Texas Tech Men Finish 5th, Women Place 12th at NCAA National Indoor Meet
Led by a 1-2 finish by high jumpers JaCorian Duffield and Bradley Adkins, theTexas Tech men’s track and field team brought home a fifth place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. this past weekend.
The 5th-place finish ties for Tech's highest at NCAA Indoors. They reached 5th place in 2013 as well. The Tech women finished 12th. It was the best showing since a ninth place finish in 2010 for the Tech women.
The Red Raider duo becomes the first pair of teammates to go 1-2 at the NCAA Championships in the high jump since 1974.
"This is one of the greatest blessings of my life," Duffield said. "To be able to do this is amazing. It was so awesome to compete against Bradley and go back and forth like that. It felt like we were at a normal practice. That's how we compete, and we were able to bring it to the track today. We've been talking about this all season, so to be able to do it is a great feeling."
Duffield cleared on his first four jumps of the event, and had sole possession of first place heading into the bar at 2.26m/7-5.0, due to having not missed up to that point. That's when Adkins made his move, clearing that bar at 2.26m/7-5.0 on his first attempt, which was a personal-best. Duffield took two tries to get it and suddenly, Adkins was in front.
From there, the bar moved up to 2.29m/7-6.0, a height neither of the two had cleared in their careers. On his second try, Duffield flew over the bar to break his own school record once again, and retake the lead.
Adkins sailed over the bar on his third attempt, bringing the capacity crowd at the Randal Tyson Center to its collective feet. Neither was able to clear the next bar, giving Duffield the national title, on jumps attempted.
Duffield becomes the third Texas Tech NCAA Indoor champion in school history.Both athletes now share the high jump school record.
"It was incredible for us to go out there and compete like that," Adkins said. "We've been trying to pull this off since I got on campus my freshman year. We are always able to push each other to do great, and today was no different, but I let him win because he's a senior. I've got him in outdoors."
Chris Caldwell contributed eight points to the team total with a second place finish in the 60-meter hurdles running a 7.69. He earned First-Team All-American honors with that performance.
Kole Weldon also garnered All-American honors for the second time in three years, and scored team points for the Red Raiders by finishing sixth in the shot put with a throw of 19.21m/63-0.25
In the final event of the evening, the men's 4 x 400 meter relay, the Red Raider quartet of Steven Champlin, Joseph Richards III, Kyle Collins and C.J. Jones clocked a 3:07.52 to place seventh, and earn first team All-American honors, while earning two team points.
On the women's side, Le'Tristan Pledger took home first team All-American honors with a fourth-place finish in the 60 meter hurdles, clocking an 8.17.
Cierra White followed that up in the 200 meter dash, with a school record-breaking 22.90 to earn her own fourth-place finish. It was the fourth time White broke the school record this season.
Those performances coupled with Shanice Stewart's fourth-place long jump finish on Friday, gave Tech 15 overall points on the women's side.
Earlier in the day Stewart finished 12th in the women’s pentathalon accumulating a total of 4,069 points.
Tech had the highest finish of any team in the Big 12, which placed four schools in the men's final top 10.
This is the first time in program history that the Tech men and women have finished in the top 12 at the same NCAA Indoor meet.
"You always wish you could have done better, but walking away in fifth place when you entered as the No. 10 team is pretty good," Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. "It's the same thing on the women's side, going from No. 22 to No. 12. There were so many great performances across the board. I don't think I've seen anything like what our high jumpers did today. That was amazing. Everybody who competed today gave it all they had, and it showed on the scoreboard at the end. I'm so proud of this team, and I'm really excited for outdoors."
There's no rest for the Red Raiders, as the 2015 outdoor campaign opens next weekend at the UTSA Invitational in San Antonio, Texas.