Tech Track and Field Set For NCAA Championships|
The No. 24 Red Raiders and No. 15 Lady Raiders are set of the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.
March 13, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Texas Tech track and field program is set to open competition this weekend at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships to be held Friday and Saturday inside the Albuquerque Convention Center.
The No. 24 Red Raiders and No. 15 Lady Raiders combined to qualify seven student-athletes along with the Big 12 Champion Lady Raider 4x400 Relay Team for the national meet.
"It's always a fun time of the year," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. "It's the cream of the crop, the kids that have earned their way to the national championships. It's really an elite group, and we are very excited about the group we are taking. I really feel every kid has the chance to be an All-American, I feel this is the best group we've taken."
Competition for the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders in downtown Albuquerque is set to begin Friday at 4 p.m. ESPN3 will have the broadcast of the meet, while live results can be found by visiting FlashResults.com.
The No. 24 Red Raiders finished a program-best fifth overall at the NCAA Indoor Championships last season, and are coming off a fourth place finish at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa.
Meanwhile, the No. 15 Lady Raiders will look for a strong performance out of its four qualifiers and reigning All-American 4x400 relay team. The relay, which returns three legs from a team that finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships, won its first-ever Big 12 Championship at the conference meet earlier this season. They return to the track where in February, the squad clocked its season-best time of 3:34.08 at the New Mexico Classic - which ranks as the third-fastest relay time in school history.
Red Raider thrower Kole Weldon returns to the NCAA Championship seeking his third-straight All-America honor in the shot put while Lady Raider Cierra White will look for her second-straight All-America honor in the sprints after finishing sixth in the 100-meter dash at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
TEXAS TECH NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
Le'Tristan Pledger (So.) - 60-meter hurdles
Bradley Adkins - Sophomore - High Jump
Sophomore high jumper Bradley Adkins enters the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships fresh off a career-best performance at the Big 12 Indoor Championships where he matched the school record in the high jump with a clearance of 2.23-meters (7-3.75). He finished third in the competition, reaching the final bar (7-5) alongside teammate JaCorian Duffield and Big 12 Champion Cameron Ostrowski of Iowa State before the event was decided on earlier misses.
Adkins is making his second-straight appearance at an NCAA Championship after qualifying for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in June. He has cleared four bars over 7-feet this season including a bar of 2.21 (7-3.00) at the New Mexico Don Kirby Elite held inside the Albuquerque Convention Center. The sophomore enters the meet No. 6 nationally with his season-best of 2.23 (7-3.75). Adkins is one of just five Tech high jumpers to clear 7-3 in the last 21 years.
In 2013, Adkins finished third at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships (7-1.5), and third at the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships (6-11.75).
JaCorian Duffield - Junior - High Jump
Junior JaCorian Duffield enters the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships after finishing runner-up at the Big 12 Indoor Championships where he matched his school record and career-best mark of 2.23 (7-3.75) in the high jump. The 2013 Outdoor All-American has cleared the height twice this season after first breaking the 30-year-old school record at the Texas Tech Open (Jan. 17) in his season-opener.
The Schertz, Texas native, who finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, surpassed the previous record of 7-3.50 set in 1984, and is one of just five Red Raiders in school history - including teammate Bradley Adkins - to clear 7-3. He was the first Texas Tech outdoor All-American in the high jump since Darrell Roddick in 2010 and one of three in school history. He'll look to become the first indoor high jump All-American since 2011.
Duffield has competed twice already at the Albuquerque Convention Center where her finished second at the New Mexico Classic and third at the Don Kirby Collegiate Elite.
This will mark Duffield's first appearance at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Le'Tristan Pledger - Sophomore - Long Jump and 60-meter Hurdles
Sophomore Le'Tristan Pledger is a 2014 national qualifier in both the 60-meter hurdles and the long jump following a stellar indoor campaign where she ranked in the top-10 nationally in both events. Pledger returns to the track where in February she broke the school record with a time of 8.07 seconds in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles at the New Mexico Classic. She went on to finish third overall in the finals and first among collegians. Pledger will look to become Tech's first female athlete in school history to earn indoor All-America honors in the long jump.
Pledger will also compete in the long jump after going an indoor collegiate-best of 6.32-meters (20-9.00) at the Alex Wilson Invitational. The mark leapt her to No. 9 nationally and No. 3 in school history in the event. She went on to finish sixth in the 60-meter hurdles and fifth in the long jump at the Big 12 Championships.
As a freshman in 2013, Pledger qualified in both the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She finished ninth in the long jump to earn All-America Second Team honors with a mark of 6.29-meters (20-7.75).
Pledger also broke the school record in the 55-meter hurdles in January with a blistering 7.59 seconds - a mark that ranked No. 1 collegiately for the 2014 indoor season. In 2013, she finished third at the Big 12 Championships in the 100-meter hurdles (13.23) and fourth in the long jump (6.16-meters/20-2.50).
Shanice Stewart - Sophomore - Long Jump
Lady Raider Shanice Stewart enters the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships on the heels of a strong season in the long jump and the pentathlon. The sophomore qualified for the national meet in the long jump with a season-best leap of 6.30 (20-8.00) at the Masked Rider Open (1/31) in the pentathlon. The mark ended the 2014 indoor season No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 10 nationally. Meanwhile it was the No. 4 mark in school history.
Stewart finished fourth in the long jump at the Big 12 Championships and fourth in the pentathlon with 3,836 points.
The San Bernardino Valley College transfer ended the 2014 season No. 22 nationally in the pentathlon with a season-best of 4,000-points. Her 4,000 points at the Masked Rider Open rank fourth in school history.
Cierra White - Junior - 200-meters/4x400 Relay
Lady Raider junior sprinter Cierra White makes her return to the NCAA Championships as a qualifier in the 200-meter dash and as a leg on the 4x400 relay team. White, who received votes on the Bowerman Preseason Watch List, enters the weekend with the No. 16 mark nationally in the 200-meters - a season-best time of 23.43 seconds clocked at the Tyson Invitational. The time led the Big 12 Conference and stands as the second-fastest in school history. White will look to become Tech's first women's indoor All-American in the 200-meter dash.
At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, White helped the Lady Raiders to win the program's first Big 12 4x400 Relay Championship in school history. The squad will look to earn Tech's third-straight All-America honor as White - along with current relay members Christen Rivers and Amoy Blake - return from the squad that finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville.
In 2013, White earned All-America Second Team honors in the 200-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and was crowned as the Big 12 Champion in the 100-meter dash.
White had a strong performance at the New Mexico Classic earlier this season as she broke the school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.32 seconds in February.
Kole Weldon - Junior - Shot Put
Junior Red Raider thrower Kole Weldon enters the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships on the heels of yet another stellar season in the shot put. Weldon finished runner-up at the Big 12 Championships and boasts the nation's No. 5 throw with a season-best and school record toss of 20.11-meters (65'-11.75"). He recorded the throw at the Albuquerque Convention Center in a first place finish at the New Mexico Classic.
Weldon finished runner-up at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships to become Tech's first-ever All-American in the shot put last season. He went on to finish third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, earning his second All-America honor in the event, and will seek his third-straight top-3 finish this weekend.
The Jacksboro, Texas native also holds the school record in the weight throw as he finished runner-up at the Big 12 Championships with a heave of 19.94-meters (65'-5"). Weldon holds each of the top-10 throws in school history in the indoor shot put and four of the top-5 throws in the weight throw.
The Lady Raider 4x400 relay team enters the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championship fresh off its first-ever Big 12 Conference title. The squad, comprised of Montenae Roye-Speight, Cierra White, Christen Rivers and Amoy Blake won the conference championship with a time of 3:34.90 outlasting a team from Texas on the final straightaway of the Lied Recreation Center.
The Lady Raiders have earned two-straight All-America First Team honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships finishing seventh at both the 2012 and 2013 national meets and will look for their third-straight top-8 national finish, which would mark a first in the Wes Kittley Era (2000-present.)
The Lady Raiders have clocked a season-best of 3:34.08 which they recorded on the Albuquerque Convention Center track at the New Mexico Classic in February. The performance marked the third-fastest time in school history for the indoor 4x400. Three legs (Blake, Rivers and White) return from the squad that finished seventh at the NCAA Indoor Championships last season and set the school record at the Alex Wilson Invitational.