Tech Makes Return to Mt. SAC Relays

Texas Tech will make its 14th-straight trip to the Mt SAC Relays this weekend.

April 16, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas -The Texas Tech track and field program is set to compete at the annual Mt. SAC Relays this weekend as the No. 8 Red Raiders and No. 16 Lady Raiders make their 14th-consecutive trip to Walnut, Calif. for the prestigious three-day meet.

Tech will open competition at Historic Hilmer Lodge Stadium Thursday, and continue alongside collegiate and professional athletes from across the world through Saturday.

"We love going to the Mt. SAC Relays," 15th-year head coach Wes Kittley said. "All of the west coast programs that are in our region will be there. We're really looking forward to having that competition with great weather."

Texas Tech enters the meet in the midst of a three-week road swing which began last week at the Wes Kittley Invitational in Abilene and will continue next week as athletes will compete at both the prestigious Penn Relays and the WT Classic in Canyon.

The Red Raiders and Lady Raiders will return to Lubbock May 3 for the final regular season home meet prior to the Big 12 Championships.

Texas Tech turned in a strong showing at the 2013 Mt. SAC Relays as the Lady Raider 4x400 relay capped off the meet with a first place finish in the elite section of the race. Three legs return from that squad, while the No. 8 Red Raiders will look for a strong performance out of senior Kennedy Kithuka in his first 5,000-meter race of the 2014 season.

Kithuka won an individual NCAA title at the distance during the 2013 indoor season, and is coming off a runner-up performance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last fall.

Tech also enters the meet with two of the top-5 men's high jumpers in the nation, along with Kole Weldon and Trevor Mackey who boast top-10 marks in the region in multiple events - Weldon in the shot put and discus and Mackey in the 100-meters and 200-meters.

Cierra White (100-meters and 200-meters), Sharlene Nickle (3,000-meter steeplechase) and Hannah Carson (javelin and discus) boast top-10 marks among the NCAA West for the Lady Raiders.

Live results from the meet will be provided by Flash Results West.  


Lady Raider junior Cierra White will lead a pack of female sprinters into the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays this weekend. White, the reigning Big 12 100-meter Champion will compete in the 200-meter dash, and enters with a season-best of 23.04 in the event. White broke the school record in the event last year with a career-best of 22.89. She is also scheduled to compete in the 100-meter dash at the Bryan Clay Invitational. White is a two-time national qualifier in the 200-meters and will run as a member of the Lady Raider 4x100 and 4x400 relay squads. Joining White in the 200-meters will be teammate Amoy Blake who enters the weekend fresh off a season-best time of 23.73 at the Wes Kittley Invitational last week.

Sophomore Le'Tristan Pledger, a 2014 national indoor qualifier in both the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump, will compete at the Bryan Clay Invitational Friday. Pledger enters with the No. 4 time in the NCAA West for the 100-meter hurdles with a season-best of 13.12 (converted for Altitude). Pledger broke the Texas Tech school records in both the 55-meter and 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season. Shujaa Benson will represent the Red Raiders in the 100-meter hurdles, and enters with fresh off a season-best performance of 13.85 at the Wes Kittley Invitational last week. His 13.85 ranks No. 10 in the NCAA West.

Red Raider senior Kennedy Kithuka will lead the Red Raider distance crew into the weekend as he competes in his first 5,000-meter run of the season. Kithuka, the 2013 NCAA Indoor 5,000-meter Champion and 2013 NCAA Cross Country Runner-Up, is coming off a first place finish in the 1,500-meter run at the Wes Kittley Invitational where he clocked a 3:45.98. Meanwhile, reigning Big 12 800-meter Champion Nick Rivera will compete in the 1,500-meters at Mt SAC and the 800-meter run at the Beach Invitational at Long Beach State. He enters with a season-best of 1:50.93 in the 800-meters and 3:49.64 in the 1,500-meters. Meanwhile, Lady Raider Sharlene Nickle will compete in both the 1,500-meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Nickle clocked a new collegiate-best time of 10:18.92 in the steeplechase April 8 at the Stanford Invitational - the time marked the best by a Lady Raider in the event since 2010 and enters the weekend No. 9 in the NCAA West.

Led by sophomore Gionna Jackson, Texas Tech enters the Mt. SAC Relays fresh off an impressive showing at the Wes Kittley Invitational. Jackson went a career-best 12.63-meters (41'-5.25"/3.4 wind) in the triple jump last week - a mark that ranks No. 13 in the NCAA West. Jackson also went a career-best in the long jump with a mark of 5.98-meters (19'-7.50"). Jackson is scheduled to compete in both the long and triple jump at the Mt. SAC Relays. She'll be joined by teammates, Paetyn Revell and Viershanie Latham in the triple jump.  Red Raider Jerome Wilson will represent the Red Raiders in the triple jump while Shujaa Benson will compete in the long jump. Benson earned All-Big 12 honors in the long jump in 2013, and has gone a season-best of 7.37-meters (24'-2.25") in 2014.

Texas Tech enters the weekend boasting two of the top-5 high jumpers in the nation in reigning All-Americans Bradley Adkins and JaCorian Duffield. The pair became the first duo from the same program in 15 years to finish in the top-5 at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and enter the Mt. SAC Relays with the top-2 marks in the Big 12 Conference and both appearing in the Top-15 of the IAAF World Rankings. Duffield broke a 30-year-old school record at the Texas Relays clearing 2.23-meters (7'-3.75") to match his indoor career-best. Adkins, meanwhile, enters the week with a season-best of 2.21-meters (7'-3.00"). The pair will both compete in the elite section of the high jump at Mt. SAC. Lady Raider Michaela Palu will represent Texas Tech in the women's high jump. She cleared a career-best 1.77-meters (5'-9.75") at the UTSA Invitational. Kyal Meyers will compete in the pole vault Friday at the Bryan Clay Invitational. The 2014 Big 12 Indoor Runner-Up enters the meet with a season-best clearance of 5.35-meters (17'-6.50"), which he cleared at the Texas Relays in March. Meyers has cleared a career-best of 5.41-meters (17'-9.00").

The Red Raiders and Lady Raiders enter the Mt. SAC Relays with  strong contingent of throwers led by junior Kole Weldon and sophomore Hannah Carson. Weldon, who finished third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the shot put last year, currently boasts a season-best and school record mark of 19.67-meters (64'-6.50"). The mark currently ranks No. 2 nationally. Meanwhile, Carson - a 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier in the javelin, enters the meet in the midst of a stellar sophomore campaign. Carson broke her own school record at the Texas Relays with a throw of 54.03-meters (177'-3"), which currently leads the Big 12 and ranks No. 5 nationally.

The Lady Raider 4x400 relay team will look to defend their Mt. SAC relay title from 2013 as the squad finished first overall in the elite section of the race last year. Three legs (Amoy Blake, Christen Rivers and Cierra White) return from the squad that finished in 3:33.25. The Lady Raiders enter the meet with a season-best time of 3:32.86 - good for No. 2 in the Big 12.

Texas Tech sent a crop of multi athletes to compete at the Mt. SAC/Cal Invite set for Wednesday and Thursday at Azusa Pacific. Sophomore Shanice Stewart finished fourth at the Big 12 Indoor Championships with 3,836 points and ended her indoor campaign with a season-best of 4,000 points which ranked as the No. 4. Performance in school history. Stewart enters the weekend with a season-best of 4,840 points in the heptathlon - good for No. 6 in the Big 12. Andi Morgan and Natalie Thompson will also compete in the heptathlon at Azusa Pacific.




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