Red Raiders turn in 52-point second day to secure first men’s national title in school history.
AUSTIN – For the first time in the history of Texas Tech, a men's athletic team will return to campus as national champions. The Red Raider track and field team claimed the NCAA Outdoor Championship Friday night after receiving points contributions from every single student-athlete that suited up on the final day.
"I'm just so incredibly proud of these guys," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley, whose Red Raiders were ranked No. 1 all season. "They've lived with a target on their backs all year long. They just wanted to bring a championship home to Texas Tech, and I'm just so glad they have now done that."
Tech entered Friday tied for the national lead in track qualifications with Houston with seven. The title race was to be between the Red Raiders and cross-state Cougars, made even more exciting by the fact that the two programs would send athletes head-to-head in three events.
It was here Tech did what it has been trying to do as a program for two years: bear down and suffocate the competition. With that as the goal, Red Raider runners beat out the Cougars in all three events.
Not only did Divine Oduduru beat the Cougars in his two events – the 100m and 200m – he won them. In unbelievable fashion. Oduduru turned on the jets in the 100m, going 9.86 for his third sub-10 race of the season. Later, he did just what he did in Wednesday's semifinals: go sub-20 in the 200m within an hour of going sub-10 in the 100m. In the history of track and field, such has been done 12 times, and Oduduru owns three of them.
This was all after leading the 4x100 relay to yet another school record. His squad, which was comprised of Keion Sutton, Andrew Hudson and Jacolby Shelton, went for 38.45 in one of the fastest finals in championship history. Hudson also ran in the 200m with Oduduru. The senior, running in his first career outdoor nationals final, ran a 20.25 to place seventh and score two points for Tech.
Norman Grimes Jr. ran a 48.71 in the 400m hurdles for the silver and the fifth-fastest time in the world. It was a career-best for the sophomore and counted as the new school record – one of four set on Friday. The eight points he grabbed took two from the Cougars, whose hurdler, Amere Lattin, finished just behind Grimes in third place.
With so many points in hand from the work done on the track, it left Duke Kicinski in a position to put the meet out of reach for good. He launched a throw of 205'-2" (62.53m) for the golden 10 points that clinched the first national title in school history. Kicinski is now a national champion in the discus at both the Division I and Division II level, taking the D-II crown in 2016 while at West Texas A&M. The only other thrower to be named a champion at both levels is none other than Cliff Felkins, his throws coach at Texas Tech.
Prior to Duke's clinching discus, Jonah Koech and Vincent Crisp secured three points in the final 800m of their careers. Koech placed seventh with a 1:47.28. Crisp earned a point with his 1:47.48. The 800m final was one of the fastest in championship history.
Odaine Lewis scored in the triple jump with a season-best mark 54'-9.5" (16.70m). The senior grabbed the three points in his final collegiate meet in one of the critical events in which Tech had an athlete and Houston did not.