OTF Championships Austin, Texas