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Tech Begins NCAA Postseason Run at Arkansas


Texas Tech opens competition at the NCAA West Preliminaries Thursday.

May 28, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Texas Tech track and field team begins its NCAA postseason journey Thursday as the No. 5 Red Raiders and No. 15 Lady Raiders open competition at the NCAA West Preliminaries at John McDonnell Field in Arkansas.

Field events Thursday are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. followed by events on the track at 4:30 p.m. Results throughout the weekend can be found in real-time by visiting Flash Results online.

Tech will be well represented at the meet with a total of 49 entries between the men's and women's teams. The top-48 athletes among the West Region in each event advanced to the NCAA West Preliminaries, with the top-12 finishers this weekend qualifying for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. June 11-14.

"That's what I've been proud of all year," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. "We've been a team. We've had a bunch of people do their job, we're spread out and it's fun."

Texas Tech enters the meet fresh off a memorable showing at the Big 12 Championships in Lubbock where the Red Raiders were crowned conference champions for the first time since 2005, while the Lady Raiders finished third overall - their best showing since 2009.

The Big 12 league coaches went on to recognize Texas Tech following the meet as Kittley was tabbed as the conference Coach of the Year, while senior Red Raider Kennedy Kithuka - who swept the men's 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter run - was named the Performer of the Year.

Kithuka enters the weekend appearing on the Bowerman Trophy Watch List, and holds the nation's leading time in the 5,000m along with the No. 2 time in the 10,000m.

The Red Raiders, who enter the NCAA West Preliminaries boasting 27 total entries, became the first team to win a Big 12 Championship on its home track since Colorado in 2008. The squad has been ranked inside the top-5 of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association computer rankings for two consecutive weeks, and is the highest ranked men's team in the Big 12.

The Lady Raiders, meanwhile, enter the meet boasting their second straight top-15 national ranking and a total of 22 total entries. Lady Raider junior Shanice Stewart has already punched her ticket to Eugene for the NCAA Championships as one of 24 heptathletes to qualify for the final round. She finished runner-up at the Big 12 Championships with a career-best 5,674 points - which ended the regular season No. 5 nationally on the descending order list.

EVENT PREVIEWS

SPRINTS
Reigning 100-meter All-American Cierra White will look to make her return to the NCAA Championships as she enters the NCAA West Preliminaries fresh off runner-up performances in each the 100-meters and 200-meters at the Big 12 Championships. White finished sixth at the 2013 NCAA Championships in the 100m and enters this weekend with a career-best and school record of 11.09 in the event while boasting the current No. 4 seed time in the 100m and No. 8 seed in the 200m. The Lady Raiders also qualified Montenae Roye-Speight (No. 16) and Amoy Blake (No. 26) in the 400m. Red Raider junior Trevor Mackey, who earned All-Big 12 honors in both the 100m and 200m at the Big 12 Championships will lead the Tech men in Fayetteville. He enters with the No. 6 seed time of 20.47 in the 200m. The Red Raiders also qualified Treyvion Johnson in the 200m (No. 33) and Joseph Richards III in the 400m (No. 8).

HURDLES
Texas Tech enters the NCAA West Preliminaries with a deep roster of hurdlers - led by Shujaa Benson and Le'Tristan Pledger. Pledger enters the weekend No. 4 in the women's 100-meter hurdles fresh off a season-best of 12.89 in the finals of the Big 12 Championships. Meanwhile Benson enters with a season-best of 13.85 in the men's 110H - good for a No. 14 seed mark. The Red Raiders also qualified Tramaine Maloney in the 110H (No. 17) along with freshman JW Smith and Dwayne Extol in the 400H - No. 23 and No. 28 respectively.

DISTANCE
Red Raider senior and Big 12 Performer of the Year Kennedy Kithuka will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships in both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter run after cruising to a Big 12 title in both at the conference meet. Kithuka enters with the No. 1 seed time in the 5,000m and No. 2 seed time in the 10,000m. He'll be joined at the meet by teammate Evans Tuitoek in the 5000m (No. 42). Tuitoek will also compete in the 3,000m steeplechase and enters with the No. 14 seed time. Meanwhile Nick Rivera qualified in the 800m with the No. 45 seed time.

The Lady Raiders will be represented this weekend by Caitlin Waters in the 800m and Sharlene Nickle in the 3000mSC. Waters enters with the No. 19 seed time of 2:06.72 in the 800m while Nickle enters at No. 22 in the 3000mSC at 10:18.92.

HORIZONTAL JUMPS
Texas Tech qualified 10 horizontal jumpers for the NCAA West Preliminaries - a group that includes seven Lady Raiders. Gionna Jackson paces the pack as she enters the weekend with the No. 7 seed mark (13.03m) in the triple jump and No. 44 seed mark in the long jump (6.03m).

Meanwhile, newly crowned Big 12 Champion Shujaa Benson will compete in the long jump as he enters the weekend with the No. 7 seed mark after his performance at the conference meet where he went a career-best 7.84 (25'-8.75") - the No. 7 all-time mark at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders also qualified Jerome Wilson - who enters as the No. 9 seed in the long jump and No. 10 seed in the triple jump. Wilson finished runner-up in the long jump and third in the triple jump at the conference meet.

Joining Jackson in the long jump will be Le'Tristan Pledger - the No. 6 seed - who enters with a season-best mark of 6.32 (20'-9"), good for No. 4 on the Texas Tech all-time performance list. Shanice Stewart (No. 11 seed), and Paetyn Revell (No. 48 seed) also qualified for the meet in the long jump while Revell and Viershanie Latham qualified in the triple jump.

VERTICAL JUMPS
Texas Tech enters the NCAA West Preliminaries after a historic showing at the Big 12 Championships where the Red Raiders swept the top-3 spots in the high jump - the first program in the history of the league to do so. The Red Raiders are led in the event by junior JaCorian Duffield who enters with the No. 2 seed boasting a season-best and school record clearance of 2.27 (7'-5.25"). He's followed by Big 12 Champion Bradley Adkins with a season-best 2.21 (7'-3"). Meanwhile freshman Dayton Fisher enters the meet as the No. 40 seed with a season-best clearance of 2.11 (6'-11.00"). The Red Raiders also qualified three men's pole vaulters in senior Kyal Meyers (No. 18 seed), Kyle Thompson (No. 28 seed) and Kyle Padalecki (No. 42 seed).

THROWS
Two-time All-American Kole Weldon makes his return to the NCAA West Preliminaries where he'll compete in both the shot put and the discus. Weldon, who finished third at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the shot put, enters the weekend as the No. 5 seed in the event with a season-best and school record throw of 19.67-meters (64'-6.50"). In the discus, Weldon boasts a season-best of 62.05 (203'-7"). He'll be joined by teammate Jorge Garcia in the shot put who enters as the No. 30 seed.

Sophomore Hannah Carson will represent the Lady Raiders in the throws as she qualified in both the javelin and the discus. Carson boasts a season-best and school record mark of 54.03 (177'-3") in the javelin - good for a No. 5 seed in the event. She also leads the Lady Raiders in the discus with a season-best throw of 59.90 (180'-1") - good for a No. 12 seed. She'll be joined by teammates Adrienne Long and J'Cee Pool in the discus. Long enters as the No. 46 seed and Pool as the No. 48 seed.

RELAYS
The Lady Raiders enter the NCAA West Preliminaries with both its 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams boasting top-10 seeds. The 4x400 relay consisting of Montenae Roye-Speight, Amoy Blake, Tiffany Tarver and Cierra White is coming off a season-best performance at the Big 12 Championships where they clocked a 3:32.69 - good for No. 10 all-time at Texas Tech. The Lady Raider 4x100 relay team, meanwhile, enters the weekend with a season-best of 44.45 - also clocked at the Big 12 Championships. The squad consists of White, Blake, Le'Tristan Pledger and Shanice Stewart and enters the NCAA West Preliminaries with the No. 9 seed time.

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders qualified both their 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The 4x100 squad, consisting of Treyvion Johnson, Dwayne Extol, Joseph Richards III and Trevor Mackey boasts a season-best time of 40.00 seconds - good for the No. 15 seed time. The Red Raider 4x400 relay team, consisting of Richards III, Extol Tommy Brinn and Alex Foster, boasts a season-best of 3:08.63 - good for the No. 19 seed entering this weekend.

 

 

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