LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech put together a strong day on the track Saturday to round out the Texas Tech Shootout, while Takieddine Hedeilli seized an opportunity to break the school mile record at Washington's Husky Classic.
Sent up north in hopes of a nationals-worthy mile time, Hedeilli became the second Red Raider ever to run a sub-four minute mile indoors. The grad transfer ran 3:58.88 for the record, besting Tech legend Kennedy Kithuka by three-quarters of a second. With Kithuka's previous collegiate best at 3:59.53, Hedeilli is the only Tech runner in school history to break the 3:59 flat plane.
"Taki did a great job running his race today," said assistant coach Jon Murray, who oversees distance runners. "He was able to use the rabbit well and then finished tremendously well. What a great way to run his first indoor mile."
Back home in Texas, D'Jenne Egharevba continued her assault on the Tech record books with two more program top-10 times Saturday. The senior began her afternoon with a 7.37 to tie for the seventh-fastest time in school history. She lowered her time again to 7.36 in the final, to insert herself into the record books yet again. Egharevba was joined in the final by teammate Ruth Usoro, who ran a career-best 7.43 a day after setting the school record in the long jump.
When the men hit the straightaway, several solid times emerged. In the finals, it was Derrius Rodgers who led Tech with a season-best 6.67. Earlier, in the semis, Jacolby Shelton ran a 6.64 while Keion Sutton, running in the same heat, caught a collegiate best at 6.68. The trio of Red Raiders all sit top-seven in the Big 12 after Saturday.
"We're really keeping this culture going," Rodgers said. "Last year with Divine [Oduduru] and AJ [Hudson] here, we were really deep. To be able to keep that going and get some of these young guys rolling too is really good and we plan on keeping that going at Texas Tech."
"Very solid performances in the sprints," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. "We were hoping for that 6.60, but they're still all running 6.65 to 6.67, and that's just really good consistency out of those guys. I feel really good going into the Big 12 meet about how we're going to compete there."
Hurdles brought excitement as well for Tech. Running in his first race for the Red Raiders, Maliek Kendall ran the fastest 60m hurdles time the Big 12 has seen this season at 7.83. For consistency's sake, he ran another 7.83 in the finals. It ties the career-best mark he had previously run while competing unattached a few weeks ago.
"I'm real pleased with Maliek," said assistant coach Calvin Robinson. "It was his first time getting to run in a Tech uniform, and he had been waiting for this. He ran the same time he did unattached two weeks ago, and I think if he can clean a few things up he could qualify for the national meet."
In the women's hurdles, Gabrielle McDonald found victory in the semi-finals with a time of 8.16. McDonald, who owns the school record in the event, lowered that mark to 8.11 for the win in the final.
Big moves were made in the women's 4x400 relay, where the women retook the Big 12 lead running 3:34.78, the eighth-best time in school history. Led by Jadsia Warden and a blistering 52.52 second leg by Amanda Crawford, Tech was brought home by a strong third leg from Damajahnee Birch and a solid close by Lexye Price. It is the group's first program top-10 time of the season.
Birch, Price and Warden were all strong in their individual races, too. The former two ran the 600-yard together, both running season best times. Price finished ahead, running a 1:22.12, while Birch's best time of the year came in at 1:23.07. They were paced by Sylvia Schulz, who in her Tech debut ran the 10th-best 600-yard time in school history at 1:21.71. Warden ran the open 400m, PR'ing with a time of 54.23.
"I thought the women stepped up really well," Robinson said. "We've been trying to get that group to come together and believe they can do what they did. We had a goal of 3:34.80 and they ran 3:34.78, so we hit that pretty much head on."
"It's such an honor to be on this [relay] team," said Price. "It's so competitive. It's a seriously exciting experience to run with these girls because they're all so good."
The men's relay, despite getting tangled up with Alabama in the second leg, put together its first NCAA top-20 time of the season. First leg Ryan Champlin handed off to All-American Iowa transfer Karayme Bartley, who was making his Tech debut. Bartley stayed strong through lots of contact with Alabama's Joshua St. Clair, getting the baton to Norman Grimes Jr. and, eventually Sven Cepus to secure the time of 3:08.84.
In the field, Brianna Johnson triple jumped her way into the top-10 in the Big 12. The junior landed a top mark of 41'-7.75" (12.69m) to secure a fourth-place finish in the meet and seventh-place standing in the conference.
Chloe Wall and Chinne Okoronkwo again cleared 4.20m in the pole vault, both topping out at 13'-9.25" (4.20m).
Tech will return home Feb. 21 for the Matador Qualifier, a one-day meet which will count as the final indoor home meet of the season for the Red Raiders.