Tech Set to Host Annual Red Raider Open

Texas Tech will host the annual Red Raider Open Saturday at the Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex.

May 2, 2014

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech track and field program is set to host its final outdoor home meet of the regular season Saturday as the No. 9 Red Raiders and No. 25 Lady Raiders welcome teams from across the region for the annual Red Raider Open.

Field events for the one-day meet are scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. with running events set for a 6 p.m. start. The Red Raider Open will serve as the final tune up for the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships set for May 16-18 in Lubbock.

"We're coming into form," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said this week. "We have about two weeks before the Big 12 Championships, and I'm thrilled that we are at home. It's really perfect for what I'm wanting."

The meet marks the first at home for Texas Tech since the April 5 Texas Tech Open as the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders have competed at some of the top meets in the country including both the Mt SAC Relays and the Penn Relays in recent weeks.

Texas Tech will also send a group of three Red Raiders, including current NCAA 5,000-meter leader Kennedy Kithuka, to the prestigious Payton Jordan Invitational scheduled for Sunday at Stanford.

Kithuka is scheduled to run in the 10,000-meter run - his first of the season - while teammate Nick Rivera will run in the 1,500-meters and Evans Tuitoek in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Texas Tech enters this week with five marks appearing in the Top-10 of the NCAA Division I performance chart, including Kithuka's NCAA-leading and school record time of 13:26.98 in the 5,000-meter run. Tech also boasts two men's high jumpers in the Top-6 as junior JaCorian Duffield currently owns a school record and season-best mark of 2.23-meters (7'-3.75"), No. 3 on the NCAA performance list.  

Meanwhile, sophomore teammate Bradley Adkins boasts a season-best of 2.21-meters (7'-3") - No. 6 nationally. The duo are currently leading the Big 12 in the men's high jump and coming off a historic indoor season where they tied for fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

For the Lady Raiders, sophomore thrower Hannah Carson currently leads the Big 12 in the women's javelin with a school record mark of 54.03-meters (177'-3"), which also ranks No. 5 in the NCAA this week. The women's javelin will kick off events at the Red Raider Open with scheduled start time of 10:30 a.m. at the Texas Tech Throws Facility adjacent to the Ranching Heritage Center on 4th St. in Lubbock.   


Tech enters the week led by a strong pack of Lady Raider sprinters including reigning Big 12 100-meter Champion and Philadelphia native Cierra White. The junior enters the week with a season-best of 11.30 in the 100-meters, and 23.00 in the 200m - both of which rank in the top-15 nationally. White owns the school record in both events (11.09/100m & 22.89/200m). White broke the 100-meter school record at the 2013 Red Raider Open and went on to become the first Lady Raider to win a title in the event since 2001. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders will be represented by Trevor Mackey who enters the week with Top-10 marks among the NCAA West in both the 100-meters and 200-meters. Mackey's season-best of 22.47 in the 200-meter dash marks the fastest time in school history under any conditions, and was clocked with the assistance of a 3.6 meters-per-second tailwind. It stands at No. 1 on the 200-meter wind aided times at Texas Tech.

Lady Raider sophomore Le'Tristan Pledger leads the pack of Tech hurdlers into the Red Raider Open with the current school record time of 13.09 in the 100-meter hurdles. She went 13.08 at the Texas Tech Open (April 5) with a 2.2 m/s tailwind. Pledger qualified for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in each the 110-meter hurdles and the long jump - she finished third at the Big 12 Championships last year. Meanwhile, Shujaa Benson and Dwayne lead the pack of Red Raider hurdlers. Benson boasts a season-best of 13.85 in the 100-meter hurdles - good for No. 12 in the NCAA West - while Extol enters with a season-best of 51.73 in the 400-meter hurdles, currently No. 16 in the NCAA West.

The Red Raiders will send three distance runners to the Stanford Payton Jordan Invitational. Senior Kennedy Kithuka, who clocked the nation's leading and school record time of 13:26.98 at the Mt. SAC Relays, will run in his first 10,000-meter race of the season at the prestigious meet Sunday. Joining Kithuka will be teammates Evans Tuitoek and Nick Rivera. Rivera, the reigning Big 12 800-meter Champion is scheduled to compete in the 1,500-meter run. Tuitoek, who has won six of his seven races this year, will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He enters with a season-best of 8:57.81 which he clocked at the Mt. SAC Relays.

At the West Texas A&M last week, freshman Paetyn Revell recorded the furthest mark of the season in the triple jump going 12.80-meters (42'-0.00") with the assistance of a 4.9 meters-per-second tailwind. The mark stands as the No. 2 wind assisted jump in school history, but will not be considered on the national qualifying list. Sophomore Gionna Jackson currently paces the Lady Raiders in the event at No. 17 among the NCAA West with a season-best mark of 12.63-meters (41'-5.25"). Sophomore Le'Tristan Pledger, a 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier, currently boasts a season-best of 6.10-meters (20'-0.25") in the long jump - good for No. 17 in the NCAA West and No. 4 in the Big 12. Meanwhile, Jerome Wilson paces the Red Raiders with a season-best of 14.96 (49'-1.00") in the triple jump, good for No. 33 in the NCAA West. Teammate Shujaa Benson enters the week with a season-best of 7.42-meters (24'-4.25"), currently No. 37 in the NCAA West.

Texas Tech enters the week with two of the top-6 high jumps in the country in junior JaCorian Duffield and sophomore Bradley Adkins. Duffield enters the meet with a school record and season-best clearance 2.23-meters (7'-3.75") which matched his indoor career-best. Adkins enters with a season-best clearance of 2.21-meters (7'-3"). Duffield and Adkins tied for fifth place at the NCAA Indoor Championships becoming the first duo from the same program to finish in the top-5 of the NCAA Indoor Championships since 1999. The pair went 2-3 at the 2013 Big 12 Outdoor Championships and 2-3 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in March.  Meanwhile, the Lady Raider pole vaulters turned in career performances at West Texas A&M last week, as the trio of Haley Cook, Reece Timmons and Blake Wood each cleared 3.87-meters (12'-8.25") - which ranks No. 3 in the Big 12 entering this week. Red Raider senior Kyal Meyers, who finished runner-up at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in March, has cleared a season-best of 5.35-meters (17'-6.50") at the Texas Relays, good for No. 3 in the conference.

Red Raider senior and reigning All-American Kole Weldon leads Texas Tech into the Red Raider Open pacing the squad in the shot put, hammer and discus. Weldon has already broken school records this year in the shot put (19.67-meters/64'-6.50" @ Texas Relays) and the hammer throw (60.92-meters/199'-10" @ The Texas Tech Open), and was the only athlete in the Big 12 to earn All-Conference honors in all three last year. He is currently No. 2 in the conference in each of the three events, and the only athlete in the conference to boast Top-2 marks in all three. Meanwhile sophomore Hannah Carson has turned in a stellar season for the Lady Raiders. She enters the Red Raider Open No. 5 nationally, and No. 1 in the Big 12, with a season-best and school record mark of 54.03-meters (177'-3"). At the Texas Tech Open (April 5), Carson bested her own facility record with a throw of 50.39-meter (165'-4") to easily win the event.

The Lady Raider 4x400 relay team returns to the Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex after advancing to the Championships of America finals at the Penn Relays last week where they finished sixth with a time of 3:35.61. The squad boasts a season-best time of 3:32.86, clocked in March at the Texas Relays and return three legs from a team that advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2013 and won the Big 12 Indoor Championship in March. The 2014 `A' squad consists of Christen Rivers, Amoy Blake, Cierra White and Montenae Roye-Speight. Meanwhile, the Red Raider 4x100 relay enters the Red Raider Open with a 2014 season-best of 40.00 clocked at the Wes Kittley Invitational. The squad, consisting of Treyvion Johnson, Joseph Richards III, Darien Tennon and Dwayne Extol, ranks No. 4 in the Big 12 entering this weekend.




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