Track and Field Begins Indoor Season Friday

Texas Tech begins its indoor season by hosting the Texas Tech Open this weekend.

Jan. 12, 2012

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LUBBOCK, Texas - The track and field team will kick off its 2012 indoor season Friday inside the Athletics Training Center by hosting the Texas Tech Open. The meet will be the first of back-to-back home meets to begin the indoor season for Tech.

"We want to use these first two meets to lay the groundwork," 13th-year head coach Wes Kittley said. "We want to get our feet wet and in a sense get back into the groove of racing."

The Texas Tech Open is a two-day event with Friday's events beginning at 5 p.m. The meet will resume Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

Kittley and his squad shouldn't need long to lay a solid foundation for the season as they return a core of athletes from a record-breaking 2011 season.

The program was recognized earlier this week when the women's team was ranked No. 8 in preseason USTFCCCA Preseason poll released on Tuesday afternoon. The Lady Raiders have four returning indoor All-Americans on the roster looking to make even more of an impact in the 2012. Meanwhile, the women's squad also boasts a newcomer class ranked No. 7 in the country by Track and Field News.

A total of five indoor All-Americans and eight school record holders return to the Texas Tech program from last season return to the Texas Tech roster this season.

Tech Women Ranked No. 8 in Preseason Poll

The Texas Tech women's indoor track and field team will begin the 2012 season ranked No. 8 in the nation according to the USTFCCCA Preseason Computer Poll released Tuesday.

The women's team enters the 2012 season returning four athletes who earned All-American honors during the 2011 indoor season, along with a highly-touted group of newcomers looking to make an immediate impact.

"We are very excited," head coach Wes Kittley said. "I knew we had an opportunity to have a good year, but I am just glad we are getting the respect. Now we just have to do something about it."

The Red Raiders feature a class of newcomers recently ranked No. 7 in the country by Track and Field News. Four newcomers were ranked No. 1 nationally in their events during their high school careers.

The No. 8 preseason ranking marks the third time in five years the women's team has entered the season ranked in the Top 10, and the fourth time in the last five years that they have been ranked in the Top 15.

The Texas Tech track and field team begins its indoor season this weekend by hosting the Texas Tech Open. The meet is the first of back-to-back home meets to open the 2012 season.

"Hopefully the kids will get excited about it, and it will give us a good start to the season." Kittley added.

Tech Newcomers Ranked Seventh in Country

The current newcomers on the Texas Tech women's track and field squad have gained national attention as the team enters for the upcoming 2012 season. The current group has been ranked No. 7 in the nation by Track and Field News. Highlighting the class are four freshmen that were ranked No. 1 in the nation in their specific event during their high school careers.

The freshmen include Hannah Carson (javelin), LaTristan Pledger (long jump), Michaela Palu (high jump) and Cierra White (indoor 100-meter). Carson was named Gatorade Athlete of the Year and earned all-state honors at Chandler High School in Candler, Ariz. where she competed in the shot put, high jump, discus and javelin. Pledger earned all-state honors running the 100-meters and 200-meters, while also competing in the 100-meter hurdles and long jump at Washington High School in Kansas City, Kan.

As a standout in the 100-meters, 200-meters, 4X100 meter relay and 4X400 meter relay, White earned All-American honors at G. W. Carver High School in Philadelphia. Palu competed in eight events during her career at Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas and was a member of the 2009-10 All-State team.

Returning All-Americans

Bryce Lamb (Long Jump)

Erica Alexander (Distance Medley Relay)
Kelly Closse (Shot Put & Weight Throw)
Caroline Jepleting (Distance Medley Relay)
Ifeatu Okafor (Shot Put)




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