LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech will travel 26 each from its men's and women's teams to Austin this weekend for the 92nd Texas Relays. The Red Raiders will be in full force for what will be an important weekend competing against the nation's best at the future site of the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"We're going to get to go against some of the best in the country," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. "This is going to be the first big challenge for us outdoors."
In addition to being the location of the outdoor national meet for the next two years, Austin will also be the site of the spring debut of several Red Raiders who competed at indoors in Birmingham three weeks ago.
"I think it's going to be a good test for everybody," Kittley said. "It's still very early, but I think it's going to tell you where to gauge yourself at this time of the year."
The Bowerman watch list member Divine Oduduru and Andrew Hudson will open their outdoor seasons as two of nine sprinters selected to participate in the invitational section of the 100m. They will be set to go at 2:55 p.m. on Saturday. Oduduru and Hudson will also run in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Tech's men's squad is the defending champion in the Texas Relays sprint medley.
Another relay team that will be exciting to watch is Tech's distance medley squad. This group will consist of Cornelius Kiprotich, Isaac Marquez, Sven Cepus and Jonah Koech.
The women's 4x200 team will compete in the collegiate invitational section with probable legs coming from Robyn Byrd, Daja Gordon, Peyton Ricks and Jadsia Warden, though Rose Njokuand D'Jenne Egharevba are strong substitutes.
Tech's field competitors landed several spots into invitational and A-section flights for the weekend. Jumper Charles Brown earned a spot in the A-section of both the long jump and triple jump, the former in which he will enter as the defending Texas Relays champion. Women's jumps will be led by recently-crowned indoor national champion Zarriea Willis, who will make her season debut in the A-section of the high jump. She will compete alongside Cyre Virgo, who won the B-section at last year's Texas Relays.
Drew McMichael will be one of 10 competing in the university elite section of the pole vault. Big 12 champion Chinne Okoronkwo was also deemed one of the top vaulters at the meet and will compete in the women's university elite section. After she vaults, she will make her way to the triple jump, where she earned a spot in the A-section.
The throws will be highlighted by Duke Kicinski, who earned a spot in the A-section of both the shot put and discus, the latter in which he is the NCAA leader. Seasons Usual leads the women's team in the discus, and she will throw in the A-section as well.
With so much solid competition, Kittley believes this is the first premier meet of the season for his Red Raiders.
"It's the first electric meet we have outdoors," he said. "It's a big crowd and everyone is there. It's just a great atmosphere that brings out the best in the best athletes."
The 92nd Texas Relays will officially begin Thursday. Live results will be available here, and the meet will be streamed via the Longhorn Network.
DISTANCE IN CALIFORNIA
In addition to the Red Raiders competing in Austin, distance coach Jon Murray will be taking three runners to the Mike Fanelli Track Classic at the University of San Francisco Thursday. Seselia Dala will run in the first heat of the women's 10,000m at 6:55 p.m. PT, while Stephen Alvarez and Michael Benoit will run the men's 10,000m at 10:15 p.m. PT.
It will be the second race of the season for all three, as they each ran the 5000m at the Wes Kittley Invitational. Benoit came away with a PR in his race.