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Track: Northwest grad wins Big 12 title

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, May 19, 2018
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In his first season competing at the Division I level, Northwest alum and Rhome native Duke Kicinski is the Big 12 champion in the discus.

BIG 12 CHAMP – Texas Tech’s Duke Kicinski competes in the discus. Kicinski won the Big 12 title last week with a throw of 59.19 meters. Submitted photo

The Texas Tech redshirt junior led the entire way at the conference championships last weekend in Waco and saved his best for last. On his third and final attempt of finals, Kicniski uncorked a throw of 59.19 meters (194-2 feet) to take home the title.

“I threw the first throw and there was a little pressure. I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to be far enough,” Kicniski said. “I knew there were really good throwers behind me. Toward the end of it, there started to be some guys that got close and made it a good competition. Luckily that last throw held them off.”

Kicniski transferred to Texas Tech from West Texas A&M in June 2016 after winning the Division II national championship. He took home the DII crown with a throw of 57.51 meters (189-4 feet).

Prior to his titles with the Red Raiders and Buffaloes, Kicniski finished as the 5A state runner-up at Northwest in 2014 with a throw of 187-6. At the time, Kicniski held the Northwest school record in the event. That mark was eventually surpassed by Caden McDonald.

McDonald won the 5A state title in 2017 for the Texans with a throw of 190-6. His younger brother, Cooper, garnered the bronze medal at the state meet this year as a sophomore.

“I’m real close with the McDonalds,” Kicniski said. “[Caden] was a freshman when I was a senior and I knew how good he was going to be,” Kicniski said. “I set a record there and I knew he was going to break it. I think he had the same idea about his little brother.”

The 6-3, 255-pound Kicniski said he first realized discus was his go-to sport back in high school at Northwest. Although he was a multi-sport athlete playing linebacker and defensive end in football, discus always held a special place in his heart.

“It was always my favorite season of all the sports,” Kicniski said. “I think you’re going to be the best at what you love to do. I was good at football and other sports, but discus was always my favorite.”

With his Big 12 title, Kicniski advanced to the west regional meet and will compete in Sacramento, California May 24-26. The top 12 move on to nationals, which are June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon.

Kicniski enters the regional meet ranked fourth. His personal-best is 195 feet.

“It’s good to win [the Big 12 title], but everyone is just trying to move on,” Kicniski said. “I have a good chance [to go to nationals]. If I do what I know I can do, I should be able to move on. You can’t have a bad day there. You still have to do well at regionals to move on.”

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