AUSTIN – Red Raiders turn in 52-point second day to secure first men’s national title in school history.
For the first time in the history of Texas Tech, a men’s athletic team will return to campus as national champions. The Red Raider track and field team claimed the NCAA Outdoor Championship Friday night after receiving points contributions from every single student-athlete that suited up on the final day.
“I’m just so incredibly proud of these guys,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley, whose Red Raiders were ranked number-one all season. “They’ve lived with a target on their backs all year long. “They just wanted to bring a championship home to Texas Tech, and I’m just so glad they have now done that.”
Tech entered Friday tied for the national lead in track qualifications with Houston with seven. The title race was to be between the Red Raiders and cross-state Cougars, made even more exciting by the fact that the two programs would send athletes head-to-head in three events.
It was here Tech did what it has been trying to do as a program for two years: bear down and suffocate the competition. With that as the goal, Red Raider runners beat out the Cougars in all three events.
Not only did Divine Odudurubeat the Cougars in his two events – the 100mand 200m– he won them. In unbelievable fashion. Oduduruturned on the jets in the 100m, going 9.86 for his third sub-10 race of the season. Later, he did just what he did in Wednesday’s semifinals: go sub-20 in the 200mwithin an hour of going sub-10 in the 100m. In the history of track and field, such has been done 12 times, and Oduduru owns three of them.
This was all after leading the 4x100relay to yet another school record. His squad, which was comprised of KeionSutton, Andrew Hudson and JacolbyShelton, went for 38.45 in one of the fastest finals in championship history.
Norman Grimes Jr. ran a 48.71 in the 400mhurdles for the silver and the fifth-fastest time in the world. It was a career-best for the sophomore and counted as the new school record – one of four set on Friday. The eight points he grabbed took two from the Cougars, whose hurdler, AmereLattin, finished just behind Grimes in third place.
With so many points in hand from the work done on the track, it left Duke Kicinskiin a position to put the meet out of reach for good. He launched a throw of 205′-2″ (62.53m) for the golden 10 points that clinched the first national title in school history. Kicinskiis now a national champion in the discus at both the Division I and Division II level, taking the D-II crown in 2016 while at West Texas A&M. The only other thrower to be named a champion at both levels is none other than Cliff Felkins, his throws coach at Texas Tech.
Prior to Duke’s clinching discus, Jonah Koechand Vincent Crisp secured three points in the final 800mof their careers. Koechplaced seventh with a 1:47.28. Crisp earned a point with his 1:47.48. The 800mfinal was one of the fastest in championship history.
OdaineLewis scored in the triple jump with a season-best mark 54′-9.5″ (16.70m). The senior grabbed the three points in his final collegiate meet in one of the critical events in which Tech had an athlete and Houston did not.