Tech strong despite battling lightning and rain at Texas A&M’s The Reveille.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas Tech battled rainy conditions and a three-hour lightning delay while competing at Texas A&M’s The Reveille. Despite the weather, the Red Raiders had a good showing in what will be their last competition for the next two weeks.
“For kids to go warm up and then have to go sit on the bus is tough,” said Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Wes Kittley. “It makes it really difficult, but our kids still came out, fought hard and we had some really good performances.”
Divine Oduduru led the way on the track with a 10.13 in his opening 100m of the spring. The junior’s time was plenty for the win, but, more importantly, it allowed him to join Andrew Hudson as the second Red Raider to rank in the top-five in the country in the event.
Tech completed a sweep of the quarter hurdles thanks to Norman Grimes, Jr. and Damajahnee Birch. The former hopped into the national top-10 with his 50.69, which was his first sub-51 time since last year’s West Preliminary. Birch turned in a 58.67, which counted as her best mark as a Red Raider.
Tech’s men’s 4x400m group put together solid races despite their events being pushed past 11 o’clock. The Red Raiders ran just one of their traditional legs, Vincent Crisp, and yet turned in a 3:07.20. Chancellor Stephenson, who won the open 400m earlier in the evening with a career-best 46.76, got Tech off to a strong start before handing the baton to Grimes. Grimes gave way to Crisp, who passed to Sven Cepus as the anchor. The foursome’s work resulted in a third-place finish.
Nokuthula Dlamini particularly impressed Kittley, as she ran a combined 8,000 meters Saturday. Dlamini began her evening with a PR in the steeplechase for the second straight weekend, going 10:35.98 for the win. Just over two hours later, she ran a 17:09.88 to become victorious in her first career 5000m.
“Nikki was as strong as I’ve ever seen her,” Kittley said. “She just looked like she was having fun and felt good. I’m proud of her because she looked like she just wanted to get out there and compete.”
Most of the field events were wrapped up prior to the delay. Kittley believed the events in the field were highlight by Chelsey Cole, who long jumped 20’-5.25” (6.23m) for a second-place finish. The distance, which came on her fifth attempt, makes her the new team leader and places her third in the Big 12. She nearly chased down a second PR, coming just two inches from her collegiate best of 42’-6.25” (12.96m) in the triple jump to place third.
Charles Brown took home the win in the men’s section of the long jump after going 26’-0.75” (7.94m). He was joined by Justin Hall, whose 25’-4.5” (7.73m) was his furthest NCAA wind-legal leap since last year’s Big 12 Championships.
Jake Benninghoff cleared 6’-11.75” (2.13m) for his first collegiate victory. The sophomore’s mark was an outdoor personal record and pushed him closer to his progression over seven feet.
While there were many Tech wins, Kittley was primarily focused on using the meet for development.
“I call this a workout because we’re not running next week,” he said. “If we’re not running again for two weeks, this is important to at least get a meet in. The month of April is a training month, and we needed this as a training day. I was really pleased and I think we got things accomplished.”
A week off next weekend will lead Tech to the Michael Johnson Invitational at Baylor on April 19-20.