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Big 12 Championships Return to Lubbock

No. 6 Red Raiders, Lady Raiders set for Big 12 Championships at Fuller Track and Field Complex
LUBBOCK, Texas(Texas Tech Press Release) – The Big 12 Track and Field Championships return to Lubbock this weekend as the No. 6 Red Raiders and Lady Raiders host the conference championships for the second time in the last five seasons.
 
Events at the Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Friday with the start of the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon along with throwing events at the Texas Tech throws facility. Tickets are available at $10 for adults and $5 for youth and students for single day passes.
 
“We’re very excited to host the Big 12 meet at our home track,” said Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley who is currently in his 15th season. “We’re looking to put on a great meet for our fans, and I’m looking for some great performances out of both our men’s and women’s teams this weekend.”
 
The No. 6 Red Raiders enter the weekend on the heels of perhaps their strongest meet of the season at the May 3 Red Raider Open. The squad has appeared in the top-10 of the national rankings in six consecutive weeks, and will look to chase down its second Big 12 team title in program history.
 
The Tech men finished third at the 2013 Big 12 Championships with 117.5 points, the most scored by the
Red Raiders since winning the conference in 2005 with 149.5. 
 
Alongside Tech, three Big 12 men’s programs enter the meet in the top-10 of the national rankings led by Oklahoma State at No. 5 and Texas at No. 10.
 
Red Raider distance runners Kennedy Kithuka and Evans Tuitoek each boast conference leading marks – Kithuka in the 5,000-meters and Tuitoek in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Meanwhile, JaCorian Duffield leads the conference in the high jump and Kole Weldon in the discus.
 
The Lady Raiders enter the meet led by junior All-American Cierra White who boasts top-4 times in both the 100-meters and 200-meters. White is the reigning Big 12 100-meter Champion and also runs a leg each the 4x100 and 4x400 relay squads.
 
In the women’s field events, sophomore Gionna Jackson leads the conference in the triple jump with a season-best mark of 12.94-meters (42’-5.50”) at the Red Raider Open.
 
Live results from the meet can be found online at www.DeltaTiming.com, while TexasTech.com will bring provide full coverage throughout the weekend. 
 
EVENT PREVIEWS
SPRINTS
Cierra White will look to defend her Big 12 title in the 100-meter dash this weekend as she became the first Lady Raider to win a conference championship in the event in 12 years last year. She enters the Big 12 Championships at No. 3 with a season-best of 11.30. She holds the school record in both the 100-meters (11.09) and 200-meters (22.89) and also enters at No. 4 in the 200-meters. White finished sixth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meters last year.
 
Meanwhile, Trevor Mackey enters the meet fresh off a strong performance at the Red Raider Open where he broke a 24-year-old school record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 20.47 – good for No. 3 in the Big 12. He also boasts a Top-5 conference mark in the 100-meter dash with a season-best of 10.21 – the best by a Red Raider since 2005.
 
HURDLES
Sophomore Lady Raider Le’Tristan Pledger and the Red Raider trio of Shujaa Benson, Tramaine Maloney and Dwanye Extol will lead Texas Tech into the Big 12 Championships. Pledger enters the meet with the No. 3 time in the conference in the 100-meter hurdles after breaking the school record at the Mt SAC Relays with a time of 13.09 seconds. Pledger finished third at the 2013 Big 12 Championships in the event before advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
 
Meanwhile, Shujaa Benson boasts the No. 4 time in the conference in the 110-meter hurdles with a season-best of 13.85 (which he has twice recorded), good for No.  4 in the conference. Teammate Tramaine Maloney has clocked a season-best of 14.23, good for No. 6. The Red Raiders are led in the 400-meter hurdles by senior Dwayne Extol with a season-best time of 51.26, currently No. 3 in the Big 12. He’s followed by freshman JW Smith at No. 4 (51.45) and Darien Tennon at No. 9 (52.48).
 
DISTANCE
Texas Tech senior Kennedy Kithuka will look to capture his third and fourth Big 12 Track and Field title this weekend, competing in both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter run. Kithuka enters the meet No. 1 nationally in the 5,000-meters and No. 2 in the 10,000-meters.  The Kenya native will look to become the first men’s athlete in school history to win a Big12 title in the 5,000-meters and just the second to do so in the 10,000 (Kevin Chelimo/2007). Joining Kithuka in the quest for a Big 12 title will be sophomore newcomer Evans Tuitoek who currently leads the conference in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Tuitoek has won six of his eight races this season, and enters the meet with a season-best of 8:51.62 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase – the best by a Red Raider in the event since the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Sharlene Nickle enters the meet No. 4 in the Big 12 in the steeplechase while Jocelyn Caro holds the No. 5 time in the 10,000-meters.
 
HORIZONTAL JUMPS
Lady Raider Gionna Jackson enters the Big 12 Championships in the midst of a stellar sophomore campaign and currently leads the Big 12 in the triple jump with a season-best of 12.94-meters (42’-5.50”). Jackson recorded the mark in her most recent competition at the Red Raider Open on May 3. The jump marks the second-best in school history behind All-American Amanda Banks in 1989. Jackson finished sixth in the long jump at the 2013 Big 12 Championships as a freshman. Meanwhile, sophomore Le’Tristan Pledger, who advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championships in the long jump, enters the meet No. 4 in the Big 12 in the event. She finished third at the 2013 Big 12 Championships.
 
Jerome Wilson will lead the Red Raiders in the Big 12 Championships pacing the squad in both the long jump and triple jump. He owns a season-best 15.18-meters (49’-9.75”) in the triple jump, good for No. 3 in the conference. Meanwhile he boasts a season-best of 7.46-meters (24’-5.75”) in the long jump – good for No. 5 in the conference. Graduated senior Bryce Lamb became Tech’s first-ever men’s Big 12 Long Jump Champion in 2013.
 
VERTICAL JUMPS
The Red Raider duo of JaCorian Duffield and Bradley Adkins will look to make history as the pair enters the Big 12 Championships pacing the conference in the high jump. Duffield is coming off a record-breaking performance at the Red Raider Open on May 3 where he cleared 7-feet 5.25 inches on first attempt, breaking his own school record and earning Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors for the performance.  The mark leads the conference, and currently ranks No. 3 in the NCAA for the 2014 outdoor season. Duffield and Adkins became the first duo from the same program to finish in the top-5 of the NCAA Indoor Championships since 1999 when they tied for fifth at the national meet in March and will look to become the first pair to go 1-2 at the Big 12 Championships in league history. With the performance, Duffield became the first two-time high jump All-American in school history. Adkins enters the Big 12 Outdoor Championships with a season-best clearance of 2.21-meters (7’-3”).  The pair went 2-3 at the 2013 Big 12 Outdoor Championships and 2-3 at the indoor conference championships this season.
 
The Lady Raiders, meanwhile, will look to pick up a handful of points in the women’s pole vault as the trio of Haley Cook, Reece Timmons and Blake Wood enter the meet in the top-5 of the conference rankings. Cook leads the pack with a season-best clearance of 3.93-meters (12’-10.75”) at the May 3 Red Raider Open. Meanwhile, Timmons and Wood have both cleared 3.87-meters (12’-8.25”) – good for No. 4 in the conference. Senior Red Raider Kyal Meyers will also look for a strong meet as he enters with a season-best of 5.35-meters (17’-6.5”) – good for No. 3 in the Big 12. Meyers finished runner-up at the 2013 Big 12 Championships and the 2014 Big 12 Indoors in March.
 
THROWS
Junior Red Raider Kole Weldon and sophomore Lady Raider Hannah Carson will lead a pack of Tech athletes in the throwing events at the Big 12 Championships. Weldon enters the meet fresh off recording the No. 1 discus mark in the conference with a heave of 62.05 (203’-7”) at the Red Raider Open on May 3. Not only does Weldon lead the Big 12 in the discus, but he also holds the No. 2 mark in both the shot put (19.67m/64’-6.50”) and the hammer throw (60.92m/199’-10”) – both of which are school records. His mark in the discus at the Red Raider Open marked a new career-best, and the No. 3 mark in school history. Weldon finished third at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the shot put to become Tech’s first All-American in the event.
 
Meanwhile, sophomore thrower Hannah Carson enters the Big 12 Championships in the midst of a historic campaign. The 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier recently broke her own Terry and Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex record in the javelin with a throw of 51.57-meters (169’-2”) at the May 3 Red Raider Open. She boasts the No. 3 throw in the Big12 with a school record mark of 54.03 (177’-3”), which she recorded at the Texas Relays in March. The top-3 throwers in the Big 12 are separated by less than three-feet. Carson finished runner-up at the 2013 Big 12 Championships in Waco with a throw of 51.02-meters (167’-5.00”).
 
RELAYS
The Lady Raider 4x100 relay team is coming off its first race of the season at the May 3 Red Raider Open, and with their time of 44.45, jumped to No. 2 in the conference rankings. The squad was comprised of Cierra White, Amoy Blake, Le’Tristan Pledger and Shanice Stewart. Meanwhile, the Red Raider 4x400 Relay team enters the weekend No. 4 in the conference with a season-best time of 39.93, also clocked at the Red Raider Open. That team consisted of Treyvion Johnson, Dwayne Extol, Joseph Richards III and Trevor Mackey.
 
The Red Raider 4x400 (Richards III, Extol, Tommy Brinn and Alex Foster) has clocked a season-best of 3:08.63 – good for No. 5 in the Big 12. The Lady Raider 4x400, consisting of Montenae Roye-Speight, Christen Rivers, Blake and White, boasts a season-best of 3:32.86 – good for No. 3 in the conference entering the weekend.
 
COMBINED EVENTS
Lady Raider Shanice Stewart will look for her second-straight All-Conference honor this year as she enters the Big 12 Championships No. 2 in the heptathlon with a season-best performance at the Mt. SAC/Cal Invitational Multi Meet where she scored 5,384 points – good for No. 2 on the Big 12 performance list and No. 4 on the all-time Texas Tech performance list. Stewart finished fourth at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in March with 3,836 points.
Meanwhile, sophomore Natalie Thompson finished ninth at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in the pentathlon, and will look to earn all-conference honors at the outdoor championships for the first time in her career. Her season-best of 5,008 points at the UTSA Invitational is No. 7 on the current Big 12 performance list.
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