Today marks the first day of competition at arguably the toughest, and one of the most prestigious, collegiate outdoor track meets in the country — the Texas Relays.
After having some impressive performances Saturday at the Texas Tech Open, members of the Texas Tech track and field teams look to improve this week in Austin.
Last year, Tech finished fourth at the Texas Relays, but sophomore Candace Jackson believes the team can do better this year considering their success throughout the first few weeks of the outdoor season.
“Yeah, because we’re running faster this year than we had last year at this time. So our confidence is very high,” she said. “So we know we going to come up on top, or at least try to come up on top. Last year we got fourth; we know we’re going to place better this year.”
Although the No. 3 Red Raiders and No. 12 Lady Raiders head down to Austin today, not a single member of either team will compete until tomorrow.
On Thursday, the 110-meter hurdles, pole vault and discus events begin at 11 a.m.; at 5 p.m., the 400-meter hurdles begin.
Events run through Saturday in Austin.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Omo Osaghae gets the chance to better his time of 13.29 seconds that he ran at the Tech Open on Saturday. The senior’s time is the best mark in the NCAA this season to this point.
Julian Wruck, who holds the best throw in the NCAA this season, will try and add a few meters to the 203’-00” (63.88M) throw he recorded at the Elite Discus Throw Exhibition on Friday.
At the Tech Open, Jamele Mason outran his competition and in the process set a school record in the 400-meter hurdles at 49.30 seconds.
Mason said it was nice to break the record but he has turned his full attention to the next meet.
“Right after it happened, of course you celebrate and you think about it a lot, but now we’re started a new week now,” he said. “Like coach said to us today, ‘What’s done is done, so now it’s time to keep working hard and keep pushing forward.’ Although we rejoice about it, and we think about it, we use that as a reminder of if we work hard, we could even do better than that.”
The women’s 4X100 relay team, consisting of Erica Alexander, Terra Evans, Candace Jackson and Taylor Evans, runs at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
The team tries to improve their personal best of 44.04 seconds, which they recorded at the Tech Open — that time is fifth in the NCAA this season.
At the same time, the 100-meter women’s hurdles will be underway, meaning Tech’s Kelsey Lloyd will try to keep her winning streak alive.
Lloyd has claimed the hurdle title in every outdoor meet this season and broke the school record at the TCU Invitational with a time of 13.25 seconds.
Amidst all the success these squads have had during the first three meets, Tech track and field coach Wes Kittley said he has seen a change in the team this year.
That change being the way his athletes carry themselves.
“I just think this team is more focused than last year’s team,” he said. “You win championships with juniors and seniors, and we have a lot of juniors and seniors. I think you’re just finally seeing a more mature team … This is a business trip, so we have to go down there and act like we’re serious about what we’re going to do.”