INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Wednesday its list of All-Americans from the 2020 indoor season. With the NCAA Indoor Championships being cancelled back on March 13, the USTFCCCA has determined all athletes who were on the most updated start lists prior to the cancellation will be recognized as All-Americans. Therefore, there were 671 honorees across 119 institutions. Tech’s nine men accounted for 10 All-America awards, while five women garnered six awards across five events.
There is no First Team, Second Team or Honorable Mention distinction among the awards.
“This was one of the strongest teams as far as men and women combined I think we’ve had in a long time,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley. “Our women really had an opportunity to finish high in the national meet, and overall it was just a very special group that got to qualify for nationals.”
Tech’s men’s group once again qualified in the double-digits, traveling to the meet with 10 total entries. The Red Raiders, who finished tied for fifth at last year’s meet, were to be spread across seven events. The Red Raiders were set to run three in the 200m: Karayme Bartley, Ashton O’Conner and Jacolby Shelton. Bartley was to be Tech’s top seed in the race, entering with a time of 20.68 (converted from 20.61 for altitude). Shelton, in his first national meet running as an individual, was set to be the men’s team’s lone doubler after also qualifying in the 60m.
Tech also landed two in then800m. The Red Raiders’ mid-distance group was set to be led by Takieddine Hedeilli, who won the Big 12 title in the 1000m and mile. Sven Cepus hopped into the top-16 as well with a 1:49.04 (converted from 1:48.73) set in January. The March meet was set to be Cepus’ second 800m title race in his first two years as a Red Raider.
Four Tech men also qualified in the field, including both of the Red Raiders responsible for breaking school records during the season. Brandon Bray entered the pole vault competition as the sixth seed after clearing 18′-5.25″ (5.62m) at the Matador Qualifier on Feb. 21. The clearance made Bray the program record-holder, downing Brit Pursley’s 27-year old mark and making him the program leader in both the indoor and outdoor pole vault. The other record holder who made his way to Albuquerque was Gabe Oladipo in the weight throw. In his first season as a Red Raider, Oladipo marked five program top-10 distances in the event.
Jumps was to be paced by senior Justin Hall. The Big 12 runner-up ranked fourth in the nation in the long jump after jumping over eight meters indoors for the first time in his career. Hall’s top mark of 26′-5″ (8.05m) was the third farthest in school history. He was going to be joined by Jequan Hogan, who at 16th in the nation had successfully worked his way into his first national meet.
Two-time Big 12 Champion Ruth Usoro led the women’s team, qualifying in both horizontal jumps. Usoro, the school record-holder in the long and triple jump, was Tech’s lone top-five qualifier in two events. She was set to enter her first national meet at the Division I level ranked third in the long and fourth in the triple.
For the first time ever, Tech’s women successfully qualified two in the pole vault. Chinne Okoronkwo, an All-American in 2019 in the event, was returning as the 13th-ranked vaulter in the field. Okoronkwo successfully defended her Big 12 Championship in the indoor pole vault, winning her third-straight overall title with a clearance of 14′-3.25″ (4.35m). The mark was two inches off the school record and ranked second in program history. Chloe Wall qualified for her first national meet, doing so also with a program top-five mark. Wall’s came at the nationals facility in February, where she cleared a career-best 14′-2.75″ (4.33m) for the third-highest mark in school history.
Gabrielle McDonald was to be the lone Tech female on the track. The junior transfer qualified in the 60m hurdles two weeks after winning a Big 12 title in the event in Ames. McDonald, another school record-holder, ran 8.04 for the win. Her record came at the Corky Classic in her Red Raider debut, where she ran 8.02.
All-American pentathlete Kaylee Hinton completed an inspiring return from injury to qualify for her first NCAA Indoor Championship meet and first national meet since 2018. Hinton’s comeback redshirt senior season was strong, resulting in a Big 12 runner-up performance with a Tech championship record 4,105 points.
Karayme Bartley | Gr. | 200m
Brandon Bray | R-Sr. | Pole Vault
Sven Cepus | So. | 800m
Justin Hall | Sr. | Long Jump
Takieddine Hedeilli | Gr. | 800m
Jequan Hogan | So. | Long Jump
Ashton O’Conner | Fr. | 200m
Gabe Oladipo | Sr. | Weight Throw
Jacolby Shelton | So. | 60m & 200m
Kaylee Hinton | R-Sr. | Pentathlon
Gabrielle McDonald | Jr. | 60H
Chinne Okoronkwo | Sr. | Pole Vault
Ruth Usoro | Jr. | Long Jump & Triple Jump
Chloe Wall | Jr. | Pole Vault