Tech’s all-time greatest sprinter to forego final year of eligibility to turn pro.
LUBBOCK, Texas – The greatest sprinter to ever don the Scarlet and Black will forego his final year of eligibility to pursue a professional career.
Divine Oduduru’s collegiate career was rounded out in storybook fashion at the NCAA Championships last weekend: with dominant wins in the 100m and 200m and 21.5 points contributed to Texas Tech’s first-ever men’s athletics national title.
Though his career as a collegiate lasted just three years, he had plenty of time to establish himself as one of the greatest collegiate sprinters ever.
The Nigerian has been a name of global prominence since finishing second behind Usain Bolt at the Rio Olympics in 2016, but he burst onto the American track scene when he won the 200m title last year out of lane eight at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
That was just the beginning.
Oduduru entered this year – his junior season – and left the track ablaze every time he stepped onto it. He ran a program top-10 time in both the 60m and 200m every time he ran them during the indoor season, which culminated with a national title in the 200m that saw him run a 20.08 for the fastest time in the world this year. He also turned in a 6.52 at the Big 12 Championships, which stood as the third-fastest 60m time. He finished his indoor career as the owner of four of the program top-10 60m times and seven of the top-10 200m times.
If the indoor tracks were on fire, Oduduru absolutely scorched the outdoor ones.
In an effort to preserve Oduduru’s legs for individual and team title runs, Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley allowed him to open up his spring season two weeks late at the Texas Relays. There, he ran as a member of four Tech relay teams, most notably leading the 4×100 squad to a school-record 38.87 – the first sub-39 time in program history.
Oduduru’s individual season got underway the following weekend at Texas A&M’s The Reveille, where he promptly ran a national top-five time of 10.13 in the 100m. It was the next weekend at Baylor’s Michael Johnson Invitational where he took off, taking the world lead in both the 100m (9.94) and 200m (19.76) – the latter of which was the second-fastest time ever run by a collegiate. Oduduru’s marks were by far school records as they marked the first time a Tech runner had ever broken the 10- or 20-second barrier. He did both in the span of an hour, and he became the 10th man ever to do both on the same day.
The junior sped through the Big 12 Championships, where he picked up a second-consecutive title in the 100m after becoming the first to ever dip below 10 seconds at the conference meet with his 9.99. He also led the 4×100 to a conference meet and school record of 38.83.
He qualified for both the 100m and 200m at the NCAA West Preliminary, breaking the 20-second barrier again with a wind-aided 19.93 in the first round. At the national meet, with a team title in view, Oduduru ascended to an even higher level, going sub-10 and sub-20 in his individual races in both the semi-finals and finals for the wins. His finals time in the 100m – a 9.86 – was the second-fastest ever run at the title meet and tied him for the world lead. His blistering 200m time of 19.73 counted as the national meet record and put him third in the world this year. It also surpassed his 19.76 from Baylor as the new second-fastest collegiate time, making him the now owner of the second- and third-fastest times ever run by a collegiate. He did all of this while running the second leg of a 4×100 that broke and re-broke the school record four times in 2019.
Oduduru will end his outdoor career as the owner of seven of the program top-10 100m times and seven of the top-10 200m times. He owns the school records in the wind-legal and wind-aided 100m and 200m.