AUSTIN – Texas Tech’s women’s team competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Thursday, with the highlight of the evening being Alaysha Johnson’s breaking of a program hurdles record.
The record toppling came in the 100m hurdles, where Johnson surpassed her own program mark of 12.93 by just one one-hundredth of a second. The previous record, for which she was tied with Le’Tristan Pledger from 2014, was set by Johnson two weeks ago at the NCAA West Preliminary. The push she made at the end was not for a record, though, but a top-two automatic-qualifying spot. She finished third. The bubble time for the final at-large lane was a 12.88, leaving her just eight one-hundredths of a second from a finals appearance.
“Being able to cap the year off with a school record is just icing on the cake,” Johnson said. “I knew it would be hard, but it was worth it. This has been the most amazing experience I’ve had as a collegiate. I’m just so happy to be able to finish this year off as a Red Raider.”
In the quarter-hurdles, for which she also qualified, an exhausted Johnson ran a 1:00.40. She placed 22nd.
Finals races or not, simply securing a bid in both hurdle races was a testament to Johnson’s competitive nature, as she arrived determined to convert from a short hurdler to a double hurdler. To assistant coach Calvin Robinson, it is runners like Johnson that will take the women’s program to the next level.
“We want to get this women’s program going,” Robinson said. “Having somebody of her caliber gives us credibility. The women’s program is a program that’s on the rise, and getting somebody of her caliber and with her experience is big.”
Chinne Okoronkwo competed in the pole vault at an NCAA Outdoor Championship for the first time in her collegiate career. The junior went out while attempting a height of 14’-3.25” (4.35m), which would have been a career best. She settled for a top clearance of 13’-9.25” (4.20m) to tie for 16th in a crowded and talented field.
The women’s 4×100 relay also put together its best performance of the season. The foursome – comprised of its regular legs of Robyn Byrd, Daja Gordon, Peyton Ricks and Tiffani Johnson – ran a 44.30, which qualified as the 10th-best time in school history. The time it kicked out of the program top-10 was a 44.33 timed just two weeks ago at the NCAA West Preliminary in Sacramento by the same group. The group’s time made 2019 the second-fastest 4×100 relay year since 2012.
Axel Hubert competed in three of his five remaining decathlon events, but withdrew before the pole vault. He had compiled 5,398 points heading into the final two events before pulling out.
Friday will mark the final day of competition for the men. Tech qualified a nation-leading seven in running events and are set up for a strong run at the team title.