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Tech Hosts First Home Outdoor Meet of 2014


The No. 14 Red Raiders and No. 16 Lady Raiders host the Texas Tech Open Saturday.

April 4, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech track and field program is set to host its first home outdoor meet of the 2014 season with the annual Texas Tech Open scheduled for Saturday at the Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex.

Field events are set to begin at 10:30 a.m. at the throws facility while running events at the Fuller Track will begin at 3 p.m. with the start of the 4x100 relays.

"We're very excited about returning home," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. "We are hosting some great talent, and it will provide a great opportunity to get some great marks and great times in front of our home fans."

Tech will host a handful of Division I programs including the SMU women's team, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Oral Roberts.  The Texas Tech Open will follow an NCAA standard scoring system (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1) and mark the first of three meets set to be held in Lubbock, a slate that includes the 2014 Big 12 Outdoor Championships May 16-18.

The No. 14 Red Raiders and No. 16 Lady Raiders are fresh off competition at the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays where three school records fell off the board in just three days of competition. Juniors JaCorian Duffield and Kole Weldon along with sophomore Hannah Carson each turned in record-breaking performance at the early outdoor meet.

Duffield took down a mark that had stood for 30-years with his clearance of 2.23-meters (7'-3.75") in the high jump - matching his indoor career-best and school record from earlier this year. The clearance leapt the Schertz, Texas native to a No. 2 spot on the national performance list, No. 1 in the West Region.

Meanwhile, Weldon broke a five-year-old mark in the shot put with a toss of 19.67-meters (64'-6.50") at the Texas Relays. He enters the Texas Tech Open No. 2 on both the national and West Region performance list.

Duffield and Weldon now hold both the indoor and outdoor school records in their respective events. Duffield shares the indoor high jump record - also 2.23-meters (7'-3.75") - with sophomore Bradley Adkins.  

In the throws, Hannah Carson surpassed her own school record in the javelin for the second time in as many meets with a mark of 54.03-meters (177'-3") at the Texas Relays. She enters the meet No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the West Region.

Tech enters the weekend with 13 athletes in the Top-15 of the West Region rankings along with both the Red Raider and Lady Raider 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

EVENT PREVIEWS

SPRINTS
Texas Tech is led by 2013 Big 12 100-meter Champion Cierra White who enters the Texas Tech Open ranked in the Top-3 among the West Region in both the 100-meters and the 200-meters. Her season-best time of 23.04 in the 200-meters currently leads the Big 12. White finished fifth in the finals of the 100-meters at the Texas Relays where she clocked a season-best time of 11.30. In her last race on the Fuller Track, White clocked a school record and stadium record time of 11.09 seconds - which ended the 2013 outdoor season at No. 4 on the national descending order list. Meanwhile, Trevor Mackey and teammate Treyvion Johnson both enter the Texas Tech Open in the top-25 of the West Region in the 100-meters. Mackey also ranks in the Top-25 in the West Region in the 200-meters.

HURDLES
Lady Raider sophomore Le'Tristan Pledger enters the Texas Tech Open fresh off a first place finish in the invitational section of the 100-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays. Pledger, a 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championship qualifier in the event, clocked a season-best time of 13.14 in the race - good for No. 3 in the West Region and No. 2 in the Big 12.  She was named the Big 12 Female Athlete of the Week following her performance at the UTSA Invitational to open the 2014 outdoor season. She clocked a time of 13.15 at the meet to jump to No. 1 in the early national rankings. Meanwhile, Red Raider Shujaa Benson enters the weekend No. 14 in the West Region with a season-best time of 14.11 in the 110-meter hurdles.

DISTANCE
Texas Tech will send a crop of distance runners to the San Francisco Distance Carnival as well as the Stanford Invitational, while senior Kennedy Kithuka is scheduled to compete in the 1,500-meter run at the Texas Tech Open. Marcos Vallejo, Jonathan Lira and Seraiah Pineda are scheduled to compete in the 5,000-meter run Friday in San Francisco, while Sharlene Nickle is entered in the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday at the Stanford Invitational.  Senior Brendan Devlin is set to compete Friday in the 10,000-meter run at the San Francisco Distance Carnival. Kithuka enters the Texas Tech Open after finishing as the runner-up at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships - he won the NCAA Indoor 5,000-meter title in 2013.

HORIZONTAL JUMPS
The Lady Raiders return NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier Le'Tristan Pledger in the long jump. She is scheduled to compete in the event Saturday and has gone an outdoor collegiate-best of 6.24-meters (20'-5.75") also at the 2013 Red Raider Open. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, are led in the horizontal jumps by Red Raider Shujaa Benson who boasts the No. 15 mark in the West Region with a season-best leap of 7.37-meters (24'-2.25") at the UTSA Invitational where he finished first overall in the competition. Benson went an outdoor career-best of 7.58-meters (24'-10.50") at the 2013 Red Raider Open. He went on to earn All-Big 12 honors with a fourth place finish at the conference meet in Waco.

VERTICAL JUMPS
Junior JaCorian Duffield enters the Texas Tech Open fresh off a record-breaking performance at the Texas Relays in which he cleared 2.23-meters (7'-3.75") on his third attempt to break a 30-year-old school record. Duffield now owns the outdoor record and shares the indoor school record with teammate Bradley Adkins. Duffield finished seventh at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships and is coming off a fifth place finished - where he also tied with Adkins - at the NCAA Indoor Championships. He is the first two-time All-American in the high jump in school history. Meanwhile, Duffield and Adkins are the first duo from the same program to finish in the top-5 at the NCAA Indoor Championships since 1999 (Arkansas). For the Lady Raiders, junior Michaela Palu enters the weekend fresh off a career-best clearance at the UTSA Invitational where she cleared 1.77 (5'-9.75") on  her first attempt. The mark currently ranks No. 12 in the West Region and No. 4 in the Big 12. Senior Red Raider Kyal Meyers enters the weekend fresh off a season-best clearance of 5.35 (17'-6.50") at the Texas Relays where he finished third. The clearance ranks No. 7 in the West Region and No. 2 in the Big 12.

THROWS
Junior Red Raider Kole Weldon and sophomore Lady Raider Hannah Carson will lead a strong contingent of Tech throwers into the Texas Tech Open. Both Carson and Weldon broke school records in their respective events at the Texas Relays in Austin last week. Carson first broke her own record in the javelin for the second time in as many weeks with a toss of 54.03-meters (177'-3") to finish third at the Texas Relays. Weldon, who finished third at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships,  later broke a five-year-old record in the shot put with a throw of 19.67 (64'-6.50"). Weldon finished runner-up at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in March.

RELAYS
The Lady Raider Relay team enters the Texas Tech Open fresh off a season-best performance at the Texas Relays where they crossed the finish line in 3:32.86 - marking the No. 10 time in school history. The performance ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 4 in the West Region. The squad was comprised of Montenae Roye-Speight, Christen Rivers, Amoy Blake and Cierra White - three of the four legs from a squad that advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year.  

 


 

 

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