The Texas Tech track and field team kicked off its 2020 season with the Corky Classic on Friday and Saturday in the Sports Performance Center. Several of Tech’s athletes set new personal and some broke school records.
Starting with the men, junior Gabriel Oladipo, a transfer from Texas A&M, was only three inches shy of breaking the school record in the men’s weight throw. Oladipo’s throw went 20.51 meters and earned him a first-place finish.
In addition to field events, sophomore Jequan Hogan set a new indoor personal record in the men’s triple jump with a 16.02-meter leap. Along with the personal record, Hogan’s jump earned him first-place in the event.
“Really pleased with Jequan in the triple jump, getting that mark,” head coach Wes Kittley said.
As for the events on the track, Tech had a strong lead way with the middle-distance runners. The freshman, Alfred Chawonza, made his first collegiate appearance running in the men’s 1000-meter. Taking the lead for the men’s 1000-meter by just .02 seconds, Chawonza placed first overall with a time of 2:31.29.
“It’s the first time he’s ever run a race for Texas Tech, and I felt he competed really well,” Kittley said.
Staying with middle-distance, senior runner Chancellor Stephenson set his personal best in the men’s 600-yard. Running a 1:11, Stephenson set his PR by one one-hundredth of a second, according to Tech Athletics.
In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, freshman Cale Kassen was the only one to qualify for the final after prelims. He ran an 8.07 and placed fifth in the prelim. As for the final, Kassen placed fifth with a time of 8.05.
In the men’s 60-meter without hurdles, seniors Derrius Rodgers and Keion Sutton both made it into the final. Rodgers led the sprinters with a 6.67-second run while Sutton almost ran a personal best with a 6.71-second run. This was just one one-hundredth of a second from his career best, according to Tech Athletics.
As for the women, junior Seasons Usual set a new personal record in the women’s weight throw. With an 18.98-meter throw, Usual took first place in the event. Three Lady Raiders took the top three spots in the woman’s pole vaulting. In addition, a personal record was set for sophomore Ryleigh Redding after she cleared 3.83 meters.
On the track, junior Gabrielle McDonald dominated the 60-meter hurdles. McDonald competed in her first meet as a Lady Raider after transferring from Texas A&M. McDonald ran an 8.02 in the final, which placed herself second in the nation for her time. The run also broke the program record in the event.
“I’m thrilled for Gabby that she breaks the school record right off the bat,” Kittley said. “First race for Texas Tech. My word what a great run.”
The final event of the day was the 4x400. There were two Lady Raider teams. The first team was McDonald, Crawford, Warden and Damajahnee Birch. They came in second place with a 3:39.05. Tech’s second relay team consisted of Le-Taija Jackson, Lexye Price, Simone Watkins and Daja Gordon finishing with a time of 3:49.86, placing in fourth.
Several wins and personal records were broken at the first track meet of the season.
“I was really pleased to see a lot of new kids and the some of our veterans getting back into the wars,” Kittley said. “I think we came out of it pretty healthy, number one. Number two: let’s just get better every week.”
The track and field team will continue its season with the Red Raider Invitational on Friday in the Sports Performance Center.