TEXAS VIEW: Congrats to Tech’s national champ track teamTHE POINT: The Raiders kept their eyes on the goal and walked away with the prize.

Texas Tech Red Raiders … National Champions.
We like the sound of that following the Red Raider track team’s exciting triumph at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in which Tech captured its first men’s athletics national title at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin. Officially, the Red Raiders finished with 60 points in literally outdistancing runner-up Florida and its 50 points.
Program architect Wes Kittley has fashioned one of the most consistently competitive programs in the country since arriving in Lubbock almost 20 years ago after building another nationally renowned track program at Abilene Christian. Since taking the Tech reins, Kittley has regularly produced all-Americans and Olympians as well as seven Big 12 Conference titles.
Over the weekend, Tech added the biggest prize of all to its trophy case. It marked the latest installment in what has been a remarkably successful athletic year for Tech. The best-known highlights include the men’s basketball team reaching the national championship game two months ago, and the baseball program securing its fourth College World Series berth in six years.
For the moment, though, the spotlight belongs to a track and field program enjoying a collegiate athletic pinnacle not reached in these parts since the Lady Raiders’ NCAA women’s basketball championship in 1993. As was the case then, it took a team effort in Austin to propel to the mountaintop.
Divine Oduduru collected two individual NCAA titles, taking the 100- and 200-meter sprints, and Duke Kicinski prevailed in the discus throw. Overall, the Raiders’ depth was essential as 11 athletes scored in eight individual events, and the Tech sprint-relay team also scored at a meet that included a half-dozen school-record performances, one of which came from Canyon High School product Norman Grimes Jr., who set a Tech mark in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 48.71 (fifth-best in the world and worth eight points).
The inspired efforts paved the way for Tech to become the first Big 12 team to win the NCAA men’s outdoor title since 2011, according to our story.
The Raiders have looked like something special for some time now, boasting a strong and talented roster of competitors that included Odururu and fellow sprinter Andrew Hudson; Odaine Lewis, Charles Brown and Justin Hall in the jumps, Brandon Bray and Drew McMichael in pole vault and Vincent Crisp and Jonah Koech in the 800. As is the case with championship-caliber athletes, they pushed each other to strive for excellence every day.
“It just becomes contagious,” Kittley said in our story. “Those guys were tired of losing. They were tired of being ranked high and not getting it done. I saw it. The switch came on about the time of the Big 12, of ‘Let’s get this done, guys.’”
And so they did.
Winning a championship in sports at any level is exceedingly difficult work. It is the result of countless hours of preparation, commitment, and dedication on the part of athletes and their coaches. Even then, a lot of little things have to go right along the way, and often, some of these little things are out of the team’s control.
Be that as it may, the Raiders kept their eyes on the goal and walked away with the prize. We congratulate them on this great achievement — the most special part of a special Red Raider athletic year — so far.