Texas Tech Hosts Red Raider Open Saturday

The Texas Tech track and field program is set to compete in three meets across the country this weekend including the Red Raider Open.

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Feb. 1, 2013

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech track and field program is set to compete in three separate meets across the country this weekend including the Red Raider Open inside the Athletic Training Center on Saturday.

Action inside the ATC is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., while Tech is also sending a group of top athletes to both the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York, and the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame. Over 1,200 athletes have registered for Tech's Red Raider Open - the third and final home meet of the 2013 indoor season.

"We are just trying to put our kids in the best possible position," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittleysaid. "We have had three meets together as a team, and now we need to do what's best for those top individuals."

Meanwhile, a contingent of Red Raiders and Lady Raiders will compete at the elite Armory Collegiate Invitational scheduled to begin Friday afternoon in New York, and continue all day Saturday.

Texas Tech also traveled a group of distance runners to Notre Dame to compete in the prestigious Meyo Invitational. Texas Tech senior distance runner and school record holder Kennedy Kithuka is among the athletes scheduled to compete and will run in the 3,000-meter race set for Saturday.

The Red Raiders and Lady Raiders are coming off a highly successful showing at the Texas A&M Challenge last weekend where two school records were broken and senior hurdler Katie Grimes matched the school record in the women's 60-meter hurdles.

Texas Tech enters the weekend with five separate athletes appearing in the top-20 of the national indoor qualifying list for their specific events. Meanwhile, both men's and women's 4x400 relay and the men's distance medley relay rank in the top-20 as well.

The men's distance medley relay anchored by Kithuka, the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Champion, broke the school record last weekend and currently ranks No. 2 nationally. 

Kithuka also became the first Texas Tech athlete in school history to record a sub-four-minute mile after he finished first overall in the event at the Texas A&M Challenge with a school record time of 3:59.53. 

Texas Tech Events Breakdown


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 A&M Challenge -
Sophomore Cierra White finished second overall in the 200-meter dash at the Texas A&M Challenge with a season-best time of 23.85. Meanwhile senior Candace Jackson followed in fifth with a time of 24.05. On the men's side Joseph Richards III finished fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.84 - the first non-relay race of his Texas Tech career. Julian Munroe followed in seventh (49.38), while Taheric Brantley finished ninth (50.44).

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 A&M Challenge -
Texas Tech senior Katie Grimes remained undefeated on the season finishing first overall and tying her own school record with a time of 8.18 in the 60-meter hurdles at the Texas A&M Challenge. It marked her second consecutive first place finish at the Texas A&M Challenge. Furthermore, she has broken or tied a school record in three consecutive meets to open the 2013 indoor season. Her performance propelled her into the top-five nationally in the event at No. 4., and No. 2 in the Big 12.

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 A&M Challenge -  
The Texas Tech distance runners compiled perhaps their best meet of the 2013 season. Led by 2012 NCAA Cross Country Champion Kennedy Kithuka, the men's distance medley relay team broke the school record with a first place finish, crossing the line with a time of 9:41.55 on Friday evening. Kithuka anchored the relay with a split of 4:01.25. He then topped the meet off by becoming the first Texas Tech athlete to run a sub-four-minute mile breaking the school record with a time of 3:59.53 to finish first overall. A total of 12 Texas Tech middle distance and distance runners recorded season-best or career-best marks at the Texas A&M Challenge.

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 A&M Challenge -
Texas Tech freshman decathlete Kyle Thompson finished third at the Texas A&M Challenge with a career-best mark of 6.31-meters (20'-8.50"). Meanwhile, for the Lady Raiders, Gionna Jackson finished sixth with a mark of 5.58-meters (18'-3.75").

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 A&M Challenge -
Texas Tech sophomore Jacorian Duffield won his second meet of the season last weekend at the Texas A&M Challenge finishing first overall. Duffield cleared 6'-11.75" and has finished in the top-3 in each of the first three meets of the season. On the women's side, freshman Michaela Palu finished third clearing 5'-5.00". Freshman Red Raider Bradley Adkins finished fourth in the men's competition clearing 6'-8.25".

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 A&M Challenge -
Texas Tech All-American Kyal Meyers cleared his first bar of the season at the Texas A&M Challenge and finished second overall. Meyers cleared 5.19 (17'-0.25") on his first attempt after clearing 5.09 (16'-8.50") also on his first attempt. Meanwhile, Lady Raider freshman Shelby Poncik recorded a new career-best clearing 3.78 (12'-4.75") to finish fourth overall at the meet.

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 A&M Challenge -
Texas Tech freshman thrower Taji Henley recorded a career-best mark in the weight throw at the Texas A&M Challenge. Henley finished sixth with a toss of 16.75 (54'-11.50"). Meanwhile, teammate Kole Weldon continued his impressive 2013 campaign finishing second in the shot put with a mark of 18.20 (59'-8.50") - the second-longest throw in school history. Weldon broke the school record earlier this season at the Masked Rider Open with a throw of 18.47 (60'-7.25").

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 A&M Challenge -
For the third consecutive meet both Texas Tech 4x400 relays turned in impressive performances at the Texas A&M Challenge. Meanwhile, the men's distance medley relay broke the school record and finished first overall with a time of 9:41.55. The time currently ranks No. 2 nationally. The men's 4x400 relay recorded a season-best time of 3:11.09 to finish third overall. The Lady Raiders 4x400 team finished third with a time of 3:37.92.





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