Texas Tech is primed to compete at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships this week in Des Moines, Iowa.
June 5, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - With a group of 12 qualifying athletes and four relay teams, the Texas Tech track and field program is set to head north for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Texas Tech recently qualified 11 athletes and each of its four relays at the NCAA West Preliminaries in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, senior Precious Nwokey qualified for the heptathlon after earning a school-record 5,600 points as the runner up at the Big 12 Championships.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships are set to begin Wednesday June 6 with events running through Saturday June 9.
"We have set our goal all year on both the men's and women's side to be a top-10 team," head coach Wes Kittley said. "If things work out well, I think we have the potential to do that. We have had that goal all year and we want both teams to finish high."
Tech returns three athletes who earned All-American honors last year in individual events. A talented group of seniors in Shane Brathwaite (110m hurdles), Jamele Mason (400m hurdles) and Gil Roberts (400 meter dash) each return to Drake Stadium this week looking to earn All-American honors once more.
Meanwhile, both the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders return the bulk of their 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams from last year. Each of Tech's four relays enter the meet ranked in the top-15 nationally led by the men's 4x100 relay which enters ranked No. 9 in the country. The women's 4x400 and 4x100 relay team earned All-American honors last season.
Action at Drake Stadium begins Wednesday at noon with the start of the multi-events. The meet will be broadcast by online by ESPN3 as well as NCAA.com with ESPNU providing live coverage beginning Saturday at noon.
Shane Brathwaite | SR | HURDLES
Senior Shane Brathwaite enters the 2012 NCAA Championships as one of the top sprint hurdlers in the nation. Brathwaite ran a season-best 13.43 at the outdoor season opener on March 17. The time propelled him to the top of the NCAA performance charts, and currently ranks No. 6 nationally. Meanwhile he helped both the Red Raider 4x100 and 4x400 relay qualify for the NCAA Championships last weekend. Brathwaite was the runner-up at the Big 12 Championships with a time of 13.77. Brathwaite earned second team All-American honors in the 110 meter hurdles and first team honors as a member of the 4x400 relay last year.
Jacorian Duffield | FR | HIGH JUMP
Freshman Jacorian Duffield enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships looking to cap off a stellar freshman campaign. Duffield cleared a personal best 2.20 meters (7'-2.50") at the Texas Tech Open on April 14 - which leads all freshmen in the West Region. Duffield has cleared three bars over seven-feet, including a first attempt at 7'-1.50" during the West Preliminaries in Austin. Duffield has four top-three finishes this year, including two first place finishes, which both came at home meets (Texas Tech Open - April 14) (Red Raider Open - May 5).
Taylor Evans | SR | SPRINTS
A veteran and decorated senior, Taylor Evans enters the 2012 NCAA Championships after qualifying in the 200 meter dash. She finished second in her heat at the West Preliminaries with a time of 23.26. Earlier in the meet she helped the 4x100 relay team to a qualifying time of 44.34 before ending the night anchoring the 4x400 relay team to a qualifying time of 3:32.68. Evans is a six-time All-American - she will be looking for her first All-American honor in the 200 meter dash.
Terra Evans | SR | SPRINTS
Terra Evans makes her return to the NCAA Championships where the senior earned All-American honors in both the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 4x100 relay in 2010. The senior sprinter enters the meet after qualifying in the 100 meter dash at the West Preliminary with a time of 11.39. Evans ranks No. 20 nationally in the 100 meter with a season-best time of 11.37 (adjusted) which she recorded at the Red Raider Open on May 5. She also anchored the 4x100 relay team which qualified with a time of 44.34 at the West Preliminaries.
Katie Grimes | JR | HURDLES
Junior Katie Grimes is in the midst of a breakout 2012 season - establishing herself as one of the top female hurdlers in school history. Grimes, who owns the school record in the 100 meter hurdles, enters the 2012 NCAA Championships ranked No. 10 nationally in the women's sprint hurdles. The Canyon, Texas native was the runner-up at the Big 12 Championships with a mark of 13.00 in the 100 meter hurdles. This will mark her first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100 meter hurdles. Grimes advanced to the NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this year where she earned All-American second team honors.
Jamele Mason | SR. | HURDLES
Senior All-American Jamele Mason has developed into one of the top hurdlers in school history during his decorated Red Raider career. In 2012, Mason has placed himself near the top of the NCAA in the 400 meter hurdles with a season-best time of 49.60 at the Big 12 Championships. The time ranks No. 5 in the NCAA entering the outdoor championships. He also helped the men's 4x400 relay team qualify for the NCAA Championships. Mason is a three-time All-American most recently earning first team honors during the 2011 season in the 400 meter hurdles and as a member of the 4x400 relay team.
Kyal Meyers | SO | POLE VAULT
Just a sophomore, Kyal Meyers has already become a top pole vaulter in the NCAA. Meyers, a 2012 indoor All-American, enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a personal-best clearance of 5.41 meters (17'-9.00") which he cleared at the Texas Tech Open (April 14). The mark ranks No. 13 nationally. Meyers has cleared six bars over 17-feet this season. He earned 2011 Big 12 Outstanding Freshman of the Year honors in 2011 after capturing the conference pole vault championship.
Precious Nwokey | SR | HEPTATHLON
A senior transfer from Kentucky, Precious Nwokey has had an immediate impact on the Texas Tech track and field program. Nwokey has twice broken the school heptathlon record, most recently placing second at the Big 12 Championships with a school record 5,600 points. Nwokey finished third in the heptathlon at the Texas Relays with 5,533 points. At the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Nwokey was the runner up in the pentathlon with 3,961 points. Nwokey is also a member of the qualifying 4x400 relay.
Gil Roberts | SR | SPRINTS
One of the top sprinters in school history, Gil Roberts enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships as the nation's leader in the 400 meter dash. With a mark of 45.04 (adjusted) in his season debut at the Red Raider Open on May 5, Roberts jumped into the No. 1 spot nationally where he has remained throughout the remainder of the season. During the 2012 indoor season, Roberts earned gold in the 400m at the U.S. Championships in March before anchoring the U.S. 4x400 relay team to gold at the IAAF World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Roberts is a five-time USTFCCCA All-American.
Rose Tanui | SR. | DISTANCE
Rose Tanui enters the NCAA Championships after qualifying in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA West Preliminary in Austin. Tanui qualified with a time of 34:07.94. She ranks No. 9 in the NCAA in the 10k with a personal-best time of 30:08.70 which she recorded at the Stanford Invitational on April 7. Tanui has earned All-American honors in cross country in two consecutive years, most recently finishing 35th at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Kole Weldon | FR | THROWS
Kole Weldon capped off his breakout freshman season by qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the discus with a mark of 58.50 meters (191'-11") at the West Preliminaries. Weldon enters the meet ranked No. 5 nationally in the discus, with a personal-best mark of 59.92 meters (196'-7") recorded on April 14 at the Texas Tech Open. Weldon finished 6th in the discus and 8th in the shot put at the Big 12 Championships. He has four marks over 55 meters this outdoor season.
Cierra White | FR | SPRINTS
In just her freshman season, Cierra White has developed into one of the top sprinters for the Lady Raiders. White has five top-8 finishes this year and enters the NCAA Championships with a personal-best mark of 23.51 (adjusted) in the 200m dash at the Raider Open on May 5. The mark ranks No. 13 in the West Region. She finished second in her season debut at the Willie Williams Classic (March 17) with a time of 23.80.
RED RAIDER RELAYS
The Red Raiders qualified both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. The qualifying 4x100 relay, comprised of Ben McRoy, Gil Roberts, Shane Brathwaite and Bryce Lamb ran a time of 39.76 at the West Preliminary. The time was the third best of the season by a Red Raider 4x100 team. Meanwhile, the qualifying 4x400 relay team comprised of Shane Brathwaite, Gil Roberts, Jamele Mason and Isaiah Gill ran a time of 3:05.14 at the West Preliminary. It also was the third-best time by time by a Red Raider 4x400 relay team on the season. Gil Roberts, Shane Brathwaite and Jamele Mason have all been members of All-American relays during their careers.
LADY RAIDER RELAYS
The Lady Raiders qualified both the 4x100 relay team and the 4x400 relay for the outdoor championships. Both of the Lady Raider Relay teams ended the regular season ranked in the top-15 nationally, led by the 4x100 relay which is ranked No. 10 in the NCAA with a season-best time of 43.65 which they recorded at Red Raider Open on May 5. Meanwhile the 4x400 relay enters the NCAA Outdoor Championships ranked No. 14 nationally with a season-best time of 3:32.36 recorded at the Texas Relays.