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El Paso, TX — A total of 23 past and present UTEP student-athletes will graduate from the university on Saturday.
Included on the list are nine representatives from the football program, seven from track & field, two each from men’s golf and softball, and one each from soccer, tennis and volleyball.
Seven of the football graduates – Adam Ayala, Marcus Bagley, James Davidson, Horace Miller, Kevin Perry, Germard Reed and Richard Spencer – have made multiple starts for the Miners. They will be joined on the graduation stage by Michael Kelley and Hunter Nix. Kelley is a 28-year old U.S. Army veteran (served for eight years from 2003-11) who earned a scholarship this season.
The track & field graduates are Endurance Abinuwa, Donovant Grant, Lidia Hernandez, Risper Kimaiyo, Tako Niare, Richard Olsson and Elkana Rotich. Headlining the group is Kimaiyo, a three-time Conference USA cross country champion and seven-time All-American. Kimaiyo will be carrying the university banner at commencement proceedings.
Soccer’s Tess Hall was a two-time All-Conference USA selection (2011 & 2012). Volleyball’s Jeane Horton garnered first team All-League honors in 2012 and second team in 2011.
Rounding out the list of graduates are softball’s Charissa Ballesteros and Kayla Black, men’s golf’s Jordan Gallacher and Ross Rotwein, and tennis’ Dariya Abdrakhmanova. Black will be a senior on the 2014 softball squad.
Fifteen of the 23 graduates earned placement on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll (miminum 3.0 grade point average) during their time at UTEP. Black, Hall and Olsson were multiple winners of C-USA Academic Medals for maintaining grade point averages of 3.75 or higher.
Biographical sketches follow on UTEP’s December, 2013 graduating student-athletes.
UTEP Student-Athlete Graduates
Dariya Abdrakhmanova (Tennis)
Dasha won 30 singles matches for the Miners, including 14 her junior year. She claimed both a singles and doubles flight championship at the St. Bonaventure Invite in 2011. Dasha was appointed to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll twice.
Endurance Abinuwa (Track & Field)
Endurance received All-American honors in 2011, when she finished fourth in the 400 meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships. She earned one gold, four silver and one bronze C-USA Championship medals during her time with the Miners. Endurance was named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll once.
Adam Ayala (Football)
Operation/Supply Chain Management
Adam played in 42 games for the Miners, making eight starts. He tallied 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and eight quarterback hurries. Adam was appointed to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll twice.
Marcus Bagley (Football)
Marcus played in 49 games for UTEP with 31 starts. He posted 133 tackles, seven tackles for losses and six quarterback pressures. Marcus earned placement on the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll three times.
Charissa Ballesteros (Softball)
Charissa played in 69 games for the Miners, making 40 starts. She tallied 31 hits, eight doubles and 12 RBI in her career. Charissa was named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll once.
Kayla Black (Softball)
Kayla has played in 139 games for the Miners, making 131 starts. She has 87 career hits, including five home runs and 55 RBI. She will be a senior in 2014. Kayla was a three-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll, and a three-time recipient of a C-USA Academic Medal for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better.
James Davidson (Football)
James appeared in 42 games for the Miners, with 14 starts. He started all 12 games in 2013. His career totals were 111 tackles, 17 tackles for losses, 8.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries.
Jordan Gallacher (Golf)
Jordan Gallacher transferred to UTEP from BYU Hawaii. After completing his college career, he served as an undergraduate student assistant with the Miners.
Donovant Grant (Track & Field)
Donovant helped the Miners claim the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championship as he represented the team in the triple, high and long jumps. He qualified for the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary Championships with a personal-best leap of 15.09m in the triple jump.
Tess Hall (Soccer)
Tess was a two-time All-Conference USA performer and twice voted to the C-USA women’s soccer All-Academic squad. She was a four-year starter who ranks among UTEP’s all-time leaders for assists (27-second) and points (69-sixth). She was a four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and a four-time recipient of a C-USA Academic Medal for maintaining a GPA of 3.75 or better.
Lidia Hernandez (Track & Field)
Lidia competed for the Orange and Blue for four years. During her senior season, she registered a personal-best in the shot put to claim the gold at the Texas Tech Open. Lidia was named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll once.
Jeane Horton (Volleyball)
Jeane played in 93 matches for the Miners, making 92 starts, and compiled 1,047 kills and 255 blocks. She was chosen to the AVCA All-America team and was first team All-Conference USA during the 2012 season. She was second team All-League in 2011 and a member of the Conference USA All-Freshman Team in 2010.
Michael Kelley (Football)
After eight years of service in the U.S. Army, Michael played at UTEP during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He appeared in 10 games in 2013, primarily on special teams duty, and made 10 tackles. Michael was a one-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
Risper Kimaiyo (Track & Field)
Risper became the first woman in program history to garner four consecutive All-American honors in cross country. She captured three All-American honors in track. Risper earned multiple awards in the Orange and Blue, including three NCAA Mountain Athlete of the Year, three C-USA Athlete of the Year, four C-USA All-Academic honors and eight USTFCCCA All-Academic honors. She earned four appointments to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
Horace Miller (Football)
Horace played for UTEP for three years after transferring from Louisville. In 36 games with the Miners, including 30 starts, he compiled 120 tackles, 17 tackles for losses, 12 sacks, eight pass break-ups and eight quarterback hurries. He is tied for 10th in school history in sacks.
Tako Niare (Track & Field)
Tako left her mark in the UTEP record book as she recorded the eighth-best mark in program history in the high jump. Tako finished in the top-five in the high jump at the C-USA Indoor Championship in back-to-back seasons.
Hunter Nix (Football)
Hunter was moved to running back for the 2013 season after spending the 2011 and 2012 campaigns at linebacker. He earned a spot on the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll once.
Richard Olsson (Track & Field)
Richard opened the 2013 season with a personal-best toss of 72.53m in the javelin at the UTEP Invitational, a performance that ranked him 10th nationally. He helped UTEP capture the 2013 C-USA Championship with a silver medal in the javelin. Richard was a three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and a three-time recipient of a C-USA Academic Medal for maintaining a GPA of 3.75 or better.
Kevin Perry (Football)
Kevin was a four-year letterwinner on the UTEP football team and also spent two seasons on the basketball squad. In 41 football games, including 11 starts, he posted 29 catches for 344 yards and three touchdowns.
Germard Reed (Football)
Germard played in 43 games for the Miners with 35 starts. He was credited with 123 tackles, 20.5 tackles for losses, 7.5 sacks and seven quarterback pressures. Germard was a one-time selection to the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
Elkana Rotich (Track & Field)
Elkana ended his collegiate career by earning one silver and two bronze medals at the 2013 C-USA Outdoor Championship, helping the Miners claim the team title. In 2010, he was named the C-USA Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year after claiming the individual title at the C-USA Championship.
Ross Rotwein (Golf)
Ross appeared in 14 tournaments for the Miners before serving as an undergraduate student assistant with the program. He will continue to assist the team as a graduate assistant starting this spring. Ross was a four-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. He was also a member of UTEP’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
Richard Spencer (Football)
Richard played in 41 games for UTEP with 11 starting assignments. He registered 149 tackles, eight tackles for losses, three sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and six pass break-ups. Richard was a two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.
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