LUBBOCK, Texas– Texas Tech racked up several wins and even more personal records Saturday during the second-annual Corky Classic.
Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley began his post-meet remarks speaking about how much the namesake of Tech's opening meet means.
"It's such a fun meet for us," he said. "Nearly all of our kids knew Corky, so to remember him on this day and make today special for his family – and our team, because he was our biggest fan – it was just a great day."
The Red Raiders came off the block strong in their first meet of 2019, especially on the track. Tech saw PRs from a number of their strong core of sprinters, most notably Andrew Hudson in the 60m. The senior ran a 6.65 in his first race of the season. The mark was good for sole possession of eighth in program history. Freshman Jacolby Shelton just missed out on cracking the all-time top-10 with a 6.67 in his first race in the Scarlet & Black.
"This was my fastest season-opener, so I'm really happy about it," Hudson said after the meet. "Jacolby also ran a fast time so we were very happy about it."
Later in the afternoon, Hudson teamed with Divine Oduduru, Vincent Crisp and Tyreek Mathis to win the 4x400 relay with a 3:07.41. The women's 4x400 team won as well, as Jadsia Warden and Sara Limp partnered with transfers D'Jenne Egharevba and Damajahnee Birch to edge out Houston with a time of 3:36.84. It was the fastest 4x400 time a women's squad has recorded since 2014.
In the long jump, Odaine Lewis and Charles Brown exceeded 26 feet. Lewis finished in first with a top mark of 26'-2.75" (7.99m), while Brown finished second with a 26'-0" (7.94m) – both times that will more than likely qualify them for the NCAA Championships in March.
Kittley thought his jumps crew was the most impressive on day one of the indoor campaign, saying, "I've got to believe it's Odaine and Charles in the long jump. We got two big, almost eight-meter jumps, and that has always made the national meet. We have a ways to go, but those were two very solid marks."
Kittley especially spoke highly of Lewis, who has used his first full offseason with the team to improve greatly.
"Odaine is night and day from where he was last year," Kittley said of his Jamaican jumper. "It took him a while last year and he wasn't as sharp indoors, but now he's been through our program for a full year with [Associate Head] Coach [James] Thomas, and he's going to have a great year."
Kittley was most impressed on the women's side with Chinne Okoronkwo, who in her first meet for Texas Tech jumped into the top-10 in program history for the pole vault. The Wisconsin transfer cleared 14'-0" (4.27m) to take hold of seventh in the program record books. She also recorded a top mark of 19'-11.75" (6.09m) in the long jump to place second.
"Man, what a great opener for her – and she didn't even vault at Wisconsin last year," Kittley said. "She almost long jumped 20 feet, too. She just had a really good day."
Finishing first ahead of Okoronkwo in the long jump was Ivy Walker, who leapt a career-best 20'-3.5" (6.18m) for a new personal best. Taking gold in the long jump was Walker's second win of the day; the other coming earlier in the 60m hurdles where she ran a PR 8.31.
Walker said she saw solid performances coming from both herself and the team:
"I was going around saying, 'This is the day. This is going to be a great day for me and for everyone.'"
Another one-day meet at the Sports Performance Center is slated for next weekend. Texas Tech will host the Red Raider Open on January 18th. The day will be kicked off at 10 a.m. on the track with the 3000m, and on the field with the weight throw.