Tuitoek Wins 1,500M as Tech Opens Action at Texas Relays

Texas Tech opened the Texas Relays with six season-best performances.

March 27, 2014

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Evans Tuitoek

AUSTIN, Texas  -  Six Texas Tech athletes recorded season-best marks, while sophomore newcomer Evans Tuitoek took home first place in the men's 1,500-meter run as Tech opened competition Thursday at the 87th Texas Relays in Austin.

In his first career 1,500-meter race as a Red Raider, Tuitoek edged out Robert Domanic of Mississippi on the final straightaway of Mike A. Myers Stadium late Thursday to cross the finish line first with a time of 3:52.74.

The performance highlighted a strong opening day of competition for Texas Tech at the annual meet, which features more than 6,000 athletes in each the high school, collegiate and professional ranks.

"It's always a positive when something like that happens in the last event of the night," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. "For a Red Raider to come across the line in first is just fantastic. It just showed me his potential, and I think that was the most encouraging thing."

Tuitoek, a transfer from Moi University in Kenya, joined the Texas Tech track and field team midway through the 2014 indoor season and earned All-Big 12 honors in both the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter run at the conference meet.

In Thursday's field events, Red Raider senior Kyal Meyers had a strong performance in the men's pole vault where he cleared a season-best bar at 5.35-meters (17'-6.50"). Meyers soared over the bar on his first attempt after clearing 5.20m (17'-0.50") on his second attempt.

The Big 12 Indoor Runner-Up finished third in the competition after missing on three attempts at 18'-.05", which stood just one half inch below the Texas Tech school record.

Red Raider junior Kole Weldon went on to record a career-best effort in the hammer throw. The 2013 All-American in the shot put finished 16th in the competition with a throw of 57.61-meters (189'-0") on his second attempt. The effort marked a two-foot improvement from his season-opening throw last week at UTSA.  It also marked the No. 7 throw in school history, and the best by a Red Raider since Killian Barry set the current school record in 2012.

Weldon will compete Friday in the men's shot put.

Sophomore Natalie Thompson finished 12th in the women's javelin throw with a season-best toss of 40.14-meters (131'-8").

In Tech's  first event on the track, sophomore Tiffany Tarver clocked a new collegiate-best time of 1:00.69 to finish 19th in the preliminaries of the women's 400-meter hurdles. She was followed by freshman teammate Shaelyn Grant who crossed in 1:02.37 to finish 40th overall.

Tarver's time marked the best by a Lady Raider in the 400-meter hurdles since 2010.

Red Raider senior Dwayne Extol went on to post a season-best time of 53.33 to finish 26th in the men's 400-meter hurdles. The time improved upon his mark of 53.60 at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational last week. He was followed by sophomore teammate Tramaine Maloney who crossed the finish line in 54.54 - also a season-best.

Texas Tech resumes action at the Texas Relays Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.





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