LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech track and field program officially kicked off its 2013 season Saturday inside the Athletic Training Center and it didn't take long for a school record to fall.
Senior Lady Raider Katie Grimes opened the competition on the track with a stellar performance in the 55-meter hurdles and breaking her own school record with a time of 7.71 seconds.
The performance broke her pervious school record of 7.74 set last season as she cruised to a first place finish in the event on Saturday. The Canyon, Texas native now owns four of the top-five times in school history in the 55-meter hurdles to go along with her school record in the 60-meter hurdles.
The record-breaking effort signaled the start of a highly-successful afternoon of competition for both the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders who collected a total of 10 first place finishes on the day.
"It was a great start for our athletes," head track and field coach Wes Kittley, who began his 14th season at the helm of the program on Saturday, said. "Our newcomers got some great experience today and we had some great performances across the board. I was very proud of Katie on her performance as well. She just ran an excellent race today and continues to get better with every meet."
Sophomore high jumper Jacorian Duffield ended the full day of competition with an indoor-personal best clearance of 2.18m (7'-1.75"), nearly breaking a 29-year-old record of 2.22m (7'-3.5") set in 1984. Duffield attempted a bar at 2.23m (7'-3.75"), but missed on each of his three attempts.
The Lady Raiders swept the top two spots in the women's 1,000-meter run led by junior Caitlin Waters who finished first overall with a personal-best time of 2:59.55. She was followed by freshman McKenzie Archer who finished second with a time of 3:01.46.
In the 55-meter dash, Lady Raider sophomore Cierra White tied her personal best finishing second overall with a time of 7.03.
In his Texas Tech debut, freshman Nick Rivera took home a first place finish in the men's 1,000-meter run pulling ahead of South Plains' Anthonio Mascoll in the final stretch. Rivera crossed the finish line with a winning time of 2:31.70.
A pair of Lady Raider freshmen swept the top two spots in the women's 600-yard run led by Christen Rivers who finished first overall with a time of 1:23.27. Fellow freshman Tiffany Tarver then crossed the line in second with a time of 1:24.70.
During the early field events, sophomore Kole Weldon turned in an impressive performance to open his 2013 indoor season. Weldon finished second in both the weight throw and shot put competition with an indoor personal-best mark of 17.76m (58'-3.25") in the shot put. He threw for 16.80m (55'-1.50") in the weight throw.
Senior Ifeatu Okafor garnered a first place finish in the women's shot put with a throw of 15.63m (51'-3.50").
Freshman Michaela Palu won the women's high jump event with a clearance of 1.69m (5'-6.50") clearing the bar on her third attempt. Fellow freshman Natalie Thompson finished third in the event with a clearance of 1.64m (5'-4.50") clearing the bar on her first attempt.
The Red Raiders swept the top three spots in the men's pole vault led by senior Jeremy Doddridge who finished first overall with an indoor personal-best clearance of 5.50m (16'-6.75"). He was followed by freshman Kyle Padalecki who finished second with a mark of 4.90m (16'-0.75") and freshman Kyle Thompson who also cleared 4.90 (16'-0.75") and finished third on misses.
Freshman Haley Cook finished second in the women's pole vault during her Lady Raider debut, clearing the bar at 3.70m (12'-1.50").
Both the Red Raider and Lady Raider 4x400 relay teams also turned in impressive performances, each taking home first place finishes during the final events of the evening. The Lady Raider relay blew away the field winning by nearly 14 seconds with a time of 3:40.76. The Red Raiders then closed the competition on the track with a first place finish and winning time of 3:13.29.
The Red Raiders and Lady Raiders will return to action next weekend when they host the Masked Rider Open, a two-day meet beginning on Friday inside the Athletic Training Center.