SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Texas Tech track & field kicks off the summer slate with eight current and two future Red Raiders traveling to Sacramento, California, for the 2017 USATF Junior & Senior Championships on June 22-25.
In order to qualify for the USATF Junior & Senior Championships, competitors had to meet a certain standard in their respective events. Red Raiders Kyle Collins and Steven Champlin have also achieved the IAAF World Championships standard, so a top two finish in their events will qualify them for the World meet on August 5-13 in London. Incoming freshmen Kaylor Harris and Sean Hooper-Mercer will also compete at the meet, already hitting their IAAF U18 Championships standards this year. The senior events will take place on Thursday, Friday and Sunday while the junior events are slated to happen on Friday and Saturday.
Listed below are the events that each Red Raider will compete in:
Steven Champlin: 400m
Kyle Collins: 400m
Trey Culver: High Jump
Norman Grimes: 400H
Justin Hall: Long Jump
C.J. Jones: 800m
Viershanie Latham: Triple Jump
Zarriea Willis: High Jump
Kaylor Harris: 100H & 100m
Sean Hooper-Mercer: 400m
Seven of the eight current Red Raiders made an appearance on the national stage at Historic Hayward Field on July 7-11, returning to Lubbock with five first-team and two-second team All-America honors.
C.J. Jones will start off the weekend in the 800m prelims on Thursday at 7 p.m. CDT. Earlier this month, Jones traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to compete in the NCAA Championships in both the 800m and 4x400 relay, where he returned a First Team All-American. Jones enters the meet with a best mark of 1:46.70 from the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Arizona, where he wrangled bronze.
Viershanie Latham will follow at a 8:20 p.m. CDT start time in the women’s triple jump. Latham enters the meet with a 13.50m/44-3.50 (+1.8w) all-time school record mark from the Horned Frog Invitational. In Eugene, Latham took fifth overall with a best-jump of 13.45m/44-1.50 for her first team honors. During her senior campaign, Latham notched eight top-five meet finishes in the triple jump.
Steven Champlin and Kyle Collins are the only two Red Raiders to hit World Championships standard marks going into the USATF Championships, with times of 45.01 and 45.06 respectively. The pair notched these times at the Red Raider Invitational, where they pushed to finish No. 1 & 2 at the meet for No. 5 and 6 all-time Texas Tech marks as well as lifetime bests. Champlin and Collins were also part of the No. 2 all-time 4x400 relay at the NCAA Championships. The mile-relay clocked a 3:02.29 run that grasped a fifth-place overall finish for first team All-America honors. The 400m preliminary round will take place on Thursday evening at 9:46 p.m. CDT.
In the women’s high jump competition is Zarriea Willis. An 11th-place performance two weeks ago in Eugene earned Willis her second All-America title this year. Willis is entering the meet with a best of 1.85m/6-0.75 from the indoor season in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Five first-place finishes were earned by Willis in her eight outdoor high jump appearances. The women’s high jump will take place on Friday at 7:40 p.m. CDT.
Freshman Justin Hall stands as the only Red Raider All-American traveling to Sacramento who is competing in the juniors section. Hall is set to compete in the long jump at 4 p.m. CDT on Friday afternoon. Second team All-America honors were collected by Hall for his 12th-place finish at Hayward Field, with a best leap of 7.48m/24-6.50.
Trey Culver returns for his second go-around at the USATF Championships, yet his first senior appearance. Culver took a third-place overall finish at the 2015 USATF Junior Championships. The junior is coming off of a silver medal performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the men’s high jump where he cleared 2.21m/7-3. Culver’s best performance this year, however, took place at the Indoor Championships where he took the national title, matching a personal-best 2.26m/7-5 bar. In order to qualify for the IAAF World Championships, Culver will look to clear a lifetime-best 2.30m/7-6.50. Culver will be the lone Red Raider performance on Sunday afternoon, joined by Texas Tech Great Jacorian Duffield, beginning competition at 2:05 p.m. CDT.
Norman Grimes will participate in the junior championships after sitting out his 2017 track & field season with the Red Raiders due to injury. Grimes will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles, starting with the preliminary round on Friday at 4:55 p.m. CDT.
Kaylor Harris and Sean Hooper-Mercer will begin with their preliminary rounds of the women’s 100m dash and hurdles as well as the men’s 400m dash on Friday at 1:55 p.m. CDT, in hopes to advance to the final rounds. Harris qualified for the meet with her 11.35 100m and 13.38 100H times, while Hooper-Mercer qualified with a 45.92 400m run.