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Monday Morning Matador: living life in the spotlight

Texas Tech gets its first men’s championship and puts itself in position to fight for another

The Mondays kept coming but the articles took a sabbatical! I’d apologize for not getting you all the content you wanted but I was on honeymoon with my now wife in the wonderful Icelandic countryside. For your troubles I’ll toss in a photo I took while near a waterfall along the southern coast:

Now we’re back and I’m ready to get you the weekly updates in our Monday Morning Matador! Let’s dive in.

Men’s track & field claims national championship

After sitting in the upper-ranking of the track and field polls all season, Texas Tech solidified a solid year with the greatest trophy of all. It was on Friday that the Red Raiders were tied for the lead with Houston in qualifications, facing off in three events head-to-head. Coach Kittley had been focusing the program on closing out competitors and it proved fruitful as Texas Tech beat out Houston in all three events of those events. One of the most notable performances was from standout athlete Divine Oduduru in the 100m. Without any hesitancy, Oduduru turned on the afterburners to go for 9.86 - his best yet and third sub-10 of the season.

The golden ticket for the national title was fully punched by graduate Duke Kicinski. In the discus, Kicinksi launched a 62.53 meter throw for the 10 points that put Texas Tech firmly in first place and clinched the national title. It was his best throw of the year and without a doubt the most important throw of his career. With that 10 points, Texas Tech men’s track and field became the first men’s team to win a championship at Tech.

“I’m just so incredibly proud of these guys,” said Coach Kittley, whose Red Raiders were ranked No. 1 all season. “They’ve lived with a target on their backs all year long. They just wanted to bring a championship home to Texas Tech, and I’m just so glad they have now done that.” Congratulations to our men’s track and field team for capping off a fantastic year with an even more fantastic piece of hardware!

Baseball secures ticket to Omaha after dramatic series with Oklahoma State

Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Super Regionals. Lubbock, Texas. It was written in the stars before the season even began. The Red Raiders had been on a 7-game winning streak against the Cowboys and they were looking for not only redemption but for their ticket to the World Series. In the first of a three-game series, Texas Tech kept the bats on with multiple-runs through the second and fourth innings. It was difficult keeping Oklahoma State off the board, but the Red Raiders took the first game with a solid 8-6 victory.

In the second game, Oklahoma State’s pitching proved a more difficult adversary than fans hoped. Multiple times throughout the game the Red Raiders were forced to leave runners on base while Cowboy pitchers racked one, two, and three outs in front of their eyes. Trying to stay alive, Oklahoma State played it hard and capitalized on some lax pitching from Tech in the bottom of the eighth and ninth to secure a 6-5 victory and force game three. That doesn’t mean we didn’t get some good highlights:

After snapping an eight-game losing streak to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State came out pistols firing in the third game. It was winner goes to Omaha and both teams wanted a piece. The Cowboys notched the first run in the second inning, but Tech answered swiftly with two runs in the third to regain the lead. Players clad in orange wouldn’t give up easily. Two in the fifth to recuperate, one in the seventh to tie it, and two in the eighth to take a lead put Tech in a 6-4 hole going in to the bottom of the eighth. After a beautiful single homer by Josh Jung, it was Kurt Wilson who would have his name written in lights:

It was a three-run homerun from the former pitcher Kurt Wilson that lifted the crowd and the Red Raiders to euphoria. What seemed to be a pop fly ended up having the distance and propelled Tech over Oklahoma State 8-6 by the top of the ninth. With their last inning at-bat, the Cowboys seemed to be setting up a storybook comeback after walking two on-base and having their heavy hitter ready to send it. Haveman, who has had up-and-down performances, locked in with a 1-2 count and one out between his team and the pinnacle of baseball. With a 90mph fastball, Texas Tech punched its ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska for the fourth time in six years. Only three programs can claim that level off persistence: Florida, TCU and Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders will face off against Michigan, a team that hasn’t been to the CWS since 1984 but earned their trip by knocking off the tournament favorite UCLA. Official times will be released later.

Short and sweet this week, I have too many photos to edit!