LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech wrapped up its first home meet of the spring Saturday with several wins and encouraging performances as the outdoor season begins to get into full swing.
"I thought our kids looked good today," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. "We're still trying to get some of the rust off from indoors, but I'm really proud of the way we came out here and competed today."
The women's top 4x100 group got off to a solid start with its first sprint relay of the season. The legs of Tiffani Johnson, Daja Gordon, Alaysha Johnson and D'Jenne Egharevba turned in a 44.60, which takes over as the lead in the Big 12. The men's relay team also picked up the win, running a 39.94 with legs from Justin Hall, Jacolby Shelton, Keion Sutton and Charles Brown. Shelton then returned to the track for the 100m, where he ran a 10.42 to slide into second in the Big 12.
In the women's sprints, Tiffani Johnson turned in a personal-record 11.44 in the 100m to pick up the win. In the 100m hurdles, Rose Njoku won a 13.69. Njoku was running into a light win when she came within one-fifth of a second of her PR on her first race of the spring.
"With Tiffani being a senior, I love seeing her start her season like that," Kittley said.
The 400m saw Chancellor Stephenson run a PR in the 400m with a 47.13. He was followed closely by Vincent Crisp, who took fifth with a near-PR 47.36. Norman Grimes won the 400m hurdles with a 51.44, which places him atop the Big 12. Damajahnee Birch won the women's 400m hurdles with a 59.97.
Cyre Virgo won the high jump for her first win since last outdoor season. Virgo topped at 5'-7.25" (1.71m) for the win. Tech also came away with the win in the men's high jump as Jack Scarborough was victorious for the first time in his collegiate career. Scarborough topped at 6'-11" (2.11m) for the win.
Drew McMichael topped at 17'-6" (5.34m) for the win in the pole vault. The senior, who was vaulting for the first time since indoor nationals, made three attempts at 18-feet but could not clear it. The women's pole vault was led by Chinne Okoronkwo, who was also competing for the first time since nationals. Her win came along with a clearance of 13'-10" (4.22m).
Duke Kicinski won the discus with a top throw of 199'-2" (60.71m). It is the second week in a row he has thrown over 60m – something he had never done before last weekend.
"Duke was almost on 200 two weeks in a row," Kittley said. "I'm loving seeing him get consistent in that discus because at regionals you only get three throws to get to nationals. I love seeing him be able to do that."
Seasons Usual took home the win in the discus as well, this being her first win this season. Usual, who placed fourth in the hammer throw Friday night, launched a near-PR 178'-11" (54.55m) for the first-place finish. Just two inches short of her personal best, the distance marks a good start to the spring for the sophomore.
"We always felt like Seasons was going to be a very good discus thrower," Kittley said. "It's encouraging to see her get a near-PR so early in the year."
He continued, saying, "This sets both Duke and Seasons up really well to go into next weekend at the Texas Relays against some really good competition."
The distance crew also saw several personal bests. Nathan Gift ran a personal best in the 1500m with a 4:10.92. The women's race saw PRs from Kaitlyn Irving (5:01.97) and Sydney White (5:02.76). Binta Ka placed second in her first career 5000m with an 18:40.94. In middle distance, Maygen Smith won the 800m with a solid time of 2:13.46. She was closely followed by Jessica Gallardo, whose 2:16.67 was good for second.
Tech's next stop will be Austin for the Texas Relays. The Relays will be held March 28-30.