Red Raider track wins another Big 12 Championship

Red Raider track wins another Big 12 Championship

NORMAN, Okla. – For the fourth time in as many Big 12 Championships, the Texas Tech men's team hoisted the team trophy as dominant victors over the rest of the conference. 
 
The Red Raiders tallied 164 points – just 11 from the meet record – to take the title and complete their second consecutive indoor/outdoor sweep of the conference championship. 
 
While the team came short of the meet record for most points scored, a handful of individual meet records were set by Red Raiders Sunday. 
 
The first meet record to topple was the 100m mark, a seven-year-old time of 10.03. Divine Oduduru was responsible for the striking of the mark from the top of the Big 12 Championship record book, going 9.99 to become the first to ever break the sub-100 barrier at the conference meet. It was plenty of time to secure the win and successfully defend his 100m title from last season. The mark also counted as a John Jacobs Field facility record.
 
Oduduru had a hand in the second meet record that went down as well. The junior ran the second leg in a 4x100 relay that would run a blazing 38.83 for the Championships and school record. Oduduru ran the relay with Keion Sutton as the opener, Andrew Hudson the third leg and Jacolby Shelton the anchor – the same foursome that set the previous record earlier in the season at the Texas Relays. 

 
Norman Grimes, Jr., went after the meet record in the final of the 400m hurdles and missed it by just over one-tenth of a second 49.11. What the Amarillo native did not miss, though, is a second-straight conference title in the quarter hurdles. Grimes' time made for a comfortable win and put him back on top as the national leader. 
 
Also grabbing a conference title was Andrew Hudson, whose 20.39 200m nabbed the first individual Big 12 Outdoor title of the senior's career. Hudson's 200m, which was the last title the men won Sunday evening, put the meet on ice and clinched Tech's fourth-straight trophy. 
 
While a steady stream of men's conference titles were picked up on the track Sunday evening, it was a strong overall performance by Tech's field unit that set the runners up to run away with the championship.
 
Duke Kicinski joined Oduduru, Grimes and the 4x1 team as Red Raiders to top the podium for the second straight year. Kicinski's title defense came in the discus, where his 194'-2" (59.19m) was good for the gold. Ranked second in the nation, he has gone over 59 meters in six of his last eight meets. 
 
Brandon Bray's return from an injury sustained during indoor season has been remarkably seamless and, Sunday, included the best finish of his Big 12 Outdoors career. After no-heighting in his first two attempts at competing this spring, Bray has now cleared 17'-5" in each of his last four competitions. Sunday's clearance of 17'-10.5" (5.45m) tied his season best and was good for runner-up in the event. 
 
Tech's women's group compiled 93 points over the course of the weekend, a majority of which were earned Sunday and spread out over several event areas. 
 
Zarriea Willis, in the first event of the day, brought the Lady Raiders 10 points with a title in the high jump. Willis' appearance at the top of the podium was her second in a row outdoors and third overall including this year's indoor meet. The senior's winning height Sunday was 6'-0" (1.83m) even. Willis cleared it on her third attempt, while Kansas State's Clare Gibson failed to convert. She made three attempts at a would-be 6'-1.25" (1.86m) once she was the lone remaining jumper, but fouled out and headed for the podium. 

 
The women received an eight-point pickup in the triple jump thanks to Chinne Okoronkwoand Chelsey Cole. Okoronkwo hit the podium for the triple a day after standing on top of it for winning the pole vault. She earned her way to the fourth spot Sunday with a top leap of 43'-1" (13.13m). Cole placed sixth for the best finish of her outdoor career with a 42'-8.25" (13.01m).
 

 
The Lady Raiders grabbed fourth place on the track twice. The 4x100 relay squad – comprised of Alaysha Johnson, Daja Gordon, Peyton Ricks and Robyn Byrd – ran a 45.02 to grab fourth in the first track event of the day Sunday. Individually, it was Damajahnee Birch in the 400m hurdles. The junior ran a 59.59 for five points in her Big 12 quarter hurdles debut. 
 
With a fourth-straight Big 12 men's title and a near-triple-digit performance from the women in hand, Texas Tech will shift focus to the NCAA West Preliminary. The regional meet will take place May 23-25 in Sacramento, Calif. 
 

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