Tech Hosts Masked Rider Open

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Jan. 17, 2013

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech track and field program returns to action this weekend hosting the Masked Rider Open inside the Athletic Training Center. The two-day meet is scheduled to begin Friday at 5 p.m. and continue all day Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.

The meet marks the second of back-to-back home events to open the 2013 indoor season as the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders will look to improve upon a successful home opener last weekend.

Tech enters the meet with a handful of athletes appearing in the national indoor rankings including senior hurdler Katie Grimes who opened her 2013 season by breaking the school record in the 55-meter hurdles. Grimes enters the meet ranked No. 11 nationally with a mark of 7.71 in the event, and now owns each of the top five times in school history in the event.

She is joined by sophomore high jumper Jacorian Duffield who is ninth nationally in the high jump after finishing first in the Texas Tech Open with a clearance of 2.18m (7'-1.75"). Sophomore Kole Weldon also had a fast start to the season with an indoor personal-best throw of 17.76m (58'-3.25") in the men's shot put to rank 14th in the country.

Meanwhile both relay teams enter the meet appearing near the top of the national indoor rankings as the Lady Raiders own the sixth-fastest time in the country (3:40.76) and the Red Raiders rank No. 13 nationally with a time of 3:13.29.

A total of 56 teams and over 1,400 athletes have officially registered to compete this weekend at the Masked Rider Open.



Returning All-Americans Candace Jackson, Olivia Lewis and Cierra White will highlight the Texas Tech sprints in 2013. Jackson, an eight-time All-American, returns after helping guide the Tech indoor 4x400 relay to All-America First Team honors during the 2012 indoor season. Jackson earned second team All-America honors during the 2011 outdoor season in the 400m. The Dallas native enters the 2013 indoor season with a personal-best of 7.03 in the 55-meter dash and a personal-best of 53.85 in the 400-meter.
Lewis was also a member of the Lady Raider 4x400 indoor relay team in 2012 and enters 2013 with a personal-best of 54.91 in the indoor 400-meter.  White, who had a breakout 2012 as one of the top young sprinters for the Lady Raiders enters with a personal-best time of 7.03 in the 55-meter dash and a personal-best time of 23.62 in the 200-meter.

At the Texas Tech Open -
White finished second overall in the finals of the women's 55-meter dash last weekend with a time of 7.03 -a new personal-best in the event. Meanwhile, Texas Tech senior Taheric Brantley turned in a solid performance during last weekend's season opener. Brantley recorded a personal-best mark of 6.52 to finish 10th in the finals of the men's 55-meter dash.

Senior Lady Raider Katie Grimes highlights the Texas Tech hurdlers in 2013. The returning All-American and school record holder in both the 55-meter and 60-meter hurdles will look to improve upon a stellar junior campaign. Grimes set the school record in the 55-meter hurdles (7.74) and the 60-meter hurdles (8.18).
Meanwhile, the Red Raiders will welcome newcomer Tramaine Maloney, cousin of former Red Raider hurdler and 2012 Olympian Shane Brathwaite. Brathwaite along with Jamele Mason, the 2012 NCAA 400-meter hurdle runner-up and Puerto Rico Olympian, graduated following the 2012 season. 

At the Texas Tech Open -
Grimes finished first overall in the women's 55-meter hurdles with a school record time of 7.71. She now owns each of the top-five marks in school history in the event after finishing first with a time of 7.76 in the preliminaries - the third-fastest mark in school history. Grimes ranks No. 11 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12 entering this weekend's meet.

2012 NCAA Cross Country Champion Kennedy Kithuka will lead the pack of Texas Tech distance runners as the 2013 track and field indoor season arrives. Kithuka, who was named the 2012 Male Athlete of the Year for the 2012 cross country season and appears on The Bowerman Men's Preseason Watch List, went undefeated in seven meets including the NCAA Championship. Kithuka captured indoor national titles in the 3,000-meter run and as a member of the Distance Medley Relay in 2012 while at Wayland Baptist. He also won national titles in the 10,000-meter run and the 5,000-meter run during the 2012 outdoor season.

At the Texas Tech Open -
Lady Raider junior Caitlin Waters finished first overall in the women's 1,000-meter run with an indoor personal-best mark of 2:59.55. She was followed by teammate McKenzie Archer in second (3:01.46) as Tech swept the top-two spots in the event. Meanwhile, freshman Nick Rivera finished first overall in the men's 1,000-meter run with an impressive time of 2:31.70.

Texas Tech welcomes back senior Bryce Lamb a three-time All-American and two-time Big 12 Champion in the long jump. Lamb earned All-America First Team in the indoor long jump last season after advancing to the NCAA Championships and finishing third overall with a mark of 7.86-meters (29'-9.50"). Lamb turned in a season-best mark of 7.94m (26'-0.75") while his collegiate-best is a school record of 8.14m (26'-8.50") which he recorded to win the 2010 Big 12 Indoor Championships during his freshman campaign.

At the Texas Tech Open -
Lady Raider freshman Gionna Jackson finished second overall win the women's long jump with a mark of  5.59m (18'-4.25"). Jackson recorded the mark on her fifth jump of the afternoon. Meanwhile, Red Raider newcomer Alec Arena finished fourth overall in the men's long jump with a mark of 6.79m (22'-7.75").

Texas Tech will return a young crop of talented high jumpers in 2013. The Red Raiders will be led by sophomore Jacorian Duffield who advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman and ended his outdoor year with four clearances over seven-feet. Duffield meanwhile cleared a season-best indoor bar of 2.17m (7'-1.50") at the Red Raider Open which marked the second-highest indoor clearance by a Red Raider in nine years.
Meanwhile, the Lady Raiders return freshman Michaela Palu who redshirted during the 2012 indoor season before competing during the outdoor season. Palu cleared a season-best height of 1.71m (5'-7.25") to finish first overall at the LSU Invitational before clearing a bar of 1.70m (5'-7.00") at the Big 12 Championships.

At the Texas Tech Open -
Texas Tech swept the men's and women's high jump competition and both Duffield and Palu finished first overall in their events. Duffield finished first overall with an impressive performance - clearing an indoor personal-best mark of 2.18m (7'-1.75"). The mark ranks No. 9 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Palu also had a solid start to her 2013 indoor campaign finishing first with a clearance of 1.69m (5'-6.50").

Texas Tech junior Kyal Meyers returns to the pole vault runway for Texas Tech in 2013 after earning All-America honors during both the indoor and outdoor seasons a year ago. Meyers, the 2011 Big 12 indoor champion, finished 11th overall at the NCAA Indoor Championships last season and cleared six bars over 17-feet - including a personal best mark of 5.38m (17'-7.75"). Seniors Jeremy Doddridge and Boston Spiva also return for the Red Raiders.

At the Texas Tech Open -
Texas Tech swept the top three spots in the men's pole vault led by senior Jeremy Doddridge who cleared an indoor personal-best height of 5.05m (16'-6.75"). Doddridge was followed by freshmen Kyle Thompson and Kyle Padalecki who finished second and third - both clearing 4.90m (16'-0.75").
One the women's side, freshman Haley Cook finished second in the pole vault clearing bar at 3.70m (12'-1.50"). 

Texas Tech will return a balance of talent in the throws as 2011 All-American and Big 12 Shot Put Champion Ifeatu Okafor returns for her senior indoor season. Okafor recorded the fourth-best throw in school history at the 2011 Big 12 Championships - a personal-best mark of 17.10m (54'-1.25").  Meanwhile, the Red Raiders return the services of sophomore Kole Weldon who is coming off a freshman outdoor campaign where he advanced to the NCAA Championships. Weldon enters the 2013 indoor season with a personal-best indoor shot put mark of 17.59m (57'-8.00") and a personal-best indoor weight throw mark of 17.20m (56'-5.25").

At the Texas Tech Open -
Okafor took home a first place finish in the women's shot put with a mark of 15.63m (51'-3.50") on her fourth attempt. Meanwhile, Weldon finished second in both the men's shot put and weight throw. He recorded an indoor personal-best mark of 17.76m (58'-3.25") in the shot put on his first attempt. Weldon's throw ranks 14th nationally and second in the Big 12.

Texas Tech's Lady Raider 4x400 relay team earned All-America First Team honors in 2012 after finishing seventh overall at the national meet. The Lady Raiders return both seniors Candace Jackson and Olivia Lewis from that squad which recorded two of the top-five times in school history during the 2012 season.

At the Texas Tech Open - 
Both Tech relays finished first overall in the 4x400 at the Texas Tech Open. The Lady Raiders crossed the finish line with a mark of 3:40.76 - which ranks No. 6 nationally and second in the Big 12. Meanwhile the Red Raiders crossed the finish line with a time of 3:13.29, which ranks No. 13 nationally and second in the Big 12.





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