Finishing the NCAA West Preliminary, the Texas Tech track and field team led the nation with 19 qualifications from the men’s team for the NCAA Championship as well as earning two women’s qualifications.
The Red Raiders opened the third day of the preliminary with the 4x100 team of senior Andrew Hudson, juniors Keion Sutton and Divine Oduduru and freshman Jacolby winning their heat for an automatic bid to nationals, according to a Tech Athletics release. The four ran a 39.00 for the third-fastest time in program history, giving the top-three times in school history.
As the 4x100 team advanced to nationals, Hudson and Oduduru also qualified for the 200m, according to the release. Hudson ran a 20.04 for the fastest time in his heat and a lifetime best. His time ranked fifth in the world as he recorded two sub-2.15 times over the weekend for two individual national qualifications.
After Hudson’s qualification, Oduduru prepared for his 200m as he was the world leader and the defending NCAA Champion in the event, according to the release. Oduduru finished with a 20.08 to win his heat for an automatic bid to nationals.
In the 100m hurdles, graduate transfer Alaysha Johnson ran a 13.35 to place third her heat, securing her qualification for nationals, according to the release.
“I’m so happy that I came to Texas Tech,” Johnson said, according to a Tech Athletics video on Twitter. “That my coaches have my back when it comes to reinventing myself as a double hurdler.”
With the bid, Johnson earned two qualifications for the national meet as she will participate in the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles, according to the release.
“It’s been a tremendous year for me,” Johnson said, according to the release. “I transferred twice, and I’ve been in so many predicaments where I thought I’d never run track again. To come out here with two 400m hurdle races on my legs, a personal best and a season-best in the prelims and be able to finish a race is everything to me.”
Sophomore Jake Benninghoff needed to clear 7’-1” (2.16m) to earn a trip to Austin, according to the release. After the jump-off, Benninghoff was one of the six jumpers who could not clear the jump. As the bar was lowed to 6’-11” (2.11m), Benninghoff made the jump to earn a spot at the national championship for the first time in his career.
The final Red Raiders to earn a trip to Austin were seniors Odaine Lewis and Charles Brown, according to the release. Lewis jumped 53’-9” (16.38m) in the triple jump for the top distance in the West Preliminary as he was the national runner-up in last year’s outdoor meet and this year’s indoor meet. Brown followed with a 52’-0.5” (15.86m) jump to earn his first outdoor nationals trip for triple jump since his freshman year. As they will advance with their triple jump distances, the pair also qualified in the long jump on Thursday.
The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be hosted in Austin from June 5-8.