Texas Tech ready for Big 12 Indoor Championships - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Texas Tech ready for Big 12 Indoor Championships

Provided by Texas Tech Athletics

The Texas Tech track & field teams travel to Ames, Iowa, for the 2016 Big 12 Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27, at the Lied Recreation Center.

Both days of the conference championships will be streamed live on FloTrack.com ($). Live results can be found at DeltaTiming.com.

Friday’s competition begins at 10 a.m. with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles. Saturday starts a little later at 11 a.m., beginning with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles.

The Big 12 has some of the best teams in the NCAA, with eight teams ranked in the top 25 in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) computer rankings. The Texas Tech men’s team is ranked No. 7, following only Texas by one spot (No. 6). The other men’s teams ranked in the poll are Oklahoma State (No. 16) and TCU (No. 22). On the women’s side, Texas (No. 5) and Kansas State (No. 7) are ranked inside the top 10, with Oklahoma State (No. 11) and Baylor (No. 24) rounding out the top 25.

BIG 12 INDOOR REWIND
Last year at the indoor conference meet, the Texas Tech men’s team tallied its best finish in program history, placing second with 95.5 points. The women’s team placed fifth at 75.5 points, the best since 2011. The Red Raiders brought home three individual titles. Cierra White set the Lied Recreation Center record in the women’s 200 meters, crossing the finish line with a time of 22.98 seconds. It was her first individual indoor title and second overall, running the second leg of the 4x400 relay to a championship in 2014. White ended her indoor career with nine All-Big 12 performer honors. On the men’s side, JaCorian Duffield claimed the men’s high jump championship, leaping over the bar set at 2.22m/7-3.25. White and Duffield were the first Red Raiders in program history to win the indoor conference title in their respective events. In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, Chris Caldwell raced to a time of 7.76 seconds to win the event. Caldwell’s title marked Tech’s fourth indoor crown in the 60-meter hurdles and first since Omo Osaghae in 2009. The Red Raiders also tallied 49 All-Big 12 performers at last year’s meet. There are 22 All-Big 12 honorees on the 2016 squad. 

15 IN 16              
Over the last two weeks, the Red Raiders have added six more top 10 marks to the school record books, bringing the season total to 15. At the Tyson Invitational, two of the five were school records, thanks to Viershanie Latham (women’s triple jump) and Bradley Adkins (men’s high jump). Latham leaped to a mark of 13.31m/43-8 to break her own record, while Adkins tied the Tech best standard clearing 2.29m/7-6. The men’s 4x400-meter relay team of Steven Champlin, Joseph Richards III, C.J. Jones and Kyle Collins flew around the track to win their heat behind a time of 3:04.98, putting them at No. 2 all-time at Texas Tech. Their time was only .23 seconds away from the school record pace. Jones and Richards also left their mark in their individual events as well. Jones recorded the seventh-best time in school history in the 800 meters at 1:48.79, while Richards put up the No. 8 time in the 400-meter dash at 46.49 seconds. Last weekend at the Arkansas Qualifier, Kyle Thompson vaulted himself to the No. 4 spot in the men’s pole vault after clearing the bar set at 5.42m/17-9.25.

AWARDS SEASON

Senior Kyle Thompson was honored by the Big 12 as the Men’s Athlete of the Week after a career-day at the Arkansas Qualifier last weekend. Thompson racked up two PR’s in Fayetteville, first clearing the bar at 5.32m/17-5.5 for the indoor best, then sailing over the height of 5.42m/17-9.25 for a lifetime-best among both indoor and outdoor competition. His performance propelled him to 10th in the NCAA and only half an inch from the Big 12 leader in the event. It was the first award for the Argyle, Texas, native and the third for Texas Tech this season, joining Chris Caldwell and Bradley Adkins as honorees.

THRICE AS NICE
In each of the last three meets, Viershanie Latham has broken the school record in the women’s triple jump. At the Husker Invitational, she passed current teammate Gionna Jackson (12.81m/42-0.5) with a mark of 13.05m/42-9.75. The next week, she improved her mark by half an inch to 13.06m/42-10.25. Those two marks put her in the lead of the Big 12, while hovering around an NCAA qualifying spot. At the Tyson Invitational, she broke her own record twice in each of her first two jumps, moving well past her previous best and hitting the sand at 13.31m/43-8. That distance strengthened her lead on the rest of the conference and gave her the sixth-best jump in the NCAA this season.

FOUR HORSEMEN
The men’s 4x400 relay team has had a strong indoor campaign in 2016, posting two times inside the top 10 in the school record books. The team of Steven Champlin, Joseph Richards III, C.J. Jones and Kyle Collins put together a time of 3:07.40 in the second meet of the season for the 10th-best time in school history. At the Tyson Invitational two weeks ago, the quartet led wire-to-wire and crossed the finish line with an impressive time of 3:04.98, which ranks second at Texas Tech. Their time put them at second in the Big 12 and third in the NCAA, with only half a second separating them from first. The group of four have also excelled in their individual events. In the open 400 meters, Richards (46.39), Collins (46.43) and Champlin (46.88) rank second, fourth and eighth in the Big 12. Jones leads the conference in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:48.79.

POSTSEASON FORM 
On March 14, 2015, Texas Tech’s high jumpers electrified the crowd in Fayetteville en route to a 1-2 finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Standing in that same spot less than a year later, Bradley Adkins, one half of that 1-2 finish, brought the crowd to their feet again as he tied the school record he helped set with JaCorian Duffield at 2.29m/7-6 to lead the NCAA this season. Getting better with every meet this season, Adkins has a lot of momentum heading into the Big 12 Championships, with Trey Culver right there at No. 3 in the conference as well.

CONFERENCE LEADERS
The Red Raiders lead the Big 12 in four events heading into the conference meet, based on the top marks posted this season. C.J. Jones (800 meters), Chris Caldwell (60-meter hurdles), Bradley Adkins (high jump) and Viershanie Latham (triple jump) all hold the top spot in their respective events. However, the Red Raiders fill in closely behind the event leader in several different areas. The meet isn’t decided on paper, and the Red Raiders will have many opportunities to hold onto the top spot or take it for their own when the Big 12 Championships begin on Friday

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