LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech Shootout got underway Friday on a strong note, with several personal bests and multiple Red Raiders climbing up the conference leaderboards.
Tech's mid-distance group, which has been ranked the top 800m foursome in the nation by the USTFCCCA's #EventSquad list, re-established by on Friday. Led by freshman Marco Vilca, a trio of Red Raiders turned in sub-1:50 times. Vilca's team-leading time came at 1:48.70. He was followed by Sven Cepus, who had his best race of the season at 1:49.57. Freshman Owen Likins, who broke out for a sub-1:50 800m and 4:10 mile two weeks ago, ran 1:49.80.
Monae' Nichols continued her tremendous indoor campaign with yet another long jump over 6.5 meters. Though she did not surpass her monstrous 22'-1.75" (6.75m) from three weeks ago, she landed one at 21'-6.25" (6.56m) to secure the win. Had she not already held the NCAA lead, the mark would have put her fourth in the nation.
In the 400m, Chancellor Stephenson ran his first indoor 400m since 2019. After rabitting for other 800m runners and running on the 4x400, Stephenson finally got his first open race and was strong. The Whitehouse, Texas, native ran 46.86. He will run the relay again tomorrow as Tech looks to improve its national standing.
Results from the straightaway propelled more Tech runners up the Big 12 standings. Reigning Big 12 Champion Gabrielle McDonald ran back-to-back 8.25's to climb into fourth in the conference. On the men's side, Maliek Kendall, who finished second at last year's title meet, made his season debut. He, too, ran the same time both rounds. At 7.95, Kendall hopped into third in the Big 12 as one of just three hurdlers to run sub-eight so far this season.
In the straight 60m, Peyton Ricks ran 7.53 in the final. The men were led by Jacolby Shelton, who ran 6.73.
For the second meet in a row, Seasons Usual upped her personal best in the weight throw. The returning Big 12 Champion in the event, Usual set the new PR on her first throw of the day. She landed the mark at 68'-2.5" (20.79m), which would keep her at the top of the standings for the entirety of the afternoon. Usual remains second in the conference in the event. Kayli Johnson joined her in PR'ing, throwing 63'-2.25" (19.26m) to move up one spot to fourth in the Big 12.
Keeping with the theme consistency amongst the throws group, Gabe Oladipo once again landed a top-10 program mark in the weight throw. The national top-five thrower landed the sixth-farthest distance in school history on his fifth throw of the evening. At 70-3" (21.41m), Oladipo claimed his eighth top-10 mark in the Tech record books.
The women's pole vault group continued to claim spots up the Big 12 rankings. Friday's effort was led by Lubbock native Sarah Tackitt, who cleared 13'-4.25" (4.07m) for a lifetime best. At her height was also Ryleigh Redding, whose clearance of the same mark was also a career best.
Day two of the Texas Tech Shootout will begin Saturday at 11 a.m. with field events. Track events will get underway at noon. It will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.