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EL PASO, TX — Nine Miners and the women’s track and field team earned spots in the U.S. Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic team.
To qualify for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Track and Field Team, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have met either of the following athletic standards: for the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by TFRRS.org; for the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships (including preliminary rounds).
The women’s track and field team was one of the 187 programs that demonstrated excellence both academically and athletically earning USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors. The squad of 22 accumulated an outstanding 3.05 GPA garnering them the high prestige.
Leading the women’s academic efforts once again is All-American Janice Jackson. The junior claimed her second USTFCCCA All-American honor boosting a GPA of 3.93 as a Multidisciplinary Studies major. The hurdler received her first All-American honor this season after crossing the finish line eighth at the NCAA Championships. At the national meet, Jackson posted a personal best of 13.06 in the 100m hurdles. Her mark is the second-fastest time in program history only behind UTEP Hall of Famer Kim Turner (12.95). Previously, she claimed the top spot on the medal stand at the Conference USA Championship registering the 14th-fastest time in the nation of 13.11.
The second Miner to earn a spot on the All-Academic team is Risper Kimaiyo sporting a GPA of 3.48 as a Nursing major. The senior represented the Miners on the track for one final season and claimed her seventh All-American honor. For the first time, the Kenyan native competed in the 10,000m at the NCAA Championships and posted an eighth-place finish with a time of 34:03.35. The distance runner dominated the competition at the C-USA Championships taking gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m. Kimaiyo was ranked 13th in the nation clocking in a time of 33:24.21 in the 10,000m recorded at the Stanford Invitational.
Senior Samantha Sharper received her second USTFCCCA All-Academic honor with a 3.84 GPA as she earned her master’s degree in Education in May. The hurdler represented the Miners at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in the 100m hurdles. At the C-USA Championships, Sharper clocked in a personal-best time of 13.36 finishing fourth overall. The senior opened the outdoor season with a third-place finish in the 100m hurdles at the UTEP Springtime meet.
Also earning a spot on the All-Academic team is El Paso native Jallycia Pearson. The sophomore finished fourth in the heptathlon at the C-USA Championships. Pearson has proven to be a threat in the multievents as she finished third in the 100m hurdles, shot put and 200m dash at the championships. During the indoor season, she took the bronze medal in the triple jump at the C-USA Indoor Championships with a leap of 12.32m (40-05.00).
Wrapping up the women’s team is sophomore Taylor Gunn with a GPA of 3.41 as a Communication major. The thrower was ranked 40th in the nation with a personal-best throw of 52.48m (172-02) in the discus. She made her second appearance at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in the discus throw. At the C-USA Championships, Gunn earned a bronze medal in the discus with a toss of 49.79m (163-04).
On the men’s side, Anthony Rotich received his first USTFCCCA All-Academic honor as he sports a 3.80 GPA. The distance runner was named the 2012-13 C-USA Athlete of the Year after claiming the NCAA title in the 3,000m steeplechase. The four-time All-American took the crown at the NCAA Championship posting a school record time of 8:21.19, becoming the league’s first NCAA Champion in the event. Prior to nationals, he led the Miners to its third team title at the C-USA Outdoor Championships where he collected three gold medals in the 1,500m, steeplechase and 5,000m.
A-Shawni Mitchell was the second Miner to earn a spot in the All-Academic team with a GPA of 3.66 as a Pr-Engineering major. Mitchell was a member of the 4x400m relay team that qualified to the NCAA Championships. The squad made it to the national meet after posting a season-best time of 3:06.88 at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships. The relay team also sealed the C-USA title for the Miners by crossing the finish line first with a time of 3:10.41.
Also making the USTFCCCA All-Academic team is sophomore Elphas Maiyo with a 3.76 GPA. The distance runner made it to the NCAA West Preliminary Championships after registering a personal-best time of 29:41.19 in the 10,000m at the Stanford Invitational. At the Conference USA Championships he took silver in the 10,000m with a time of 30:31.75.
Finally, Demetris Elia is the last Miner to earn the high prestige sporting a 3.59 GPA as a Multidisciplinary Studies major. The thrower made his second NCAA West Preliminary Championship appearance with a mark of 61.03m (200-03) in the hammer throw set at the UTEP Springtime meet. At the C-USA Championships he took silver in the hammer throw with a toss of 57.81m (189-08).
For a complete list of USTFCCCA All-Academic winners please visit www.ustfccca.org.
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