Texas Tech hurdler Katie Grimes had no inkling Saturday would be a special day. Her knee was hurting. Her starts in warmup were ordinary. She bumped two hurdles midway through her race at the Texas Tech Open.
So she could barely believe her eyes when she looked at the Fuller Track scoreboard and saw she’d breezed through the 100-meter hurdles in 12.99 seconds — a personal record for the junior from Canyon. The time will rank sixth in the nation this season.
“Somehow, some way, I PRed huge,” Grimes said. “So I’ll take it.”
The performance came at an opportune moment. Grimes was among the top dozen hurdlers in the nation during the winter, making the semifinals of the NCAA indoor championships. However, Grimes also was aware that last April 22, she ran a personal-best 13.21, and this spring she’s run 13.42, 13.38 and 13.33.
“I was really stressed out that I hadn’t gotten down to my PR from last year, which was 13.2,” Grimes said. “This past week I said, ‘If I don’t run 13.2 at least at this track meet, then I’m not going to be as good as I wanted to this year. And I did.”
More than a dozen schools — most regional schools smaller than Tech — had teams participating Saturday. Baylor brought a team, though, which made for some mini-Big 12 competition. Two all-Americans hooked up in the women’s shot put, with Baylor’s Skylar White edging Tech’s Ifeatu Okafor for first place. White won with a mark of 55 feet, 1/4 inch, and Okafor was second at 54-33/4.
Tech’s top sprinters and Baylor’s Tiffani McReynolds made for a solid women’s 100-meter field, but Tasha Allen from New Mexico Junior College beat them all with a winning time of 11.17 seconds. Tech’s Terra Evans took second in 11.19, though a gusty wind of 5.9 meters per second meant the times don’t count for national rankings.
Nevertheless, Evans was pleased by the outcome. She was slowed by hamstring problems late last season and into fall.
“It’s probably my best executed race this year,” she said, “so I’m happy about that.”
The blustery conditions led to some more fast — though not wind-legal — times in the sprints. South Plains College’s Shavez Hart won the men’s 100 in 10.16 with the wind at 5.6 meters per second, and former Tech star Omo Osaghae won the 110 hurdles in 13.20 with a 7.3-mps wind at his back.
Because of the conditions, the pole vault and high jump competitions moved indoors to the Athletic Training Center. Tech all-American Shade Weygandt cleared 13-93/4, which was enough to win the women’s competition, but not enough to make her happy.
Weygandt is rounding back into form nearly a year after a leg injury that led to her redshirting during the indoor season.
“I feel like I’m (vaulting) a lot better than this,” Weygandt said. “I feel like in practice I’m doing so well. I know a big bar’s coming, but I’m not very happy with today at all. I could have opened at that (winning) height. That could have been my first bar. It was my second, but it was a low height. There’s a big bar coming sometime in the future, hopefully. Sometime.”
Weygandt suffered a partially torn left quadriceps in two places last April 30 in a meet at Stanford. The junior from Mansfield needed four months to run again, nine months to vault again and 10 months to compete again.
Now she’s trying to make up for lost time and feels a sense of urgency with this being an Olympic year. Weygandt cleared 14-31/4 at the Texas Relays in Austin, but wants the Olympic A standard height of 14-9.
“It was a long road back, but right now I’m jumping better than ever,” she said. “It’s definitely not an excuse. It feels great. I’m happy. I’ve just got to figure out how to get over the bar.”
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