LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech track and field program continues its outdoor season this week as the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders compete at the 87th Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.
Tech opens competition at the annual meet Thursday and will continue through Saturday. The Texas Relays will feature some of the top talent from both the collegiate ranks and the world as more than 6,000 athletes from 32 states and nine countries descend upon Austin.
“It’s great for a lot of our kids.” Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. “They are going to be able to compete against the best in an early meet.”
Texas Tech enters the Texas Relays following a highly-successful showing at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational in San Antonio where the Lady Raiders won the women’s meet, and the Red Raiders finished second in the men’s team standings.
The Red Raiders open the outdoor campaign as the highest nationally ranked men’s squad in the Big 12 as the team appeared at No. 14 in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Preseason Outdoor rankings released on Tuesday. Tech is just one of two programs in the conference with both its men’s and women’s teams ranked in the top-20 as the Lady Raiders open their season at No. 16.
The Lady Raiders got their outdoor campaign off to a fast start by way of strong showings from sophomores Le’Tristan Pledger and Hannah Carson. Pledger, who will compete in the invitational section of the women’s 100-meter hurdles, won the event at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational with a blistering time of 13.16 seconds. The performance ranks No. 1 nationally entering the Texas Relays, and stands as the third fastest in school history.
Meanwhile, Carson uncorked a massive throw of 53.15-meters (174’-4”) in the javelin to break her own school record, and catapult to No. 2 nationally in the event.
For the Red Raiders, sophomore indoor All-American Bradley Adkins wasted little time getting his outdoor season off to a strong start. The Idalou, Texas native won the men’s high jump at the UTSA Invitational with a new outdoor collegiate-best effort of 2.18-meters (7’-1.75”).
Adkins and teammate JaCorian Duffield became the first duo since 1999 to finish in the top-5 at the NCAA Indoor Championships and will both compete at the Texas Relays.
Longhorn Network will broadcast the meet while live results can be found on the official website of Texas Athletics at TexasSports.com.
Junior Cierra White along with a crop of three Red Raiders will represent Tech in the sprints at the Texas Relays. White enters the meet after a strong start to her outdoor campaign at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational where she won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash. White clocked a time of 11.47 in the 100-meters, which ranks No. 2 nationally entering the Texas Relays. She’s scheduled to compete in the university section of the event in Austin. Meanwhile, Trevor Mackey, Treyvion Johnson and Jerome Wilson are entered in the men’s university section of the 100-meter dash. Mackey clocked the Big 12’s leading time in the 100-meters with a 10.69 – he holds a collegiate-best of 10.10. White is the reigning Big 12 Champion in the 100-meter dash, and went on to finish sixth at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Lady Raider sophomore Le’Tristan Pledger will highlight the Tech hurdlers this week at the Texas Relays. The 2013 NCAA Outdoor qualifier in both the 100-meter hurdles and long jump, Pledger jumped out to a fast start to her 2014 outdoor campaign with a national-leading time of 13.16 in the 100-meter hurdles at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational. Pledger’s performance ranked at the third-fastest time in school history. She will compete Saturday in the invitational section, and is the only collegian in the field. Meanwhile, the Red Raiders will be represented by All-Big 12 performers Tramaine Maloney and Dwayne Extol along with Shujaa Benson and newcomer Jerome Wilson. Extol and Maloney, who finished third and seventh at the 2013 Big 12 Outdoor Championships respectively, will compete Thursday in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. Meanwhile, Benson and Wilson are scheduled to compete Saturday in the 110-meter hurdles.
All-Big 12 performer Evans Tuitoek will represent the Red Raiders in the men’s university section of the 1,500-meter run Thursday in Tech’s opening day of competition at the Texas Relays. Tuitoek, a newcomer for the Red Raiders, finished fifth at the Big 12 Indoor Championships this year in the 3,000-meter run. He won the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational Saturday with a time of 3:25.33 – a time that leads the Big 12 early in the outdoor season.
Lady Raider Shanice Stewart, a 2014 NCAA Indoor qualifier in the long jump, will compete in the women’s university ‘A’ section of the event at the Texas Relays. Stewart went a season-best of 6.30-meters (20’-8”) during the indoor season, a mark that ended the year No. 10 nationally. She’ll be joined by teammate Gionna Jackson, who qualified for the university ‘B’ section in the long jump. Jackson finished third in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump at the Big 12 Indoor Championships earlier this year. All-Big 12 performer Shujaa Benson qualified for the university ‘A’ section of the men’s long jump. Benson finished fourth at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships last year in the long jump, and boasts a career-best mark of 7.58-meters (24’-10.50”). Jackson, along with freshman Paetyn Revell, are both scheduled to compete in the triple jump.
A crop of talented and recently minted All-Americans will represent Tech in the vertical jumps at the Texas Relays. Junior JaCorian Duffield and sophomore Bradley Adkins are scheduled to compete in the university ‘A’ section of the men’s high jump. The duo recently became the first pair of high jumpers from the same program to finish in the top-5 at the NCAA Indoor Championships since 1999. Adkins enters the meet fresh off an outdoor collegiate-best clearance of 2.18-meters (7’-1.75”) to win the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational. The mark ranks No. 3 nationally entering the week. He cleared a season-best and school record height of 2.23m (7’-3.75”) during the 2014 indoor season. Meanwhile, teammate JaCorian Duffield enters the Texas Relays on the heels of a strong 2014 indoor season in which he tied for fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships alongside Adkins. He is the first two-time All-American high jumper in school history after also finishing seventh at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He has cleared an outdoor collegiate-best of 2.20-meters (7’-2.50”). Meanwhile, senior Red Raider Kyal Meyers will compete in the university ‘A’ section of the men’s pole vault. Meyers finished runner-up at the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Championships, and has cleared a career-best of 5.41m (17’-9”).
Junior Red Raider and two-time All-American Kole Weldon will compete in the discus, shot put and the hammer throw at the Texas Relays. The Jacksboro, Texas native was the only athlete in the conference to earn All-Big 12 honors in all three events last year. He went on to finish third at the NCAA Championships in the shot put. Weldon finished runner-up in the shot put at the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Championships. He enters the Texas Relays with an outdoor collegiate-best of 19.43m (63’-9”), and recorded a school record throw of 20.11m (65’-11.75”) during the 2014 indoor season. The Lady Raiders will be represented by sophomore Hannah Carson in the javelin, who enters the Texas Relays after breaking her own school record at the UTSA Texas Challenge Invitational with a throw of 53.15m (174’-4”) – which ranks No. 2 nationally this week. Joining Weldon in the men’s shot put will be 2013 All-Big 12 performer Jorge Garcia, who is scheduled to compete in the university ‘B’ section. He holds an outdoor collegiate-best of 17.36m (56’-11.50”), and finished eighth at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships last year. Meanwhile, All-Big 12 performer Natalie Thompson will compete in the university ‘B’ section of the javelin. She finished sixth at the 2013 Big 12 Championships.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to run five relays this week – the 4x100, 4x400, 4x800, sprint medley and distance medley relay. Meanwhile, the Lady Raiders are scheduled to run both the 4x400 and the distance medley relay. The Lady Raiders return two legs – Christen Rivers and Amoy Blake - from a 4x400 relay that finished 10th at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Meanwhile, two legs – Joseph Richards III and Dwayne Extol – return from the Red Raider 4x100 relay that finished third at the Big 12 Championships. Senior Red Raider Kennedy Kithuka – the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships and 2013 NCAA Indoor 5,000-meter Champion – is scheduled to anchor Tech’s distance medley relay squad.
--TEXAS TECH PRESS RELEASE--