Two Red Raiders Claim Big 12 Titles Sunday
Texas Tech freshman Nick Rivera became the first Red Raider to win a Big 12 Indoor Championship in the 800-meter run Sunday in Ames.
Feb. 24, 2013
Ames, Iowa - Texas Tech concluded action Sunday at the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships where two Red Raiders won conference titles and one broke a school record.
The Texas Tech men's squad finished fifth overall with 76 total points while the women finished sixth with 43.5 points. It marked the third top-five finish for the men in four years while the 76 points were the most by a Texas Tech men's team since 2008.
"It was a much better day overall," head coach Wes Kittley said. "I'm very proud of Kennedy [Kithuka] Nick [Rivera] and Kole [Weldon]. I'm just disappointed in our overall finish. Some of our top athletes just didn't compete to their potential, but our Big 12 Champions had a great meet."
Senior Kennedy Kithuka remained unbeaten during his career and won his second Big 12 title Sunday with a meet record performance in the 3,000-meter run, and teammate freshman Nick Rivera won the men's 800-meter run.
Kithuka's Sunday performance came after winning the Big 12 5,000-meter run Saturday.
"I was ready to come here and win both the 5,000 and the 3,000," Kithuka said. "I was confident, and knew I could break both of the meet records coming into it."
Kithuka took a commanding lead in the final 400-meters of the race to break his second meet record in as many days cruising across the finish line with a time of 7:53.72.
Moments earlier in the finals of the men's 800-meter run, Rivera took the lead in the final straight away to cross the finish line with a time of 1:52.53. It capped an impressive meet for the newcomer from La Puente, Calif., who also ran the third leg on the Red Raider distance medley relay team that won bronze Saturday evening.
With the performance, Rivera becomes the first Red Raider in school history to win a Big 12 title in the indoor 800-meter run.
"It means a lot," Rivera said. "I always wanted to go somewhere and be the first to do something. It's just an awesome feeling."
Texas Tech sophomore Kole Weldon won silver in the men's shot put with a mark of 18.94-meters (62'-1.75") and broke yet another school record in the process. Weldon recorded the mark on his second throw of the afternoon to push him into the finals before finishing as the runner up in the event. Weldon now owns each of the top-five indoor marks in school history in the shot put.
Katie Grimes continued her decorated senior season finishing as the runner up in the women's 60-meter hurdles. Grimes jumped out to an early lead through the first half of the race before crossing the finish line with a time of 8.18 seconds.
The second place finish was the best of her career at the conference indoor meet while the time marked the third fastest in school history. Texas Tech freshman Tramaine Maloney finished seventh in the finals of the men's 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.11.
Meanwhile, highlighting the women's field events, sophomore Avril McGhee earned silver in the women's triple jump. McGhee leaped 12.55-meters (41'-2.25") on her first attempt to solidify second place in the event. The mark is a new career best and the longest by a Lady Raider in the event in 23 years.
Texas Tech freshman Bradley Adkins turned in a memorable performance during his Big 12 Championship debut clearing a bar at 2.13-meters (6'-11.75") on his second attempt and winning bronze in the event. The third place finish is the best by a Red Raider in over a decade at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.
Meanwhile, the clearance of 6'-11.75" marks the second best of his young, but already decorated career.
Lady Raider sophomore Cierra White earned two top-five finishes on the day in each the women's 60-meter dash and later in the 200-meter dash. White finished fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.43 seconds before also finishing fifth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.65.
White was followed by teammate Candace Jackson in the 200-meter dash who finished eighth with a time of 24.21.
Red Raider senior Isaiah Gill earned a top-five finish in the finals of the men's 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 47.25. He was followed by teammate Joseph Richards III in sixth with a time of 47.48. Lady Raiders Amoy Blake and Christen Rivers finished sixth and eighth in the finals of the women's 400-meter.
The men's 4x400 relay team ended the meet finishing third with a season-best time of 3:09.55. Meanwhile, the Lady Raider 4x400 relay, which entered the meet second in the conference, earned bronze with a time of 3:36.16.
In the second day of action in men's heptathlon, Texas Tech freshman Kyle Thompson made a leap to sixth place after finishing first overall in the pole vault. Thompson went on to finish seventh with 4,991 points - the most by a Red Raider since 2009.