Texas Tech starts its indoor track and field season today, hosting the Tech Open at the Athletic Training Center. More than 500 athletes are entered, representing 33 schools.
The meet is the first of back-to-back home meets for the Red Raiders to begin the year. The Masked Rider Open is next weekend at the same site.
Field events are scheduled at 10 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Running events begin on a rolling schedule at 11:30 a.m.
Tech returns seven athletes who have been NCAA track and field all-Americans, plus senior Kennedy Kithuka, a transfer from Wayland Baptist who won the NCAA cross country title his first semester at Tech.
The Red Raiders’ top returning men’s performers include three-time all-America indoor long jumper Bryce Lamb and two-time second-team all-America pole vaulter Kyal Meyers. Lamb, who finished fourth in the long jump at last year’s NCAA indoor championships hosted by Boise State, is not expected to compete this weekend because he has been sick.
Top returnees on the women’s side include hurdler Katie Grimes, thrower Ifeatu Okafor and sprinters Olivia Lewis, Candace Jackson and Cierra White. Grimes was a second-team all-American in both the indoor and outdoor seasons last year.
Jackson and Lewis were on Tech’s first-team all-America 1,600-meter relay — the group finished seventh at the NCAA championships — during the 2012 indoor season. During the outdoor season, Jackson and White were on the second-team all-America 1,600-meter relay team, and Jackson was part of the first-team all-America sprint relay team.
The Red Raiders are trying to reload after losing some of the program’s all-time greats who completed their eligibility in 2012.
Among those are quarter-miler Gil Roberts, a U.S. and World Championships gold medalist; Jamele Mason, runner-up in the 400-meter hurdles at last year’s NCAA outdoor championships; and Shane Brathwaite, who was seventh last year in the 110-meter hurdles at the NCAA outdoor meet.