COLLEGE STATION — Texas Tech already had the best time in the nation this year in the distance medley relay, but as anchor man Kennedy Kithuka said this week, the group had room for improvement.
Another meet, another step forward.
Tech ran a school record of 9 minutes, 41.55 seconds Friday night at the Texas A&M Mondo Challenge, bettering its nation-leading time by nearly 10 seconds and routing the field.
The Red Raiders’ foursome of Ezekiel Kissorio, Joseph Richards III, Nick Rivera and Kithuka ran an altitude-adjusted 9:51.10 last week in the Masked Rider Open at the Athletic Training Center.
They easily improved that on day one of the two-day meet at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. Second-place Texas A&M, with former South Plains College all-American Bralon Taplin running a leg, was almost 17 seconds off the pace, finishing in 9:58.15. Tennessee was third in 10:07.09.
The winning time at last year’s NCAA indoor championships was 9:35.48 by Notre Dame.
Kissorio is a junior from Kenya, Kithuka a senior from Kenya and the other two relay team members are freshmen — Richards from Beaumont Ozen and Rivera from La Puenta, Calif. In the distance medley, Kissorio runs the 1,200-meter leg, Rivera the 800, Richards the 400 and Kithuka the 1,600.
The Mondo Challenge pits two teams apiece from the Big 12, Pac-12 and Southeastern conferences — Tech, TCU, Arizona State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
The distance-medley relay highlighted Tech’s first-day effort.
The Tech women’s distance medley relay took third. The team of McKenzie Archer, Christen Rivers, Caitlin Waters and Sharlene Nickle ran a time 12:07.69.
In the women’s 5,000 meters, Tech’s Chelsea Scott (18:39.35) and Emily Koenig (18:45.44) placed third and fourth, respectively.