The Texas Tech track and field team has several Red Raiders who qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, in Birmingham, Alabama.
After the Big 12 Indoor Championship last week, Tech had many world-leading times, broken records and the most dominant victory in the history of the conference, according to Tech Athletics.
On the women’s side, junior Chinne Okoronkwo became the first and only Red Raider to claim a Big 12 title on the opening day of the meet after a mark of 14’-2.5” in the pole vault. The mark was the third highest in program history and helped Tech assistant coach Tom Slagle gain his first conference title as Tech’s vault coach.
Director of track and field and cross country Wes Kittley said he is proud of Okoronkwo.
“I’m so happy for Chinne getting her Big 12 Championship,” Kittley said. “I’m so happy for Coach Slagle for getting his first Big 12 Champion. I’m really happy for him as a coach.”
On the men’s side, junior Divine Oduduru ran a 20.08 in the 60m which is the fastest indoor time in the world and second-fastest in the history of collegiate track, according to Tech Athletics. Additionally, the mark was the best time ever run at a Big 12 Championship, at Tech and inside the Sports Performance Center.
The men’s team will enter the NCAA meet as the top men’s program in the country after winning the Big 12 Championship by 70 points, according to Tech Athletics. This marks the largest margin of victory in the history of the conference.
The women’s side will have three Red Raiders competing after its second-place finish.
Kittley said he is happy with how far the women’s team has come.
“I’m really proud of our ladies and how they fought so hard,” Kittley said. “We did all we could do. No matter what anyone else did, we had a really solid day.”
The 15 Red Raiders set to travel to Alabama for the meet include Okoronkwo for the pole vault and triple jump, junior Ivy Walker for the long jump and senior Zarriea Willis for the high jump, according to Tech Athletics.
On the men’s side, seniors Vincent Crisp and Andrew Hudson, along with Oduduru and freshman Sven Cepus, will be competing in the 4x400 relay. Also competing in the 4x400 relay as alternates are juniors Tyreek Mathis and Derrius Rodgers and freshman Jonah Koech.
Hudson will also run in the 60m and 200m races as well as Oduduru. Crisp and Koech will be competing in the 800m.
Freshman Axel Hubert will compete in the heptathlon and senior Drew McMichael will compete in the pole vault.
Junior Jah-Nhai Perinchief and Odaine Lewis will compete in triple jump, while Lewis and Charles Brown will compete in long jump. Perinchief will also compete in the high jump.
“I think the men’s team is confident just because we’ve had a good year,” Kittley said. “We’re relatively healthy and that gives us an opportunity. We just need to do what we’ve been doing we should be fine.”
The NCAA Indoor Championships are set to take place on Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, in Birmingham, Alabama.