Ruth Usoro honored as High Point Scorer while women tally record 131 points.
AMES, Iowa – Texas Tech track and field’s men’s and women’s teams finished runners-up at the Big 12 Indoor Championships Saturday.
In a silver-medal effort, Tech’s women compiled 131 points. It is the most points a Texas Tech women’s team has ever totaled at a Big 12 meet.
“We had a great meet,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley of the women. “We had multiple Big 12 Champions yesterday and today, and I couldn’t tell you how proud I am of them.”
The women were paced by jumper Ruth Usoro, whose sweep of the long and triple earned her the honor of High Point Scorer along with three other women who won two events. After another 21-foot long jump Friday night, Usoro tripled 43’-8” (13.31m) to secure another gold medal. Her jump tied the program’s fifth-farthest mark, making her the owner of half of the top-six distances in school history.
“She was incredible this weekend,” said Kittley. “She was worried about her step being a little bit off on the runway, but she put it together and won two Big 12 Championships this weekend. She’s learning how to compete in the two semesters she’s been here. She’s going to be a great one and we’re so proud of her.”
Tech’s other gold medal came on the track in the day’s first running event. Gabrielle McDonald ran 8.04 in the 60m hurdles – the second best time in school history. McDonald, who also owns the school record of 8.02, won comfortably to secure her first Big 12 title.
Sylvia Schulz paced a three-Red Raider final in the 600-yard, even chasing down the school record in the process. The freshman from Germany cruised to victory in her heat of the two-section final, crossing in 1:20.13. Compiled results would have Schulz earning silver, while Damajahnee Birch (1:21.28) and Lexye Price (1:21.76) ran season bests to finish fourth and sixth, respectively.
D’Jenne Egharevba tallied eight points across the 60m and 200m, hitting the podium twice in the fifth-place spot. In the 60m, she was flanked by McDonald (fourth place) and Le-Taija Jackson (sixth). After the 200m final, she stood on the podium with Peyton Ricks, who scored for the first time in her career as an individual. Amanda Crawford ran a career-best 53.65 in the 400m, then split 52.96 to help the Tech 4×400 relay earn bronze.
Tech carried two PRs in the 3000m. Bronze medalist Nokuthula Dlamini led the way in the second heat of the two-section final, running 9:32.47 for a seven-second career best. She was preceded by Seselia Dala, whose 9:52.70 was a PR by 20 seconds.
The men brought it down to the last few events with host Iowa State, but the distance-heavy Cyclone team pulled away to win, 137-127.
“I think our men fought hard,” Kittley said. “We made some mistakes yesterday that cost us today, and then we had a few hiccups today. You just can’t do that in a championship meet. We knew we had to be perfect today, and we were good, not perfect.”
The 10-point loss to the Cyclones did not come without excitement. At the forefront of Tech’s battle for its third-straight indoor championship was Takieddine Hedeilli. The graduate transfer was phenomenal on the track, winning both the mile and 1000m in dramatic fashion.
He started with the mile, hanging onto Iowa State seniors Festus Legat and Edwin Kurgat before passing them in the final 200m. It came down to a fast final lap after a slow build-up, where Hedeilli’s long, smooth strides carried him to victory in front of the two Cyclones in 4:13.27.
With less than an hour between the mile final and the title race for the 1000m, Hedeilli was left with little time to cool down. Nevertheless, he again held strong amongst the pack before taking a commanding lead the final 300m for the double.
“Taki is just so tough,” said Kittley. “He ran so hard yesterday on the DMR – which we actually hadn’t even planned to run him on. Then he came back today with the mile and the 1000m an hour apart and swept them. A really incredible day for him. He’s special.”
Tech took one silver medal on the track, this one coming from freshman standout Ashton O’Conner. The sprinter ran his section of the two-heat 200m final in 20.81 for the runner-up finish. The race came two hours after he ran 6.80 to score three points in the 60m. Derrius Rodgers was behind O’Conner in the 200m, crossing in a season-best 21.18 for fifth place. O’Conner was joined by two other Red Raiders in the 60m: Jacolby Shelton and Keion Sutton. Shelton paced Tech in the short sprint, running 6.756 four fourth place. Sutton’s 6.760 was good for fifth.
The 400m also saw Ryan Champlin run 47.22 for career best and a sixth-place finish. Like Crawford on the women’s side, Champlin carried his PR into the 4×400. He ran as the leadoff leg before handing off to Karayme Bartley. Norman Grimes Jr. split 46.37 while Chancellor Stephenson closed the relay at 3:07.78.
In the throws, Gabe Oladipo earned bronze in the shot put. The bronze came on the back of a top throw of 59’-3.5” (18.07m), bringing Oladipo’s weekend point total to 14 after his runner-up finish in weight throw on Friday.
Tech will have a week to recover and train for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which run March 14-15 and will be held in Albuquerque, N.M.