Texas Tech’s Track and Field program opened their season with the Corky Classic from Jan. 14-15, and graduate student jumper Jalen Seals finished in first place in the triple jump with a 16.12-meter mark.

With his winning jump, Seals surpassed his old indoor record of 16.06 meters from the 2021 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships, according to Track & Field Results Reporting System.

Seals was one of eight Red Raiders to walk away from the Corky Classic with a title, including senior Rush Usoro from Nigeria, who finished first in the women’s competition for both triple jump and long jump.

With a 14.76-meter triple jump, Usoro set an NCAA record and beat her own school record (14.36 meters), according to Tech Athletics. Seals said he’s proud of his teammate’s success and tries to replicate her strong performances.

“Rush is obviously an amazing, amazing athlete,” Seals said. “As soon as she did that … we wanted to just go out there and try to show that we can do the same thing, make sure we’re pushing each other as well.”

In Seals’ first season as a Red Raider in 2021, he finished as an All-American for both the indoor triple jump and indoor long jump, and a tenth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships secured a Second Team All-American selection.

Seals recorded a triple jump measurement of 16.17 meters in his NCAA Outdoor Championships debut, surpassing the 53-foot mark for the first time in his career.

After claiming the title at the Masked Rider Open and earning the title of Big 12 indoor long jump champion for indoor competition with (7.69 meters), he eventually recorded a leap of 15.97 meters at the NCAA West Preliminaries to place in 16th place and squeeze into the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

His triple jump measurement in the Corky Classic on Saturday was just two inches shy of his career-best from last year’s outdoor championship, ending his first season at Tech after transferring from Baylor where he spent his first three years of eligibility.

Seals credited his hot start in the Corky Classic as an effect of his first full-length offseason with Tech.

“Last year I wasn't blessed with the opportunity to get a really good offseason training because I transferred right in January, I’m telling you I jumped probably one time before our first meet,” Seals said. “Being able to get that full Fall training, I believe that really led to the big jumps early in the season.”

During the 2021 offseason, Tech’s Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Wes Kittley announced that Kierth Hertson would be the new assistant coach for the jumps and multis groups.

According to Tech Athletics, Herston came to Tech with experience coaching 38 All-Americans, two World Championship finalists, three Olymbians and one NCAA Champion.

Seals said the addition of Hertson has helped improve his game over the offseason, and that he’s long had Hertson on his radar.

“It’s definitely been a lot different, I was actually looking at going to Florida State, where he came from, when I was leaving Baylor and I always knew he was a really good coach and I was really excited to see him come here and train us,” Seals said.

Seals graduated from Boswell High School in Fort Worth, where he won the 2017 Texas 5A state triple jump title and placed second in long jump as a senior, according to Tech Athletics.

Seals said his experience in high-level competition early in his career has proved to be a motivational tool.

“I started at a really high level, so I’m going to keep pushing myself at that level,” Seals said. “Making sure I’m still trying to compete to the best of my ability.”

After spending his first three years of college in Waco with the Baylor Bears, Seals transferred to Tech after COVID-19 shortened the 2020 season and was named an All-American three different times in his first season as a Red Raider.

After being named All-American three different times in his first season, Seals got off to a hot start this season with a triple jump title in the Corky Classic.

Seals said he would only be competing in the long jump competition in the Red Raider open, Tech’s next meet that will take place on Friday, Jan. 21 at the Sports Performance Center.

Seals said playing in front of a Tech fanbase has been a game changer for the energy he feels in the moments leading up to an event.

“It’s really so different, It’s really even hard to explain,” Seals said of the difference between playing at Baylor and Tech. “I get on the runway and I’m really excited, I’ll start clapping, I’ve got all my teammates behind me and I’ve got the crowd with me. That energy itself makes you want to do bigger things.”

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