LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech concluded its regular season Saturday with the Masked Rider Open. The meet served as a chance to get final looks at some Red Raiders, while fine-tuning others before the focus turns to the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Regionals next week.
“It was a light day, but it’s important to stay sharp as well as give people some opportunities,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Wes Kittley.
Nobody seemed as sharp as Drew McMichael, who for the second weekend in a row broke his own school record. The senior toppled a mark of 18′-1″ (5.51m) that he shared with Brit Pursely from 1989 after clearing 18′-1.75″ (5.53m) on his first attempt. This weekend, he cleared 18’-2.5” (5.55m) to jump himself for the new record. The Fort Meyers, Fla., native now owns four of the program’s top-10 marks. He sits ninth in the nation in the pole vault.
Derrius Rodgers returned to action for the first time since the Big 12 Indoor Championships, a welcome sign for a dominant Tech sprints group always looking for more depth. The junior ran a 10.49 – just seventh-tenths off his collegiate best – to place fifth. Also running his first race of the spring was freshman KeSean Carter, whose first appearance since the end of spring football is yet another good sign for the Red Raider sprinters. He ran a 10.73 alongside Rodgers in his heat.
“It was good to get our two sprinters back,” Kittley said of the return of Rodgers and Carter. “I’m real pleased with them and it’s great to have them back before conference.”
Seasons Usual unleashed her second-best throw of 54 meters or farther this season for the win in the discus Saturday. She went for 176’-7” (53.83m) to take the gold for the second time this spring. In the hammer throw, Dorleta Armendariz-Lasa came just seven inches from a personal best after launching a 183’-9” (56.00m) for the win.
Duke Kicinski took the gold in both the discus and shot put. He threw a 191’-9” (58.45m) in the discus and a 57’-2.75” (17.44m) in the shot. Braden Darrow, who placed second in the shot behind Kicinski, tossed a lifetime-best 55’-1.5” (16.80m).
“It was a really good day for most of our throwers,” Kittley said. “It was good to see them look good right before we go to Big 12s.”
Jessica Gallardo’s solid season continued Saturday with a lifetime best in the 800m. She ran a 2:12.14 – over a second-and-a-half ahead of her PR – for the win.
Tech now looks towards the Big 12 Championships, which will be held next weekend, May 14-16, in Norman, Okla.