LUBBOCK, Texas – Week three of the indoor track and field campaign will see 11 top-25 teams making their ways to Lubbock for the Texas Tech Classic. The weekend will be Tech's first three-day competition of the season. Thursday will feature combined events, while traditional events will be run on Friday and Saturday.
When asked about the quality of teams that will be in action this weekend, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley said, "It's just incredible. From the Big 12 we have Oklahoma and Baylor, from the west coast we have Arizona, Arizona State and USC, and from the east coast we have Miami and NC State. It's just all bits and pieces of great teams.
"This is the premier meet of the year [for us]," he said. "And in the country it is the premier meet anywhere."
Adding to the hype surrounding Tech's third meet of the season will be the strength of the 60m squads coming to Lubbock. This weekend will feature three of the top-four 60m sprinters in the country. The Sports Performance Center's event record of 6.60 will be tested, as all three – Kashaun James and Bryand Rincher from Florida State and Cravont Charleston from NC State – have already topped out at 6.60 or lower this season. Tech will counter with Andrew Hudson, who in his lone 60m this year recorded a 6.65. The 60m crew will go in the semi-finals at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.
Elsewhere on the men's track, Divine Oduduru will go against Andrew Ewers from Florida State, whom he edged out by one one-hundredth of a second to win the outdoor 200m national title. The two will get to match up in the 200m for the first time since Oduduru's close win in 2018. This rematch will rake place at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
The 400m will be the event to watch on the women's side as Sara Limp will run her first open 400m of the season after running the open 200m and the second leg of the 4x400 in her first two meets. The senior, who set an indoor PR of 52.97 in the 400 at last year's Big 12 Championships that would rank fourth in the nation this season, will be going against three of the country's top-eight 400m runners – including top-ranked Kaelin Roberts from USC – Friday evening at 7:15 p.m. She will receive backup from Damajahnee Birch and Jadsia Warden, who are also a part of Limp's 4x400 team that has been instrumental in aiding Tech's ten-spot jump in the national rankings from No. 26 to No. 16.
The marquee field event will be the triple jump, where there will be eight jumpers that have PR'd over 52 feet. Tech junior Odaine Lewis will enter with a top lifetime mark of 53'-11.25" (16.44m) that currently puts him second in the nation. He will be joined by teammates Charles Brown (sixth in the nation) and Jequan Hogan (ninth). They will be going against fifth-ranked Armani Wallace from Florida State as well as Tahar Triki from Texas A&M. Lewis came within two and a half inches of beating Triki in the outdoor national championship last year, finishing second behind the A&M junior. Triki has yet to triple jump this year. The long jump will get underway at noon on Saturday.
With so much competition to push his team, Kittley hopes he will see a lot of marks and times that will qualify for the NCAA Championships in March.
"I think this week kind of ups the ante where we need to start seeing some national qualifiers," he said. "There are going to be several key races for us that I'm hoping will get us some top-16 marks to qualify. When you have this opportunity, you better take advantage of it."
The opportunity to continue such a strong start to the season will begin Thursday at noon as the women's pentathlon and men's heptathlon kick off a day of combined events. The remainder of the meet will take place Friday and Saturday. Tickets may be purchased here.