Nwokey Starts Strong in Heptathlon, Brathwaite Advances to Finals

Senior Precious Nwokey enters Friday fifth overall in the heptathlon with 3,548 points.

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June 7, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - As she has done throughout the year, senior Precious Nwokey turned in an impressive performance during the opening day of the women's heptathlon at the NCAA Championships. On another pristine afternoon at Drake Stadium, the senior put forth her strongest opening performance of the season with three personal-best marks en route to earning 3,548 after four events.

Nwokey enters Friday's competition in fifth place overall on the heels of the fast start.

"I was really proud of her," head coach Wes Kittley said. "She had a personal-best in the hurdles, and then turned around and had a fabulous jump of 5'-8.75" in the high jump which was a really big boost."

Texas Tech then benefited from a stellar race out of senior Shane Brathwaite who won the opening heat of the men's 110 meter hurdles with a time of 13:52 to advance to Saturday's finals. Tech has now advanced two hurdlers to the NCAA finals after senior Jamele Mason qualified in the 400 meter hurdles in Wednesday's opener.

"For him to be able to do that today is just remarkable," Kittley said. "We are really proud of him."

Nwokey turned in perhaps her most impressive performance during the high jump where she cleared a personal-best mark of 1.75 meters (5'-8.75") to finish third in the competition. Nwokey picked up a total of 916 points with the clearance to move from fourth to third in the overall standings entering the shot put.

The transfer from Kentucky, who broke the school heptathlon record at the Big 12 Championships in May, soared over the bar at 5'-8.75" on her second attempt after clearing three consecutive bars on her first attempt.

Nwokey began her day by finishing fourth in the 100 meter hurdles with a personal-best legal time of 13.50 and closed out Thursday's heptathlon events with a personal-best time of 23.96 in the 200 meter dash - good for second overall.

In the shot put she picked up 597 points with a throw of 11.03 meters (36'-2.25").

Nwokey enters Friday just 28 points behind fourth-place Chelsea Carrier-Eades of West Virginia and 48 points off second-place Barbra Nwaba of UC-Santa Barbra. Oregon's Brianne Theisen leads all athletes with 3803 points.

On the heels of Nwokey's performance in the heptathlon freshman Jacorian Duffield turned in a strong performance in the men's high jump clearing the bar at 2.15 meters (7'-0.50"). Duffield finished 17th overall after clearing bars at both 6'-8.75" and 6'-10.75" on his first attempt before clearing his final bar on his third attempt.

Duffield was one of just five freshmen to appear in the field of 24 at the NCAA Championships.

Katie Grimes ender her stellar junior campaign running a 13.20 in the women's 100 meter hurdles to finish fifth in her heat. Meanwhile, the women's 4x400 relay team ran a season-best time of 3:32.17, but finished fourth in their heat and did not qualify for Saturday's finals .

Texas Tech will have four athletes competing in finals on Friday as Mason and senior Gil Roberts look to score points for Tech after advancing out of the semifinal rounds on Thursday. Mason will compete in the 400 meter hurdles at 5:35 p.m., while Roberts will run the 400 meter dash at 6:55 p.m. Sophomore Kyal Meyers will compete in the finals of the men's pole vault at 4:30 p.m.

Nwokey will resume action in the heptathlon at 3 p.m. with the long jump.




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