LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech Invitational began Thursday with combined events, marking the start of what is perhaps the best meet Lubbock has ever hosted.
Kaylee Hinton led Tech in the pentathlon, completing her five-event day with 3,949 points. She took advantage of the high jump and 60m hurdles – perhaps her two best events in both multis and open competition – to snag a combined 1,922 points to start the day. She began with the hurdles, running the fourth-best time of 8.49 for 1,019 points. She remained in fourth after gaining 903 more in the high jump thanks to a top clearance of 5’-8.5” (1.74m).
“Kaylee’s never going to be satisfied,” said Associate Head Coach James Thomas of his pentathlete, who made her multis debut after being sidelined with an injury since 2018. “You just have to get on the track and get going. For her to get going is important. She had some hiccups, but in the areas we need to work on the most she had major improvements. When it’s all worked out I think she’s going to put together a great five-event total.”
Tiara Williams finished with a total of 3,646 points in her pent, good for the best five-event score of her career. The senior, also strong in the hurdles, garnered 948 when she ran an 8.82. After the high jump, she bounced back into the top-10 with a PR in the shot put. Williams placed third overall in the field with her top throw of 39’-3” (11.96m) – a collegiate-best by four whole feet. She then grabbed 750 more points in the long jump, and nearly PR’d in the 800m to finish with 601 more.
“Tiara had a great day,” Thomas said. “She hit a bit of a hurdle early, but she just bounced back after that and in every event from there. Overall, just a great five-event day for her.”
The men were led by freshman Kale Mauritsen, whose exciting multis debut saw him finish the first day of the heptathlon with 2,836 points. Mauritsen’s speed helped him pick up big points in the 60m (7.10) and long jump (24’-4.5”).
“It’s fun when you see a guy’s work ethic start to match his performances,” Thomas said of the newest member of his multis group. “You see him working and you know it’s in him, so to see it come out in his performances in his first collegiate heptathlon is a big deal for him.”
Cole Whatley, also competing in the hep, will enter day two Friday with 2,715 points. Whatley’s points also came from the 60m and long jump, where he picked up 700 or more points in each event. Like Williams, he also came up with a PR in the shot put, landing a throw of 38’-4.25” (11.69m) for the three-inch personal best.
“This was a big day for Cole,” said Thomas. “He’s another guy coming back from injury, and he didn’t quite know how to get this thing started. But the thing with track and field is you just need to go out there and compete. I think that’s what he did today, and he just went out there and stayed consistent.”