Texas Tech graduate student Duke Kicinski has set several personal records so far this season in both the Red Raider Open and the Texas Tech Classic & Multis, and will have a chance to take the No. 1 ranked Texas Tech track & field team to new heights this season.
The Rhome, Texas, native transferred from West Texas A&M in 2016 and did not compete in the 2017 season. However, since his time at Tech, Kicinski has seemingly adjusted well to the team.
Kicinski said track was not what he originally went to school for.
“I went to West Texas A&M originally because I played football,” Kicinski said. “I did track also, but I decided I just wanted to stick with track. I was good enough to transfer to a bigger school, so I came to Texas Tech to give me a little more opportunity and advantages, but it was a great experience at West Texas A&M.”
In the 2018 season, Kicinski won the discus at the ACU Wes Kittley Invite with a personal record of 59.64m/195’-8”, according to Tech Athletics. He also won the discus in the Big 12 Championships and placed ninth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
So far this season, Kicinski has won first place in the men’s discus throw as well as setting a personal record of 64’-8.75”, fifth best in program history, according to Tech Athletics. Additionally, during the Classic meet, he surpassed his personal record from the previous meet and set a new record for fifth best in program history.
Kicinski said he decided to continue competing as a graduate student because he was still eligible to do the sport he loves.
“I had another year of eligibility, and I had graduated early because they have really good academics around here (Tech),” Kicinski said. “I probably wouldn’t have (graduated early) if I couldn’t do another year of track, but the opportunity was there to go into graduate school with two semesters left of eligibility. So I looked for a graduate program, found one I kind of liked, and I’m working on it right now.”
After winning second place for the day during the Red Raider Open meet, Kicinski is set to compete in the Texas Tech Open meet on Feb. 1-2, where he hopes to up his rankings, according to Tech Athletics.
Tech head coach Wes Kittley said that Kicinski did a phenomenal job during the Open meet.
“Duke had a really good day today (at the Red Raider Open) with his personal best in the weight throw,” Kittley said. “When you do both throws in the same day, it’s tough. He had a really good day for being out here all day.”
Kicinski said his experience at Tech, as well as advice from Kittley is what keeps him going during the meets.
“It’s been great. It’s so cool to be around all these athletes who are nationally ranked. It’s humbling, but it shows you a lot of different work ethics that you can get better from and copy off of,” Kicinski said. “(Kittley) always preaches to have a hard-working mentality and to show up everyday like you have to go earn something. Nothing is given to you, and he (Kittley) preaches a lot about the work that goes into it.”
Up next, the Red Raiders will host the Texas Tech Open meet on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 in the Sports Performance Center.