North Texas Daily

Strong performances at Texas Tech Open improve track and field’s confidence

Strong performances at Texas Tech Open improve track and field’s confidence

Strong performances at Texas Tech Open improve track and field’s confidence
February 03
14:40 2022

Competing in the Texas Tech Open and Multis on Jan. 28 and 29, the track and field team broke one school record and tied another as it works through the early stages of its indoor season.

“It was a successful meet,” director of track and field Carl Sheffield said. “It was a big step and we are looking at areas that we think we can take advantage of so we can score the most points.”

Senior weight thrower Chris Samaniego had another school record-breaking performance in the men’s weight throw. Finishing in eighth place with a throw of 61 feet, 7 inches (18.77 meters), Samaniego was able to improve on the school record he set one week prior at the Sooner Challenge.

“It means a lot,” Samaniego said. “It is something I have worked for and something I have been trying to get to.”

Junior sprinter Karlington Anunagba placed fourth in the preliminary heat of the men’s 60-meter run with a personal-best time of 6.69 seconds, tying the school record. Anunagba finished tenth in the semifinal round of the 60 with a 6.729, two milliseconds shy of qualifying for the final round.

“Starting the season, I did not have a lot of confidence because I was trying to gauge where I was,” Anunagba. “So running that at Tech puts a lot of confidence in me, but the job is not done.”

Anunagba was named Conference USA Male Track Athlete of the Week after the meet. He has received the honor once before on April 14, 2021, after winning the 100-meter dash at last season’s North Texas Classic.

“[Anunagba] has really grown as an athlete and a sprinter this year,” Sheffield said. “He’s a Nigerian-born sprinter who came to the United States, so the opportunity to represent his country has really been a motivating factor for him. I really applaud him for his turnaround for training and I think it has shown in his performance this year. I think he has a big future ahead of him, so this is a good start for him.”

On the second day of the meet, junior thrower Macayla Needham placed sixth in section B of the women’s shot put with a distance of 43 feet, 10 ½ inches (13.37 meters). Samaniego followed by placing fifth in section B of the men’s shot put with a throw of 50 feet, 4 ½ inches (15.35 meters).

For the first running event of day two, junior runner Laurynn Hogan placed seventh in the women’s 800-meter run with a personal best time of 2 minutes, 14.32 seconds. Following the 800 junior runner Erika Barrett finished sixth in the women’s mile in 5 minutes, 11.86 seconds.

Taking fifth and sixth place in the men’s pole vault were senior vaulters Cody Bullardand Brock Hottel with jumps of 16 feet, 4 ¾ inches (5.00 meters). Bullard placed above Hottel due to having fewer missed attempts.

North Texas had four runners finish in the top six of the men’s 3,000-meter run, including a second-place showing from senior runner Alec Esposito. Esposito recorded a time of 8 minutes, 30.11 seconds, roughly five seconds from his personal best.

“That race was great practice,” Esposito said. “I had a lot left in me at the end, so I am excited to see what I can do in the future.”

Coming in after Esposito was sophomore runner Victor Neiva with a personal-best of 8 minutes, 38.41 seconds in fourth. He was followed by senior runners Caleb Bouchard (8:39.28) and Jack Beaumont (8:41.40).

“[Long distance] is a really important area for us,” Sheffield said. “I am really glad that we are starting to [score points]. For them to have come from a successful cross country season and turn that into indoors, which is difficult, says a lot for their coach and says a lot about them individually.”

The Mean Green will travel to Lubbock again this upcoming weekend for the Texas Tech Shootout on Feb. 11 and 12.

“This is what the national championship is like,” Sheffield said. “When you go against teams that have had people compete at the national championships, and now we are on the same stage, on the same track with them on the same weekend, it makes them know what big-time is. So if we are competitive on that level it should steer them into thinking ‘I am that kind of person too.'”

Featured Image: Senior long-distance runner Jack Beaumont rounds the first corner in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the North Texas Classic on April 10, 2021. Beaumont won the event with a stadium-record time of 9:11.50. Image by John Fields

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Kevin Walker

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