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Candi Land: TTU Welcomes Candace Whitaker

Lauren Bogle

Track and Field heads to Austin, While Candace Whitaker comes back to Coach the Lady Raiders

The Texas Tech track and field program qualified 23 athletes and three relay squads for the NCAA West Preliminaries, after coming off an impressive Big 12 Outdoor Championship performance earning 114.5 points.

Six of those athletes will be in Austin looking to punch their second consecutive trip to the Outdoor Championships. The preliminaries start Thursday and finish Saturday. The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Senior Lady Raider Katie Grimes comes to Austin ranked fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a career best time of 12.99. Grimes is from Canyon, Texas and she could be one of the six athletes to earn a second trip to the Championships.

“Katie has had a great year, all year,” Tech head coach Wes Kittley said. “She has started running with the best in the nation. The top three will be separated in separate heats, but she will be placed with one of the best to push her.”

No. 1 long jumper, No. 4 triple jumper and a member of the qualifying 4x100 relay squad, Bryce Lamb, enters the meet with a personal best long jump of 26-feet, 4.25 inches recorded two weeks ago. He is hoping to repeat his first place title in the triple jump from the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Texas Tech announced their sixth head coach for the Lady Raider basketball program – Candace Whitaker. Whitaker is a two-year letterwinner at Tech, the point guard for back to back appearances in the Sweet 16, an Oklahoma State assistant coach, and the head coach for the University of Missouri-Kansas City for six seasons.

Whitaker was coached by Marsha Sharp at Texas Tech for two years. She received a degree in exercise sports science while at Tech.

During her time in Kansas City, she became the school’s second-winningest head coach, and brought them to their first appearance in the WNIT. Whitaker became the youngest head coach in the nation at 26 in Kansas City.

Candice, who is fondly known as Candi by her Red Raider family, is a Canyon, Texas native. She says she will not let any recruits from West Texas slip out of her sight.

“When Candi and her husband Matt came off the plane last night, it was nice that we did not have to teach them to throw their guns up,” Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt said. “We have brought back another Red Raider to our program to lead us to success and carry on our traditions.” 

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