Tech Qualifies 16 Entries for NCAA Indoor Championships - FOX34 Lubbock

Tech Qualifies 16 Entries for NCAA Indoor Championships

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Wes Kittley Wes Kittley

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA released its list of official qualifiers for the March 13-14 NCAA Indoor Championships this week. The national title meet in Albuquerque, N.M., will include nine men and five women representing Texas Tech.

Tech's men's group will once again have double-digit qualifiers to the meet with 10 total entries. The Red Raiders, who finished tied for fifth at last year's meet, will be spread across seven events. The Red Raiders will stack the 200m with three preliminary competitors: Karayme Bartley, Ashton O'Conner and Jacolby Shelton. Bartley will be Tech's top seed in the race, entering with a time of 20.68 (converted from 20.61 for altitude). Shelton will double in his first national meet running as an individual, also qualifying in the 60m.

Two more Tech runners will take up lanes in the 800m. Tech will be led by Takieddine Hedeilli, who won the Big 12 title in the 1000m and mile. Sven Cepus hopped into the top-16 as well, with a 1:49.04 (converted from 1:48.73) set in January. March's meet will mark Cepus' second 800m title race in his first two years as a Red Raider.

Four from the men's team will compete in field events, including both of the Red Raiders responsible for breaking school records this season. Brandon Bray will enter as the sixth seed after clearing 18'-5.25" (5.62m) at the Matador Qualifier on Feb. 21. The clearance made Bray the program record-holder, downing Brit Pursley's 27-year old mark and making him the program leader in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault. The other record holder competing will be Gabe Oladipo in the weight throw. In his first season as a Red Raider, Oladipo has marked five program top-10 distances in the event.

Jumps will be paced by senior Justin Hall. The Big 12 runner-up currently ranks fourth in the nation in the long jump after jumping over eight meters indoors for the first time in his career. Hall, whose top mark of 26'-5" (8.05m) was the third farthest in school history, will seek his first national title. He will be joined by Jequan Hogan, who at 16th in the nation has successfully worked into his first national meet.

Two-time Big 12 Champion Ruth Usoro will lead the women's team, qualifying in both horizontal jumps. Usoro, the school record-holder in the long and triple jump, is Tech's lone top-five qualifier in two events. She will enter her first national meet at the Division I level ranked third in the long and fourth in the triple.

Tech will be represented twice in the women's pole vault, a first for the program. Chinne Okoronkwo, an All-American last season in the event, will return as the 13th-ranked vaulter in the field. Okoronkwo successfully defended her Big 12 Championship in the indoor pole vault last week, winning her third-straight overall title with a clearance of 14'-3.25" (4.35m). The mark was two inches off the school record and ranked second in program history. Chloe Wall has qualified for her first national meet, and she will do so also with a program top-five mark. Wall's came at the nationals facility a month ago, where she cleared a career-best 14'-2.75" (4.33m) for the third-highest mark in school history.

Gabrielle McDonald will be the lone Tech female on the track. The junior transfer will run the 60m hurdles two weeks after winning a Big 12 title in the event in Ames. McDonald, another school record-holder, ran 8.04 for the win. Her record came at the Corky Classic in her Red Raider debut, where she ran 8.02.

All-American pentathlete Kaylee Hinton will compete in her first NCAA Indoor Championship meet and first national meet since 2018 after missing last season due to injury. Hinton's comeback redshirt senior season has been strong, thus far resulting in a Big 12 runner-up performance with a Tech championship record 4,105 points.

The 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships will take place March 13-14 in Albuquerque, N.M.

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