Sports

Olympic Trials: 2021 TTU Athlete Results

Benard Keter celebrating after a run
Graphic by Adrian Gutierrez

TTU Athletes slated to compete in Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon

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TTU has sent three of their best athletes, joining a cast of seven other red raiders competing for a ticket to the Tokyo Olympics. While there are no awards to bring home for Tech, to have a Red Raider in the Olympics would be a national honor itself.

Day One

Seasons Usual, a well-known and decorated current TTU athlete, competed on day one – June 18th – of the Olympic trials. Usual, competing in discus, she went up against 22 other participants in the qualifying round. In this preliminary round, she came in 11th place, securing her a spot in the finals the following day. While Usual managed to climb in placement, her journey ended with a 9th place finals finish. Although she did not qualify for the Olympics, Usual ends her season as an Olympic finalist, First Team All-American, and the first female since 2009 to win a medal in discus at Tech.

Next, a former Texas Tech runner named Gil Roberts graduated in 2011. Roberts has an impressive athletic history, winning a gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics (4×400). He also has a gold medal from the 2012 World Championship for the same event. Performing in the men’s 400m, Roberts sadly did not make it past the preliminary round, coming in 23rd place with a time of 49.96.

Another former Texas Tech graduate, Vincent Crisp, performed in the men’s 800m event on day one of the Olympic trials. Crisp graduated in 2019 as a highly accomplished college runner; he was a five-time All-American between 2016 and 2019. At the Olympic trials, Crisp missed out on qualifying for finals by just four places, coming in 22nd with a time of 1:49.36.

Day Two

Skipping ahead to June 21st, the following former Red Raider to participate was Benard Keter. Now competing for the U.S Army, Keter hit the Olympic standard in the men’s 3000m steeplechase qualifying round – running for 8:29.04 – and securing an 11th place spot, enough for a lane in finals. While an 11th place spot is admirable, Keter’s run in the finals would need to do more than impress.

When finals arrived for Keter on June 25th, he dominated the competition and made an astonishing comeback. Starting in 12th place, he quickly made his way through the ranks. By the fifth lap, Keter had climbed from 12th all the way to second please, yet he began to falter. Things began to look grim for the former Red Raider as he drifted behind. However, Keter gained a second wind in laps seven and eight to claw back from sixth place and finish in second at 8:21.81. This time grants Keter’s Olympic berth and a flight to Tokyo.

Day Three

Back to June 24th, Monae’ Nichols set her sights on the women’s long jump. Nichols competed against 22 other athletes, where only 12 would continue forward into finals. Sadly, the journey of this All-American athlete came to an end in prelims, where she would not earn a mark out of her three jumps on the day. While not a perfect ending, Texas Tech looks forward to seeing Nichols in the scarlet and black again next season.

Next, the former TTU Red Raider – Duke Kicinski – competed in the men’s discus event. Things started rough for the former Tech athlete, as he did not earn marks of his first two of his three throws. With his Olympic run on the line, Kicinski rose to the challenge and launched his discus for a distance of 60.15m, enough for seventh place. However, while his throw was enough to make the finals, the road would stop short for Kicinski. Unable to match his preliminary round distance, Kicinski would finish in ninth place for the men’s discus finals in the olympic trials.

Day Four

The last current TTU Athlete to compete in the Olympic Trials, Justin Hall, participated in the men’s long jump. A senior Red Raider, Hall is a former USTFCCCA All-American long jumper who has scored big for Texas Tech in the past. However, Hall’s leap was not enough to secure him a spot in the finals, earning 20th place. Although Raiderland will not see Hall next season, he leaves with a promising career, sports or otherwise.

Alongside Hall in the long jump event, Charles Brown – a former Red Raider – took to the track next. Brown graduated from Texas Tech in 2019 as a 10-time USTFCCCA All-American and 2016 and 2017 Big 12 long jump champion. Sadly, Brown could not secure a spot in the finals, throwing for 7.28m and earning 22nd place at the event.

Following the long jump event, Andrew Hudson took a lane in the men’s 200m. Brown has kept up with his track career pretty heavily during the 2021 season after graduating in 2020 as a nine-time All-American. Starting with the preliminary round, Hudson qualified for the semi-finals with an impressive time of 20.4. Although he ran .16 seconds faster in the semi-finals, the other competition improved significantly, rising by one placement to fifth. In the finals, Hudson was not so lucky. He ran behind his last time and ended in eighth place. While he will not head to Tokyo, he consistently met the Olympic standard and is an athlete to watch.

The last former TTU Athlete to perform in the Olympic Trials, Trey Culver, participated in the men’s high jump. Graduating in 2018 as a two-time NCAA Champion and three-time Big 12 champion, reasonably high expectations were placed on the former Red Raider. Beginning with prelims, Culver performed exceptionally well, hitting the Olympic standard and qualifying for finals two days later. However, this is where Culver’s Olympic run would end, missing out on the final rounds by one place, earning fifth.

Eugene Olympic Trials Overview

Overall, these trials some of the best athletes on the planet, and for one TTU Athlete to make it to the Olympic Trials is a monumental feat. Making the Olympics is not the benchmark for success. Many other Red Raiders were competitive to the end of the trials. Texas Tech is proud of all current and former athletes who participated and root for Benard Keter in the Tokyo Olympics this July.

For more Texas Tech sports news, check out our website!

For a complete list of the Eugene, Oregon, Olympic Trials results, click here!

Written by Campus Live intern Hudson Gregg

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