Four Punch Tickets to Eugene Thursday|
Kole Weldon qualified for his second consecutive NCAA Championship meet in the discus throw Thursday.
May 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - Three Red Raiders and a Lady Raider officially punched their tickets to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene on the opening day of action at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin.
In a string of strong performances, Texas Tech freshman Bradley Adkins, sophomore Jacorian Duffield, freshman Le'Tristan Pledger, and sophomore Kole Weldon each finished in the top-12 of their events and will represent Texas Tech in the national meet at Historic Hayward Field in June.
"I feel really good about today," head coach Wes Kittley said. "I feel like it's a good start."
Thursday's strong start marked the first of three full-days of competition at the first round of the NCAA Championships as five more Texas Tech athletes advanced out of the first rounds and into the quarterfinals of their events scheduled for Friday.
Weldon was the first Red Raider of the afternoon to punch his ticket to Eugene after advancing out of the preliminaries of the men's discus throw before finishing ninth in the finals with a toss of 56.62-meters (185-feet- 9 inches).
Weldon has now qualified for two consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships in the men's discus throw after finishing as the runner up in the men's shot put at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships. The Jacksboro, Texas native advanced to the outdoor championships in the discus last year as a freshman. Texas Tech has now qualified at least one men's discus thrower to the NCAA Championships in four straight seasons dating back to 2010.
Weldon is also scheduled to compete in the men's shot put tomorrow at 6 p.m. and enters the meet with the No. 2 mark in the region.
Adkins and Duffield then carried over their success from the Big 12 Championship meet earlier this month and turned in a strong performance in the high jump. Duffield cleared all three attempts on the day including his first attempt at 2.16-meters (7'-1") finishing tied for first overall. Adkins cleared the final bar on his third and final attempt and finished the meet seventh overall.
"We just had a good meet," Adkins said. "We came in and we just started rolling. JaCorian jumped great today."
Pledger capped off the evening by recording a career-best in the women's long jump. The Kansas City native leapt 6.37-meters (20'-10.75") on her second attempt. Pledger would pass on her final four attempts and finish fourth in the competition to officially qualify for the NCAA Championship meet.
"I improved a lot on my second jump," Pledger said. "I kind of tucked a little and didn't get all of my extension, but other than that it was a great feeling."
The Red Raiders qualified both Isaiah Gill and Dwayne Extol to the quarterfinals of the men's 400-meter hurdles. Gill finished 16th and third in his heat with a time of 51.45 seconds. Extol meanwhile also finished third in his heat with a time of 51.68 to qualify for the quarterfinals scheduled for Friday at 7:45 p.m.
Later on the track, sophomore sprinter Cierra White cruised to a first place finish in her heat of the 100-meter dash. White, the 2013 Big 12 Outdoor Champion in the event, crossed the finish line in just 11.12 seconds to qualify for the quarterfinals scheduled for Friday evening.
White will also compete in the first round of the 200-meter dash Friday at 8 p.m.
Also in the sprints, Lady Raider newcomer Christen Rivers qualified for the quarterfinals of the women's 400-meter dash finishing 21st overall with a time of 53.55. Freshman Red Raider Joseph Richards III followed and qualified for the quarterfinals of the men's 400-meter dash after finishing third in his heat and 16th overall. Richards crossed the line in 46.94 seconds.
Texas Tech will resume competition at the NCAA West Preliminaries Friday at 5 p.m. with the first round of the women's 100-meter hurdles.