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Kithuka, Carson Open NCAA Championships With All-America Showings
EUGENE, Ore. (Texas Tech Press Release) – Senior Kennedy Kithuka and sophomore Hannah Carson both turned in All-America performances Wednesday as Texas Tech opened competition at the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
In front of an announced Hayward Field crowd of more than 9,000, Kithuka finished fourth overall in the men’s 10,000-meter nightcap while Carson finished eighth in the women’s javelin throw. Kithuka’s performance secured five points for the No. 5 Red Raiders while Carson picked up one point for the No. 15 Lady Raiders.
“I'm so proud of Hannah,” Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. “She's had a tough couple years with a few knee injuries so it's just phenomenal that she's been able to rehab those. She's just a sophomore, we redshirted her just to give that extra year and it has really added a lot.”
Kithuka, the Big 12 Champion at both 5,000 and 10,000-meters, took the 24-runner field out early and established the pace of a five-member lead pack. It was a position the senior maintained through all but the final 500-meters of the race as 2013 Cross Country Champion Edward Cheserek of Oregon broke away from pack with a strong kick and took the victory.
Kithuka crossed the finish line fourth in 28 minutes 46.21 seconds. With the finish, the decorated Red Raider became the first male in school history to earn All-America honors at 10,000-meters.
“Kennedy didn’t have his best race today, but what a gem he has been for our program,” Kittley said. “He has put us on the map, and I’m just so proud of him.”
Earlier in the women’s javelin, Carson launched a throw of 52.45-metres (172 feet 1 inch) on her second attempt of the preliminaries. The mark secured her a spot in the finals, and while the sophomore was unable to improve on the final three attempts, the Lady Raider earned a spot on the podium finishing eighth in the competition.
Carson becomes the first female in school history to earn All-America honors in the javelin. Kittley, who was named Mountain Region Coach of the Year prior to the meet, served as the honorary presenter and personally handed Carson her NCAA plaque on the podium.
“It means a lot,” Carson said. “Coming out here and actually being able to perform and make it into the finals meant a great deal to me, because it’s where I should be.”
The Chandler, Ariz. product has now competed in two consecutive NCAA Outdoor Championships and improved upon a 15th-place finish from 2013.
Earlier on the track, junior Cierra White clocked a time of 11.38 seconds in the semifinals of the women’s 100-meter dash to finish sixth in her heat and 17th overall. White, who finished sixth in the finals of the 2013 NCAA Championships as a sophomore, is also scheduled to compete in the 200-meters and as a leg on the Lady Raider 4x400 relay.
The semifinals of both the 200-meter dash and 4x400 relay are scheduled for Thursday.
In the men’s shot put, junior Kole Weldon finished 18th overall with a best throw of 18.68-meters (61’-3.50”) on his second attempt of the trials. Weldon finished third in the event at the 2013 NCAA Championships, and is scheduled to compete in the discus throw on Friday.
The No. 9 Red Raiders and No. 15 Lady Raiders will resume competition at Hayward Field Thursday. Junior Lady Raider Shanice Stewart will open competition for Texas Tech with the start of the women’s heptathlon at 1 p.m. (PST).
ESPN3 will broadcast the action beginning at 3:55 p.m. (PST), while live updates will be provided by Flash Results.