Eugene, Ore. – Highlighted by an individual title in the 200m by sophomore Divine Oduduru, the Texas Tech men's track & field team tied for fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships Friday evening. Their point total of 33 matched that of Alabama's.
After qualifying for the finals with a 20.33 on Wednesday, Oduduru entered the 200m title race with the fifth-best time. Set to run outside in lane eight, the sophomore proceeded to run a 20.28 to grab the national title.
"It's the dream of every student-athlete to get to the national meet," Oduduru said after the race. "Coming over and winning it, I'm very happy. I want to say thank you to my coach and my teammates and everyone who made today a reality. I appreciate God for having those people around me."
"How incredible was he [Oduduru] today?" Head Coach Wes Kittley said. "He didn't run great in the prelim, but he got in there today and was just focused. [Assistant] Coach [Calvin] Robinson did a fabulous job getting him ready for today."
When asked what Oduduru's performance meant for the program, Robinson said, "It's really big for him [Divine], obviously, but it's really big for our program and where we're trying to take our program. It's just a huge stepping stone to where we want to go, not only with that group but with the team."
Odaine Lewis finished just one step lower on the podium after recording a personal best in the triple jump. The sophomore's PR of 16.73m/54-10.75 placed him just under three inches from a title, but the runner-up performance still garnered eight big points for the Red Raiders.
The third contributor to Tech's ascension up the leaderboard was high jumper Trey Culver. The senior was able to clear 2.21m/7-3 before fouling out on the next height. He settled into fourth place, which grabbed the final five points for the men's team.
Just one spot from scoring, Duke Kicinski placed ninth in the discus. He topped out with a throw of 56.55m/185-6.
Kaylee Hinton competed throughout the whole day, going through the first four events of the heptathlon. She began the day just inside the top-10 thanks to a 13.66 in the 100m hurdles. Her time, which beat her mark of 13.71 from the NCAA West Preliminaries, netted her an eighth-place finish along with 1,027 points. She then ditched the track for the infield, where she proceeded to gather 842 points in the high jump with a top height of 1.69m/5-6.5. After she turned in an 8.96m/29-4.75 in shot put, she finished eighth in the 200m with a 25.59 to finish the day 20th in a tightly-packed field with 3,256.
Saturday's women's finale will begin with Hinton competing in the long jump, which is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. CT. The Red Raiders will also have two competing in the high jump in junior Zarriea Willis and Cyre Virgo. Their event will get underway at 3:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. CT.