Kithuka Shatters School Record, Takes National Lead

Kennedy Kithuka broke the school record in the 5,0000-meter run Friday at the Tyson Invitational

Feb. 8, 2013

Senior Katie Grimes

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - A familiar trademark smile stretched across the face of Texas Tech senior Kennedy Kithuka as he cruised over the cardinal and white finish line and up the first bank of the Randal Tyson Track Center Friday evening.

In a marquee performance on the opening day of the Tyson Invitational, the Thika, Kenya native single-handedly brought the crowd of over 2,000 to a standing ovation with yet another historic performance.

And this, a performance that had Kithuka shaking hands amongst the crowd long after the race, was perhaps the most impressive.  

On the largest stage of the season, Kithuka shattered his third school record of the 2013 indoor season, this time in the 5,000-meter run. Kithuka cruised around the oval eventually crossing the line with a time of 13:26.65 - exactly one minute ahead of second place finisher Dan Quiqley, and 17 seconds faster than the previous national leader.

"I felt like it was a good performance," Kithuka said after the race. "It was a very good time. I knew I was going to make sure I ran well and get ready for conference and nationals.  I have confidence now, and just have to keep training hard."

The dominant performance was the second of two school records to fall for Texas Tech Friday evening at the Tyson Invitational.

Lady Raider Katie Grimes continued her dominant season in the 60-meter hurdles breaking her own school record in the event for the third time this season. The Canyon native finished second overall in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles clocking a time of 8.16 seconds -currently the No. 3 time in the nation.

Lady Raider freshman McKenzie Archer got the afternoon off to a fast start for Tech as she recorded a personal-best time in the mile run. Archer crossed the line with a time of 5:03.27. Meanwhile, in the invitational section of the women's mile, newcomer Sharlene Nickle finished fourth overall with a time of 4:53.67 - also a personal best and the fastest time by a Lady Raider in the mile this season.  

Moments later, junior Ezekiel Kissorio ran the second-fastest mile by a Red Raider this season finishing second overall in the college division of the competition, and clocking a time of 4:03.87. Kissorio got out to an early lead and held it for most of the race before Ryan Poland took the lead in the closing meters of the race.

The time marked a personal-best for Kissorio who also runs on the men's distance medley relay which broke the school record earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Nick Rivera continued his strong freshman campaign finishing second overall in the college division of the men's 800-meter run. Rivera, a La Puente, Calif. native, clocked a personal-best time of 1:52.

In the women's 800-meter run, junior Caitlin Waters turned in another impressive performance finishing fifth overall with a time of 2:12.94 - less than a second off her career- best.

In the 400-meter dash Red Raider freshman Joseph Richards III recorded a personal-best time finishing seventh overall in just 47.47 seconds. He was followed by Dwayne Extol who finished 12th with a time of 48.07. Teammates Kenneth Williams (19th- 48.51) and Julian Munroe (23rd - 48.71) followed.

Junior Amoy Blake led a pack of Lady Raiders in the women's 400-meter dash finishing fifth with a time of 54.42 seconds.

Texas Tech sophomore Cierra White advanced to the semifinals of the women's 60-meter dash where she finished 10th overall with a time of 7.41 - the second-fastest time of her career in the event.

Lady Raider freshman Haley Cook earned a top-five finish in the women's pole vault clearing 3.70-meters (12'-1.50"). She cleared the bar on her first attempt while teammate Shelby Poncik finished eighth overall clearing the same bar on her third attempt.

Texas Tech sophomore, and school record holder in the shot put, Kole Weldon also recorded a personal-best Friday evening as he recorded a throw of 17.25-meters (56'-7.25") to finish 14th in the men's weight throw. He was followed by teammate Taji Henley who finished 21st with a throw of 15.70-meters (51'-6.25").

Texas Tech returns to action Saturday at the Tyson Invitational for the final day of competition with events beginning at 11 a.m. 




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