Field Event Duo Shines For TCU On First Day Of Penn Relays

Kelsey Samuels

April 26, 2012


PHILADELPHIA - Senior Whitney Gipson and junior Kelsey Samuels both claimed first-place accolades Thursday afternoon in their respective events to lead TCU on a historic opening day of the 118th running of the Penn Relays at Franklin Field. 

"We had a really good day today all the way around," said head coach Darryl Anderson. "Today really says a lot about the balance in our program. I'm really pleased with how everyone performed. This is a big-time environment and for both Whitney Gipson and Kelsey Samuels to be able to come in here and win, it is a major accomplishment and outstanding. In all, I am very pleased with how our first day here went in Philadelphia." 

Gipson, who currently sits in the top-10 in the world in the women's long jump, soared 21 feet to claim the College Women's Long Jump Championship for a second-straight year in Philadelphia. By doing so, Gipson became the first female student-athlete in TCU history to record back-to-back championships at the Penn Relays. She is also only the second individual to ever do so in school history, joining former Frog great Jordy Reynolds who claimed two-straight men's shot put titles during the 1991 and 1992 campaigns, respectively. Freshman Lorraine Ugen followed in the event with a fourth-place showing. 

"It was a little windy, but better than last year," said Gipson. "I still had to adjust my marks every time though. In all, I'm glad I won, but I'm not satisfied."

Samuels made a little history of hew own Thursday, placing first overall in the College Women's Shot Put Championship with a throw of 52 feet, 7 ¼ inches. Her throw, which is a personal-best, is currently No. 29 in the NCAA and is the second-best throw in program history. By winning the Penn Relays shot put title, Samuels became only the third TCU student-athlete in program history to win the women's shot put title in Philadelphia, joining the likes of Stevanie Wadsworth-Ferguson and Candis Kelley. In all, the Mesquite native became the first Frog to win a women's shot put title at Penn since Kelley did so during the 2008 campaign.

In the college division of the women's shot put, freshman Megan Smith recorded a fourth-place finish with a throw of 50 feet, 3 ½ inches. 

"I am extremely proud of Kelsey," said throws coach John Kenneson. "I was really excited to see her come away with the victory. She competed very well today and that is all I can ask. It has taken her a couple of years to get to this point and it is very gratifying. I am so proud of her and excited for her future."

Later in the day, the women's 4x100 unit of Veronica Jones, Chaniqua Corinealdi, Gipson and Ugen opened the day clocking a time of 45.23, which placed them second in heat No. 1 and ninth overall in preliminary round action. The quartet just missed qualifying for the Championship of America final, but will run in the College Women's final Friday afternoon.

Other highlights on the day included the women's 4x400 quartet of Briyanni Thomas, Quinterra Charles, Neferteria Hall and Ashley Collins running neck-and-neck with No. 2 ranked LSU in heat No. 1 of the prelims. Going into the fourth exchange, the Frogs appeared to be on their way to advancing to the Championship of America final, but were outlasted at the tape, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:37.99. In all, the unit, who placed third in their heat and No. 9 overall, will next be in action in the consolation round of the women's 4x400 on Saturday afternoon.

Junior Agnes Kemboi closed the night, placing sixth overall out of 25 competitors in the women's 5,000 meters with a seasonal and personal-best time of 16:32.34. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Kelly Dawson rounded out competition in seventh-place. 

TCU will return to the track tomorrow at the Penn Relays. The Frogs will open up action with the men's 4x100, which begins at 11:40 a.m. CT.



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