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LUBBOCK, Texas – This past week in Eugene, Oregon, both men’s and women’s track teams for Texas Tech competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championship; however, the event was not without its ups and downs for the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech did manage to secure metals, along with the Lady Raiders ensuring a top 15 placement in the meet. While the Red Raiders did not have many medalists, there were still many exciting moments for Tech at the events.
For the 100-meter preliminaries, the men were broken up by speed into three different heats. Those that ran the fastest times previously were in heat one, and the slowest were in heat three. Participating in the 100-meter for Texas Tech was Lindsey in heat one and Shelton in heat two. By the end of the 100-meter, this marks the first significant down at the NCAA Championship.
With one of the faster qualifying times, Courtney Lindsey ran a 10.33, but this was 18 seconds behind his qualifying run. While still a good run, Lindsey came in 14th place with the top spot going to an Oregon state runner with a 10.11. Looking at placements, had Lindsey kept his qualifying time, he would have placed 4th or 5th, accounting for wind differences.
However, Lindsey’s slower trend continued into the 200-meter, where he was Tech’s sole participant. Lindsey ended with a 20.76, 52 seconds behind his time at regionals. This drop-in time landed Tech at 15th place in the 200-meter.
Next in the 100-meter in heat two was Jacolby Shelton coming in 23rd place, another surprising run to start day one. Shelton ran a 10.21 through the headwind to qualify for the meet, while here, he ran a 10.52 under similar conditions at the championship. While there were early disappointments, Shelton and the men bounced back in the 4×100.
With the sprints out of the way, Texas Tech set their sights on the 4×100 with a team comprised of Lindsey, Shelton, Ashton O’Conner, and Terrence Jones. Again, the preliminaries were largely positive for Tech, running for 39.14, which placed then at 9th for the meet, qualifying for finals, and is the 11th fastest in school history.
Sadly, prelims were the end of the Tech’s successes in the relay, finishing last with a DNF in finals. However, Texas Tech track did have another chance to end their NCAA Championship run with a high note in the triple jump.
Men’s Triple Jump
Starting with the freshman Wills, he took part in flight two with his fellow red raider Seals. Here, Wills placed in 22nd place. However, he also received an honorable mention in the triple jump for his first NCAA title meet.
Seals finished the season with a 53-foot jump and secured himself a tenth place in the triple jump event. A senior at Texas Tech, Seals, finished this season on a career-high and earning All-American Second Team.
The women’s relay started similarly to the men’s sprinters. Although the women’s team, comprised of Virginia Kerley, Kiah Dunbarry-Gay, D’Jenne Egharevba, and Peyton Ricks, clocked in with 43.91 – the fourth group in Texas tech history to drop below 44 seconds – it was not enough to qualify for finals. The group ended up coming in 10th place, one away from qualifying for the NCAA’s finals.
Next for the women’s relays came with the 4×400 with the athletes Jadsia Warden, Sara Limp, Lexye Price, and Crawford taking their lane. Sadly, they suffered a similar fate as the 4×100, failing to qualify with a time of 3:37.10, earning 16th place. However, the veteran runners cemented their place in Tech history as the eighth team to run in the 4×400.
Women’s Pole Vault and Discus
Starting with pole vault, Chinne Okoronkwo represented the Red Raiders proudly with a distance of 4.3m, earning her seventh place. Okoronknow, a senior, leaves off her Tech career as an NCAA outdoors First Team All-American for the first time.
Next, Seasons Usual added to her trophy cabinet after launching her discus a staggering 58.58m, enough to place herself solidly in third. Usual is still a Jr. at Texas Tech, allowing her to help bring more titles for the Red Raiders in the future. Usual’s season also ends on becoming the first female medalist in discus since 2009 and a First Team All-American.
Next, the women’s heptathlon featuring Kaylee Hinton and Callie Jones made history at regionals, becoming the first pair to compete in the heptathlon at nationals. Sadly, the athlete was able to take home a medal this past week, Hinton earning 14th and Jones 19th. The pairs’ scores in the event were 5270 (Jones) and 5498 (Hinton).
While this was not the end either of the pair was hoping for, they still hold a new school record for qualifying to compete at all. For Hinton, this will be her final year as a senior. As for Jones, she will still have the opportunity to compete next year to bring home the gold.
Women’s Triple and Long Jump
Monae’ Nichols, a jr. at Texas Tech, starts with the triple jump. Nichols participated in the long jump event with an impressive leap of 6.28m against a headwind of .1. Her solid jump set her at 13th place; while lower than perhaps wanted, she has talent and great potential for next season.
Texas Tech’s Solo Crown at the NCAA Championship
Lastly, Ruth Usoro participated in both the triple and long jumps with exceptional distances in both events. Starting with the long jump, she leaped for a length of 6.36m, enough to earn her eighth place and already win for Texas Tech. Later, however, Usoro crushed the competition in the triple jump with a 14.19m jump. Subsequently, Usoro landed in first, ending her season as a Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor champion and an NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion. Luckily, Usoro is a Jr., so Red Raiders will get to see her make history all over again next year.
The Seasons End
While Texas Tech will not take home any national titles this season, the work of both the men’s and women’s athletes over the past season has indeed been a sight to see. Numerous records have been broken, and many firsts have been accomplished in the past few weeks. With a goodbye to our track and field seniors, this NCAA Outdoor Championship has been one of Texas Tech’s history books.
For more Texas Tech sports articles, check out the Campus Live website!
Check out the TFRRS website for a complete list of all men’s results!
Check out the TFRRS website for a complete list of all women’s results!
Written by Campus Live intern Hudson Gregg