El Paso, TEXAS - The UTEP track and field program is set to host the UTEP Invitational on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. with the women's hammer throw and running events at 2 p.m. at Kidd Field.
The meet will include opponents La Tech, North Texas, Rice, NM State, North Illinois University (Women's), Grand Canyon University and New Mexico Junior College.
Also looking to set high marks at the UTEP Invitational are professional athletes from around the world including 2012 Olympic Champion Kirani James, Mexican record holder and Olympian Carlos Herrera, and Nike Pro-French athletes Yoann Rapinier, N'diss Kaba Badji, Guy Anouman, Pierre Chalus, Gautier Dautremer and former Miner Mickael Hanany.
"I am extremely excited about returning to El Paso to compete," Olympian Kirani James said. "The last time I competed there I set a personal best and a national record. I look forward to challenging that record at this year's Invitational."
In conjunction with UTEP's open house this weekend, the meet will be free to the public.
On the field, the high jump will feature both collegiate and professional athletes. Olympian Mickael Hanany will be looking to improve his personal-best mark registered at the Miners' last home meet. The 2008 NCAA Champion broke France's high jump record as he delivered a jump of 2.34m (7-08.00). Representing the Orange and Blue will be Carlos Hernandez. The El Paso native claimed bronze at the UTEP Springtime with a leap of 2.10m (6-10.75).Competing in the long jump for the first time this season is 2014 NCAA silver medalist Mark Jackson. Last year, the All-American posted a season-best leap of 7.46m (24-05.75) at the 2013 Conference USA Outdoor Meet, qualifying him for the NCAA West Preliminary. The senior went on to advanace to the 2013 NCAA Championships. Also representing the Miners in the men's long jump are Andres Estrada, Brandon Jones, Brandon Moss and Zachary Newman. The jumpers are set to compete at 2:30 p.m. (MT). The long jump and triple jump will feature a group of Nike jumpers including Yoann Rapinier, N'diss Kaba Badiji and Guy Dautremer.
Abiola Onakoya will represent the Miners in the 200m dash. Last year, the senior registered a season-best of 20.90 at the 2013 UTEP Invitational ranking him 58th in the nation. The sprinter went on to claim a bronze-medal finish at the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championships.
Also contesting for the top time in the 200m dash are Nike sprinters Pierre Chalus and Gautier Dautremer and Mexican Olympian Carlos Herrera. Herrera is the Mexican National Record holder in the 200m dash with a time of 20.36. His time is currently the third fastest in the world.
El Paso native Daniel Tarango will be taking the track in the 800m for the third time this season. The sophomore garnered bronze with a time of 1:52.82 at the Texas Tech Open. His time currently ranks him fifth in Conference USA. Also competing for the Orange and Blue in the 800m run is Cosmas Boit. The distance runner opened his outdoor season with a first place finish in the event at the UTEP Springtime meet. The freshman registered a time of 1:52.48, ranking him sixth in C-USA. Tarango and Boit will compete at 4:10 p.m.
Two-time National Champion Anthony Rotich is set to participate in the 1,500m run at 2:20 p.m. The All-American conquered the 3,000m steeplechase at Texas Relays with a first place finish of 8:38.68. The C-USA Champion's performance garnered him the No.1 spot on the Track and Field Results Reporting list.
On the women's side the 100m hurdles will feature five Miners. Leading the squad is All-American Janice Jackson, who opened the season clocking in a time of 13.05 (+ 2.1w) to finish fifth at the highly competitive Texas Relays. The C-USA Champion's performance ranks her first in conference and sixth nationally. Greta Kerekes, Bria Love, Aeisha McDavid and Brianna McGhee will join Jackson in the event set to start at 2:35 p.m.
Last season, Brianna McGhee proved to be a dominating force in the 100m hurdles as a freshman. The hurdler crossed the finish line third at her first C-USA Championship with a personal best of 13.33. Her time ranked 30th nationally qualifying her for the NCAA West Preliminary.
Jackson will also add strength to the Miner sprint squad as she joins Florence Uwakwe in the 200m dash. This will be the sprinters' first time competing in the 200m dash this season. The event is set to begin at 4:50 p.m.
El Paso natives Laura Delgado and Sandra Walker will lead the distance force as they compete in the 1,500m run at 2:10 p.m.
Taking the field for the women's team will be Nickevea Wilson in the triple jump. The All-American took the track for the first time at the Texas Relays where she delivered a leap of 12.65m (41-6) in the women's triple jump. The junior currently ranks fourth in league action.
El Paso native, Monica Lopez will also take to the field for the triple jump. The junior opened the season with a first-place finish at the UTEP Springtime where she posted a mark of 11.97m (39-03.25). The event will kick off at approximately 5:00 p.m.
In the women's high jump the Miners will be represented by Jallycia Pearson. The El Paso native registered a personal-best jump of 1.66m (5-05.25) in women's heptathlon at Texas Relays.
UTEP will feature two of the top-five Conference USA student-athletes in the women's discus throw. Ranked second in the league, Taylor Gunn will be competing in the event for the third time this season. The thrower recorded a toss of 49.18m (161-4) at the Texas Tech Open. Teammate Samantha Hall holds the No. 4 spot in C-USA after registering a toss of 48.88m (160-4) last weekend. Also competing for the Miners will be Adebola Akomolafe, Fayon Gonzales and Aisha Lee. The group is scheduled to take the field at 2 p.m.