LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech wrapped the Big 12 Championship with a combined four titles. Three of those came from a men’s team that fell just short of the team title, finishing runner-up. The women’s squad, led by High Point Scorer Ruth Usoro, finished fourth as a team.
Ruth Usoro completed a sweep in the long and triple jump in historic fashion. After landing the 11th-best mark in NCAA history to walk-off the long jump competition, she came back with 10 more points in the triple to secure High Point Scorer for the second consecutive year. Usoro left no room for dramatics Saturday, landing the distance on her third attempt and opting to pass the entirety of the finals. The move was understandable, considering the mark of 47’-1.5” (14.36m) counted as the second-best in NCAA history.
With 20 points on the weekend, Usoro had once again led all women in scoring.
Takieddine Hedeilli made a run at the men’s High Point Scorer himself, turning in another strong appearance in his second Big 12 Championship. Hedeilli, who swept the 1000m and mile in his debut last year, finished runner-up in the latter with a time of 4:06.20. With eight points in hand but missing a title defense, Hedeilli turned his focus to the 1000m. This time, he smoked the field, carving out a huge lead through 800m. It was at this point freshman Owen Likins, who was as far back as seventh after also running the mile earlier, made his move on the field. Likins made his break, sprinting into third and eventually second place. With such a large lead, Hedeilli did something incredible when he noticed what his teammate was doing: he spent the last lap consistently turning around to encourage Likins. With his teammate pushing him, Likins drove to a career-best and the silver medal. Hedeilli’s time turned out to be 2:23.70, with Likins finishing 2:23.96.
Middle distance only continued to contribute Saturday. After all three 600y runners made the final after Friday’s prelim, all three ran career bests in the final on trophy day. Sven Cepus led the charge to claim his first Big 12 title, finishing in 1:08.57. Cepus, who just held off a Baylor runner, was followed for Tech by Chancellor Stephenson, whose career best and third place time came in at 1:09.01. Marco Vilca, running in a separate heat, timed 1:09.10 to place fourth and complete an 21-point swing for the Red Raiders.
The women’s 600y saw both Red Raiders score there. Lexye Price won her heat with a time of 1:21.83, followed by Sylvia Schulz with a 1:22.19. After the running of the second heat, Price would finish fourth and Schulz fifth.
Vilca would add four more points later in the day, running a strong 800m at 1:50.55 to place fifth. The women also gained points in the event thanks to a 2:10.06, which equaled her PR.
Jacolby Shelton popped off the first 10 points of the day for the Red Raiders’ men’s team. After running a season-best 6.67 in Friday’s preliminary, he busted out a 6.63 in the final to take gold. It was his first career individual win at conference.
Peyton Ricks’ impressive season continued Saturday as she became a two-event scorer for the first time in her career. Ricks began with the 60m, running it in 7.51 for sixth place, finishing behind Monae’ Nichols’ third-place 7.51. Later on, Ricks, this time the lone Tech runner in the race, ran the best 200m of her career. She crossed in 23.53 to claim fourth place and five points. Her contribution for the day would be eight.
Maliek Kendall earned silver in the hurdles for the second straight season. The senior, who made the final on the back of a season-best 7.88, timed 7.89 for the runner-up finish. In a photo-finish, he was a mere three one-hundredths behind Baylor’s Deshaun Jones. On the women’s end of the event, Gabrielle McDonald secured four points for her side with a fifth-place finish in the hurdles. She ran 8.31.
Two Red Raiders scored in the heptathlon. Fynn Zenker tallied 800-plus points in two of his three events on Saturday to bring his points total to 5,195 for the first hep of his career and finish fifth. Cole Whatley compiled 5,099 for sixth place. Gary Haasbroek, who was in first overall after his first pole vault clearance, pulled out due to injury following the event.
Release provided by Texas Tech Athletics