UTEP's track and field duo Michael Saruni and Jonah Koech are headed to the 800m final at the NCAA Championships after their strong performance Wednesday night.

Saruni led the way by finishing first in the heat, with a time of 1:46.98, while Koech finished a third-place finish, with a time of 1:47.28.

It's redemption time for Saruni, as last year he collided with former teammate Emmanuel Korir at the start of the race and claimed eighth overall. Since the miscue at the NCAA finals last year, Saruni has claimed the NCAA Indoor title in the 800m by clocking the No. 2 time in NCAA history at 1:45.15. His time ranks just behind his coach, UTEP's Paul Ereng (Virginia, 1989) at 1:45.84.

Koech is embarking on second trip to the championships in the 800m. He took the C-USA indoor title in the mile run and finished second in the 800m, behind Saruni.

Head coach Mika Laaksonen said after the duos performance:

"This was the best possible outcome for us. Both got through from the heat that had by far the most talent in the field. We are very excited about Friday's final, it will be one to watch."

Both individuals will compete in Friday's final at 7:45 p.m. MT. It will be broadcasted live on ESPN.



More From 600 ESPN El Paso