For No. 6 Texas Tech to contend for the men’s team title at the Big 12 Conference outdoor track and field championship, the Red Raiders need a daily dose of points from NCAA champion distance runner Kennedy Kithuka and all-American thrower Kole Weldon.
So day one of the three-day meet went according to plan.
Kithuka broke stadium and Big 12 meet records Friday night in winning the 10,000 meters, hours after Weldon took second in the hammer throw. In the 25-lap race, Kithuka lapped the field in his ninth lap and began to lap them again in his 17th on the way to a winning time of 28 minutes, 48.04 seconds.
“It was a very good start to the Big 12, to win the way I wanted,” the Kenyan senior said. “I just wanted to go run very well. A lot of people came (out) here from Texas Tech, which helped me out.”
The small but supportive crowd cheered on Kithuka each time he passed the Fuller Track Complex’s west bleachers. They rose to their feet as he approached the stretch with the Big 12 meet record of 28:52.85 in sight.
“I knew I could run that time very easy,” Kithuka said. “It’s like one minute slower than my PR (personal record), so it was very good. Just relax, run smart and take the 10 points (for first place) as easy as possible.”
A battle between Kithuka and Oklahoma State’s Shadrack Kipchirchir never materialized, and Kipchirchir finished second in 30:27.34. Two weeks ago at Stanford, Kipchirchir beat Kithuka head to head, running an NCAA-leading 27:36.79 to Kithuka’s 27:41.73.
Asked if he expected to win the rematch so easily, Kithuka said, “Yeah, that’s what I was aiming for. Now I get ready for regionals and nationals, and I’m going to be ready.”
Earlier Friday, Weldon threw the hammer 194 feet, 4 inches for second. Weldon was no match for Oklahoma State’s Nick Miller, who threw a stadium and meet record 244-0, but he wasn’t supposed to be.
“I came out and scored eight points for my team,” Weldon said. “It’s all I try to do in the hammer. It’s not my main event. It’s my third event. All it’s for is to help score more points in conference, so I’m very happy with second place.”
The three-day Big 12 outdoor meet is back in Lubbock for the first time since 2009.
For Weldon, the hammer throw is just the appetizer to this meet. He competes in the shot put at 7 p.m. Saturday and the discus at 2 p.m. Sunday — in each case, against Texas star Ryan Crouser.
Crouser is the defending NCAA outdoor champion in the shot put, whereas Weldon has finished second and third in that event at NCAA meets. Crouser and Weldon are top-10 in the NCAA in both events this year.
“When you go against a guy like Crouser, who’s a well-known thrower, very respected for being a great thrower, it ups my level,” Weldon said. “So I’m very excited to throw against a guy like that.”
In the throws-field competition after Weldon’s, Tech sophomore Hannah Carson got third in a women’s hammer throw with a dramatic ending. Carson was done at 174-10 when Oklahoma’s Avionne Allgood broke the Big 12 meet record by going 189-1 in the final round.
Just minutes later, Allgood’s OU teammate Liz Herrs went 189-5 on the last throw of the competition.
Sooners athletes and fans were whooping it up after Allgood’s throw and calling for Herrs to “answer it” — which she did.
Herrs said the celebration for Allgood’s throw pumped her up.
“Oh yes. Majorly,” she said. “Usually, I’m not one that feeds off of that. Usually, I’m already so hyped. But just having that competition really helped me out today. It was awesome.”
Herrs’ and Allgood’s marks are first and second in the NCAA this year. Carson’s 174-10 was better than the previous facility record, which she set May 3.
Carson’s 174-10 was her fourth time this season to throw between 174 and 177-plus.
“Even though it’s kind of consistent,” she said, “I kind of wanted to do better today, but I’d rather peak at nationals than conference any day.”
BIG 12 OUTDOOR
TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Fuller Track Complex
Friday’s Event Finals
Hammer throw: 1. Miller, Oklahoma State, 244-0 (Big 12 meet and stadium records; old records, Rohr, Missouri, 233-11 in 2009); 2. Weldon, Texas Tech, 194-4; 3. Nguyen, Oklahoma, 191-10; 4. Kelley, Iowa State, 185-3; 5. Perry, Oklahoma, 183-3; 6. Roe, Kansas State, 180-3.
Javelin: 1. Dohmann, Texas, 243-7; 2. Snow, Oklahoma, 232-8; 3. Renton, Oklahoma, 213-8; 4. Hartung, Kansas State, 213-1; 5. Swanepoel, Kansas, 209-1; 6. Mayberry, Baylor, 205-6.
10,000 meters: 1. Kithuka, Texas Tech, 28:48.04 (meet record; old record, Bosshard, Colorado, 28:52.85 in 2011; stadium record; old record, Kosgei, South Plains College, 29:09.66 in 2007); 2. Kipchirchir, Oklahoma State, 30:27.34; 3. Pinales, Texas, 30:29.68; 4. Moskowitz, Oklahoma State, 30:32.88; 5. Landes, Kansas, 30:33.84; 6. Osborn, Oklahoma State, 30:34.15.
Hammer throw: 1. Savatovic, Kansas State, 199-6; 2. Atkinson, Baylor, 195-3; 3. Sanborn, Iowa State, 195-2; 4. Levy, Kansas, 193-5; 5. Tolson, Oklahoma, 192-6; 6. Way, Oklahoma State, 192-4.
Javelin: 1. Herrs, Oklahoma, 189-5 (Big 12 meet record; old record, Wilkinson, Nebraska, 182-10 in 2008; stadium record; old record, Carson, Texas Tech, 169-2 in 2014); 2. Allgood, Oklahoma, 189-1; 3. Carson, Texas Tech, 174-10; 4. Plank, Kansas State, 166-10; 5. Ealey, Oklahoma State, 153-6; 6. Weinzheimer, Kansas, 151-6.
10,000 meters: 1. Moen, Iowa State, 35:06.54; 2. Lasnicki, West Virginia, 35:24.25; 3. Bluske, Iowa State, 35:32.34; 4. Helle, Oklahoma State, 35:36.45; 5. Siebert, Texas, 35:47.57; 6. Galvan, Kansas State, 36:03.91.
10 a.m.: Decathlon 100 hurdles. 11 a.m.: Decathlon discus. 12:30 p.m.: Decathlon pole vault. 3 p.m.: Decathlon javelin. 4:30 p.m.: Decathlon 1,500 meters.
6 p.m.: Long jump. 7 p.m.: Shot put.
6 p.m. to 9:25 p.m.: Preliminaries.
11 a.m.: Heptathlon long jump. 12:15 p.m.: Heptathlon javelin. 1:30 p.m.: Heptathlon 800 meters.
3 p.m.: Long jump. 4 p.m.: Shot put. 5 p.m.: Pole vault.
6 p.m. to 9:25 p.m.: Preliminaries.
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