Record setter

Kennedy Kithuka ran one mile in 3:59:53 to win first place and break a school record during the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge on Saturday. Above, Kithuka competes in a meet in September.

This weekend, in College Station, several Texas Tech athletes recorded personal bests in their respective events.

Few of these performances, however, could compare to that of junior Kennedy Kithuka.

Only months after winning the cross-country national championship and only hours after breaking the Tech record for the distance medley relay, Kithuka etched his name deeper into the school’s history books Saturday when he became the first Tech athlete to run a mile in fewer than four minutes.

With a time of 3:59:53, Kithuka took home first place and another school record — this one exceedingly difficult to break.

“It was just an outstanding performance by Kennedy,” Tech cross-country coach and assistant track and field coach Jon Murray said in a news release. “Breaking the four-minute barrier has always been a magical barrier for a middle-distance runner and for Kennedy to do it is another tribute to his great ability. He handled the pressure of the competition with ease.”

Kithuka was not the only Tech runner to break a school record Saturday. Senior Katie Grimes remains undefeated in the 60-meter hurdles after breaking or matching a record in her third consecutive meet.

“We had several good performances today,” Wes Kittley, Tech director of track and field and cross country, said in the news release. “Kennedy was just awesome in mile. Katie (Grimes) had another solid performance. It was good to get some experience on a banked track, and several of our newcomers learned a lot this weekend.”

Grimes was able to outrun a decorated athlete in Donique Flemings. The Texas A&M senior hurdler was named 2012 First Team All-American and also won a Big 12 championship in the 100-meter hurdle race. Despite her accomplishments, Flemings could not catch Grimes, who finished just .02 seconds away from capturing the meet’s record set in 2010.

“She just ran a fantastic race,” Tech coach Dion Miller said in the release. “Katie (Grimes) continues to improve each week, and she ran a great race against great competition today. She ran like a senior today, and has a lot left in her.”

Other notable performances include the one by sophomore Jacorian Duffield, who leapt 6’-11.50”  to pick up a first place finish in the high jump. Sophomore Cierra White ran a season-best 23.85 in the 200-meter dash, earning a second place finish with her efforts.

Kyal Meyers, an All-American, finished second in the men’s pole vault, clearing 17’-0.25”. This was the eighth time in his career he has cleared 17 feet.

The Tech track and field team will look to continue its success when it hosts the Red Raider Open next weekend in Lubbock.

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