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Tech's Benson, Wilson provide 1-2 finish in Big 12 meet

Long jumpers deliver, help Tech take lead in team standings

Posted: May 17, 2014 - 10:20pm  |  Updated: May 18, 2014 - 12:19am
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Wilson

When Texas Tech coaches were doing point projections for the Big 12 Conference outdoor track and field championships, they didn’t write down 18 points in the long jump from Shujaa Benson and Jerome Wilson.

That’s what the two juniors delivered, though, and it’s one of the main reasons the Tech men will go into the final day of the meet leading the team standings.

Benson jumped a personal record 25 feet, 83/4 inches Saturday and Wilson went a season best 25-8, making Tech the first team in 11 years to place 1-2 in the men’s long jump at the Big 12 outdoor meet.

No one really saw it coming after so-so seasons from each.

“In practice, we’ve been doing it all year, getting it right,” Benson said. “It was just about getting it right in the meet. We did it today. A lot of thanks to (jumps) coach (James) Thomas.”

Benson is a Tanzanian, later lived in Denmark and transferred to Tech from Illinois. Wilson is a Jamaican who transferred to Tech from Western Texas College in Snyder.

The two were ranked fifth and seventh in the Big 12 before they uncorked just minutes apart at the Fuller Track Complex. Now they’re 11th and 12th in the NCAA this season.

“I’m pretty happy about it after I was doing not too great for the whole season and then I came here on my home track and did spectacular,” Wilson said.

Tech coaches had been waiting for something good from Wilson, who had a personal record 26-3 last year at the junior college in Snyder. He stepped up in the final round of preliminaries.

“I know when I jump big, so that’s why all my emotions came out on that one,” he said. “That’s my first 25 (foot jump) for the season, so I’m pretty stoked about it.”

The 25-8 put Wilson in the lead for only a couple of minutes. Benson came up right behind him, went a fraction of an inch farther and exited the pit pounding his chest.

They stayed 1-2 through the finals. Benson passed on each of his last three jumps, advancing during that time through preliminaries in the 110-meter hurdles.

The sixth-ranked Tech men will start Sunday with 48 points, three more than second-place Kansas State. There are 15 events remaining, a long time to go, but the 18 points from the long jumpers could be worth a spot or two in the finals standings.

“That’s huge,” Benson said, “and that’s the most important thing. We’re trying to stack up as many points as we can in every event, because we want this championship really bad.”

Also Saturday, Tech junior Kole Weldon delivered eight points for the second day in a row. After finishing second in the hammer throw on Friday, Weldon did the same Saturday in the shot put.

Defending NCAA champion Ryan Crouser from Texas threw 70 feet for the first time in his career. His final round mark of 70-21/4 broke Randy Barnes’ 27-year-old stadium record.

“I’ve been feeling like I’m ready to throw it (70 feet) about all season,” Crouser said. “I was hoping to get it indoors and threw 69-mid, and then every meet this year I’ve been around 69. It was almost getting to be a joke how many times I’d thrown 69 without actually hitting 70, so I’m glad to finally get it.”

The Tech women are in third place. Le’Tristan Pledger got third in the long jump, and young pole vaulters Reece Timmons, Haley Cook and Blake Wood accounted for 12 points.

The iron woman for the Lady Raiders, though, was junior Shanice Stewart, who finished second in the heptathlon, sixth in the long jump and advanced to the finals in the 100-meter hurdles.

All in what was, for her, a 10-hour day at the track.

“Shanice has been a tremendous warrior for us,” Tech coach Wes Kittley said.

Stewart scored a personal record 5,674 points in the heptathlon, finishing runner-up to defending NCAA champion Lindsay Vollmer from Kansas. Stewart produced heptathlon personal bests in five of the seven events — 100 hurdles (13.70), high jump (5-7), shot put (44-51/4), 200 meters (25.04) and 800 meters (2:34.91). She won the heptathlon shot put and long jump (20-61/4), was second in the hurdles and tied for third in the high jump.

“I feel like the heptathlon is a perfect event for me,” Stewart said, “because I do everything. I feel like that’s power I get when I do them all together.”

BIG 12 OUTDOOR

TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS

at Fuller Track Complex

Saturday’s Event Finals

WOMEN

Team totals: 1. Kansas, 48; 2. Kansas State, 45; 3. Texas Tech, 36; 4. Iowa State, 35; 5. Oklahoma, 25; 6. (tie) Baylor, Texas, 20; 8. Oklahoma State, 17; 9. TCU, 15; 10. West Virginia, 12.

Combined Events

Heptathlon: 1. Vollmer, Kansas, 5,786 points; 2. Stewart, Texas Tech, 5,674; 3. Mbeng, Kansas State, 5,379; 4. Briscoe, Texas, 5,325; 5. Kolmer, Kansas State, 5,289; 6. Barnes, Kansas State, 5,232.

Field Events

Long jump: 1. Twiss, Kansas State, 20-8; 2. Conley, Kansas, 20-7 3/4; 3. Pledger, Texas Tech, 20-3 1/2; 4. Ugen, TCU, 20-1; 5. Nesbit, West Virginia, 19-10 3/4; 6. Stewart, Texas Tech, 19-8 1/4.

Shot put: 1. Hillman, Iowa State, 57-8 1/2 (stadium record; old record, Tia Brooks, Oklahoma, 56-9 1/2 in 2011); 2. Smith, TCU, 53-11 1/4; 3. Muchkayev, Kansas, 52-10; 4. Maroszek, Kansas, 52-10; 5. Winters, Kansas State, 52-3 1/4; 6. Ealey, Oklahoma State, 51-1.

Pole vault: 1. Petrillose, Texas, 14-6 (meet record; old record, Eveland, Kansas State, 14-5 1/4); 2. House, Kansas, 13-0 1/4; 3. Rhodes, Baylor, 13-0 1/4; 4. (tie) Timmons, Texas Tech, Cook, Texas Tech, 12-6 1/4; 6. Wood, Texas Tech, 12-0 1/2.

MEN

Team totals: 1. Texas Tech, 48; 2. Kansas State, 45; 3. Texas, 39; 4. Oklahoma, 32; 5. Oklahoma State, 30; 6. Iowa State, 19; 7. Baylor, 10; 8. Kansas, 8; 9. TCU, 3.

Combined Events

Decathlon: 1. Dick, Kansas State, 7,792 points; 2. Kregers, Kansas State, 7,618; 3. Mahler, Texas, 7,602; 4. Vildosola, Baylor, 7,344; 5. Sanderson, Iowa State, 6,925; 6. Deterding, Kansas State, 6,498; 7. Knight, Texas Tech, 5,020.

Field Events

Long jump: 1. Benson, Texas Tech, 25-8 3/4; 2. Wilson, Texas Tech, 25-8; 3. Field, Kansas State, 25-7 1/2; 4. Hay, Oklahoma, 24-10 1/2; 5. Johnson, Iowa State, 24-6 1/2; 6. Otuonye, Kansas State, 24-4 1/2.

Shot put: 1. Crouser, Texas, 70-2 1/4 (meet record; old record, Crouser, Texas, 69-2 1/2 in 2013; stadium record, old record, Barnes, Texas A&M, 66-8 1/2 in 1987); 2. Weldon, Texas Tech, 61-8 1/2; 3. Hershberger, Kansas State, 61-5 3/4; 4. Spence, Texas, 61-3 1/2; 5. Jeuschede, Iowa State, 59-7 1/2; 6. Levi, Oklahoma State, 58-8; 7. Garcia, Texas Tech, 58-0 1/4.

Sunday Schedule

WOMEN

Field Events

11 a.m.: Discus. 3:30 p.m.: High jump. 3:30 p.m.: Triple jump.

Running Events

5 p.m.: Special Olympics 100 meters. 5:30 p.m.: 400-meter relay. 5:50 p.m.: 3,000-meter steeplechase. 6:20 p.m.: 1,500 meters. 6:45 p.m.: 100-meter hurdles. 7:05 p.m.: 400 meters. 7:25 p.m.: 100 meters. 7:45 p.m.: 800 meters. 8:05 p.m.: 400-meter hurdles. 8:25 p.m.: 200 meters. 8:40 p.m.: 5,000 meters. 9:25 p.m.: 1,600-meter relay.

MEN

Field Events

2 p.m.: Discus. 5 p.m.: Pole vault. 6:30 p.m.: Triple jump. 6:30 p.m.: High jump.

Running Events

5 p.m.: Special Olympics 100 meters. 5:40 p.m.: 400-meter relay. 6:05 p.m.: 3,000-meter steeplechase. 6:30 p.m.: 1,500 meters. 6:55 p.m.: 110-meter hurdles. 7:15 p.m.: 400 meters. 7:35 p.m.: 100 meters. 7:55 p.m.: 800 meters. 8:15 p.m.: 400-meter hurdles. 8:35 p.m.: 200 meters. 9:05 p.m.: 5,000 meters. 9:25 p.m.: 1,600-meter relay.

don.williams@lubbockonline.com

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