Texas Tech's Wes Kittley was named men's and women's coach of the year for the Mountain Region, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced on Thursday.
Kittley wrapped up his 23rd season as the Texas Tech head coach by helping guide both the men and women to top-10 finishes in the NCAA outdoor meet last week. The women took seventh and the men tied for ninth.
Moad Zahafi was named the Mountain Region track athlete of the year. Zahafi was the NCAA champion in the 800 meters, finishing in a time of 1 minute, 44.49 seconds last weekend in Eugene, Oregon. He held the top time in the world (1:43.69) from April 16 until Tuesday, when 20-year-old British runner Max Burgin ran 1:43.52 at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland.
Chris Welch was the Mountain Region field athlete of the year after earning first-team all-America honors in the triple jump. Welch finished sixth in the outdoor championships after entering the event as the eighth seed.
Keith Herston was named the Mountain Region women's assistant coach of the year. Three Red Raiders horizontal jumpers coached by Herston achieved first-team all-America status: runner-up Ruth Usoro and Ruta Lasmane in the triple jump and Monae' Nichols in the long jump.
The Texas Tech men's basketball team will be making a return to Louisiana in January.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to visit LSU on Jan. 28 as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The game will be played in the Maravich Center in Baton Rouge.
This marks the second time in three seasons that Tech will visit LSU as part of the event. The Red Raiders came away with a 76-71 win over the Tigers during the 2021 challenge.
The Red Raiders have won five of their past six games in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, beating Mississippi State at home in January. Tech's last loss in the event came in a 76-74 overtime loss to Kentucky in 2020.
LSU will have a very different team from the one that took the floor this past season. Just three players are expected to return to the Tigers with the rest either transferring elsewhere or turning pro. New LSU coach Matt McMahon spent seven years at Murray State.
Just two players who saw action in the 2021 Tech-LSU game are still on the rosters: Clarence Nadolny for Texas Tech and Mwani Wilkinson for LSU.
Texas Tech previously announced that it will host Georgetown in the Big 12-Big East Battle on Nov. 30 in United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders also will host Eastern Washington on Dec. 13 and Houston Baptist on Dec. 21. The game agreements obtained by A-J Media through an open-records request show Tech will pay Eastern Washington a game guarantee of $115,000 and will pay Houston Baptist a game guarantee of $95,000.
The Red Raiders also are one of eight teams making up the field for the Maui Invitational from Nov. 21-23 in Hawaii.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Tech Roundup: 5 Red Raiders earn Mountain Region awards from USTFCCCA