The Texas Tech track and field team is heating things up as the team continues with its indoor season. Tech has had a strong lead with its throwers on both the men’s and women’s side, seeing two school records crushed by throwers Gabe Oladipo and Seasons Usual.
Starting strong this season, Oladipo, the junior transfer from Texas A&M, represented Tech in the men’s weight throw. Oladipo came just shy of the school record during the Corky Classic by three inches. While competing in the Red Raider Invitational the following week, Oladipo crushed the school record by two feet with a 21.30-meter throw.
Oladipo transferred to Tech after spending two years competing for Texas A&M. Having only competed for Tech three times now, Tech has seen much progression with its new athlete.
“I don’t think I was competing as well as I know I could’ve (at Texas A&M). I have high expectations for myself and I just decided it was time for a change,” Oladipo said. “I’m very thankful for my time at Texas A&M, I have respect for everybody there. I really enjoyed that experience, but I just thought it was time to make a change.”
Oladipo’s interest in weight throw came from his father, he said. A former weight thrower himself, Oladipo’s father paved the way for his success. It all began when Oladipo joined the track team in seventh grade. During that time, Oladipo’s father helped build a good foundation by practicing with him and taking him to bigger meets to watch other athletes.
“He really made me fall in love with the sport,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo also credited his progress to learning from his coach. During the offseason, Oladipo and his coach broke down his throws and foot work, giving him a solid foundation to be able to come out and compete the way he does.
“The key is getting to a point where you are confident in your training,” Oladipo said.
Oladipo also participated in the shot put at the Texas Tech Invitational, where he was the highest collegiate finisher with a throw of 57’-3” or 17.45 meters.
Oladipo is looking forward to contributing to the team in any way this season. He said there is still a lot he needs to work on and there is always room for improvement. Oladipo’s goals for this season are to win the conference and indoor nationals.
Another strong lead in the weight throw occurred on the women’s side with junior Seasons Usual.
During the Texas Tech Invitational Usual set two new personal records. At just her second attempt in the throw, Usual set a personal record by two feet. Her record was 64’-8.5” or 19.72 meters. In the Usual’s final throw, she crushed her record only to make a new personal record, marking 66’-2.5” or 20.18 meters. The throw also broke the 20-meter mark for the first time in her career.
“I was real encouraged with Seasons in the weight throw,” Wes Kittley the director of track and field and cross country said.
As Usual set a new personal record, she had a strong start to her junior season. At the Corky Classic, Usual threw for a personal record 18.98 meters in the weight throw. The throw landed her first in the event, securing a sweep in the event as Oladipo placed first with his 20.51-meter throw.
Oladipo and Usual are both ranked in the top three for the Big 12 with their weight throwing this season.
For the men, Oladipo ranks second in the conference with a 21.30-meter throw he had at the Red Raider Invitational. Usual ranks third in the Big 12 for her 20.18-meter throw at the Texas Tech Invitational.
Both athletes will compete again with the rest of the track and field team next week at the New Mexico Classic on Friday and Saturday. This will be the first meet away from home after starting the season with three consecutive in the Sports Performance Center.