Flyin' Frogs Tie for 14th at Indoor National Championships
March 15, 2003
The TCU men's 4x400 meter relay team took the silver medal, while Michael Frater and Jackson Langat earned all-America accolades, as the Flyin' Frogs tied for 14th place at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, completed at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus Saturday evening.
TCU scored 15 points in the meet, tying Southern California and Ohio State. Host Arkansas came away with the team title with 52 points. Houston, the Conference USA champions, scored four points.
TCU's 4x4 quartet of Brandon Simpson, Jackson Langat, Jabari Fields and Jerry Harris, challenged LSU the entire race, but came up just eight one-hundredths of a second shy of a national title. The TCU foursome logged a season-best time of 3:04.87, just five one-hundredths of a second off the school record mark of 3:04.82, set by James Maness, James Richard, Keith Burnett and Michael Cannon in 1984. LSU won the race in 3:04.79.
"We did the best we could," said Simpson, who went head-to-head with the Tigers' sophomore standout Pete Coley on the leadoff leg. Coley was able to give LSU a slight lead, one they would not relinquish.
"I felt good," added Harris, who took the baton about a meter behind LSU's anchor Kelly Willie. "Kelly's a really strong runner, so I didn't want to make my move too soon. He just was able to hold me off, but we showed that TCU can run the 4x4."
"It looked like a TCU relay," said a pleased TCU coach Monte Stratton.
Michael Frater had the best individual performance for the Horned Frogs at the meet, placing fifth in the 60-meter dash finals with a time of 6.64 seconds. That mark matched his personal best and also matched his performance in the prelims. However, Frater suffered a hamstring pull in the final meter of the race and his status is uncertain heading into the outdoor season. Conference USA rival Julien Dunkley posted a winning time of 6.54 seconds.
Jackson Langat got the Frogs on the scoreboard first on Saturday with a sixth place finish in the 800 meters. Pre-race favorite Otukile Lekote of South Carolina broke out of the pack early with Langat right on his heels. The two battled throughout the race, but were overtaken in the last 100 meters. Nate Brannen of Michigan came away with the victory in 1:47.79, while Langat turned in a time of 1:48.50, just ahead of Lekote, who broke the line at 1:48.68.
"The race was really hard," said Langat. "I wanted to go out with Lekote. It was a very fast pace early and I used a lot of energy. At the end, it got very crowded and I couldn't get out. Everybody was together. That's the way indoor track is," he continued. "It was a great experience for me."
In the only other competition involving a TCU athlete on Saturday, senior triple jumper Brandal Lawrence took 12th place with a best mark of 15.42 meters (50-07.25).
The Frogs now turn their sights on the outdoor season, which gets underway next Saturday at the Dr Pepper Invitational in Waco. The NCAA Outdoor National Championships will be held in Sacramento, California, June 11-14.
TCU RESULTS (SATURDAY):
60-meter Dash (Men): 5. Michael Frater 6.64 (Ties personal best).
800-meter Run (Men): 6. Jackson Langat 1:48.50.
Triple Jump (Men): 12. Brandal Lawrence 15.42m (50-07.25).