Edwards Wins Long Jump at Midwest Regional Meet
May 28, 2004
College Station, Texas - Senior Aundre Edwards took the gold medal and freshman Jonathan Jackson placed a surprising fifth in the long jump competition, leading a strong performance for the TCU Flyin' Frogs men's team on the first day of the 2004 Midwest Regional Track & Field Championships. The Frogs came into the regional meet ranked 10th in the nation and didn't disappoint, sending all but one of their competitors to Saturday's finals. The TCU women, led by Mary Kinyanjui's second place finish in the 5,000 meter finals, also advanced several of their top NCAA hopefuls through the preliminary round at the Anderson Track Complex on the Texas A&M campus in College Station.
"I didn't hit the board one time," said Edwards, who won the competition with a season-best jump of 7.91 meters (25-11.50) on his second attempt. "I'm very disappointed. I'll take the win and I got out injury-free, but my run-up just isn't there. (Because of a hamstring injury) I haven't been jumping every weekend to get that worked out yet. My best jump was actually about 8.1 meters, which would be one of the best jumps in the nation."
The Frogs got a surprising four point boost in the event from Jackson, who set a personal best with a jump of 7.75 meters (25-05.25). He reached the regional meet when he jumped the minimum qualifying standard of 7.34 meters (24-01) at the Conference USA Championships two weeks ago. Now Jackson will join Edwards in the long jump competition at the NCAA meet in Austin in two weeks.
Kinyanjui, a senior from Kiambu, Kenya, covered the 5K distance in 16:46.56, to earn the silver medal and a trip to the NCAA meet. Kinyanjui was the 2003 Conference USA and South Central Regional cross country champion, and captured the 5,000 meter title at both the 2004 Conference USA indoor and outdoor meets.
"I feel extremely good," said an exuberant Kinyanjui. "I didn't feel my (injured) calf at all. I don't know how I did it. I felt really strong. I didn't expect this at all."
The women got things started with a strong effort in the 4x100 meter relay, the day's first running event. The foursome of Jamee Jones, Donita Harmon, Larissa Bakasa and Virgil Hodge circled the track in a heat-winning and season-best time of 44.05, defeating four Big 12 schools in the process. They turned in the second fastest time overall behind only Texas, which won the second heat in 43.30. It was the first time that Bakasa has run a leg on the relay this season, replacing Kandis Bell, who suffered a hamstring injury in the Frogs' third place finish at the Conference USA meet two weeks ago. "All of our handoffs were good," said Harmon. "I think we could have gone under 44. We're looking for somebody to stay with and pull us along. Our goal (tomorrow) is to win." The Frogs showed their strength in the 400 meters, sending three men and one woman to Saturday's finals. On the men's side, Jerry Harris (45.64), Brett Wilson (season-best 46.16) and Che Chavez (46.96) turned in the fourth, fifth and eighth fastest times respectively in the prelims. Senior Larissa Bakasa reached the finals of the 400 for the women with a personal best time of 53.18, the seventh fastest mark in the prelims. That time was just one-tenth of a second off the school record of 53.08, set by Dywana Crudup in 2000.
"I felt a little flat," admitted Harris, the 2004 NCAA indoor silver medalist at 400 meters. "I don't know why, I just felt a little flat today. I'll be all right tomorrow. The key today was just to get through the race and get to tomorrow."
"I may have relaxed a little too much on the back stretch," said Bakasa of her 400 meter performance. "Hopefully I can get another personal best tomorrow. Everything went good on the relay, I was just very nervous. Today was a confidence boost."
The TCU men continued their strong showing in the 100 meter dash. Senior Michael Frater easily won his heat and had the prelims' second fastest time with a season-best mark of 10.19 seconds. Cleavon Dillon was fourth in his heat but fifth overall, also turning in a season-best clocking of 10.29 seconds.
"Not too shabby," said Frater. "I had a decent start today. If I can get consistent with that, the rest is history." When asked if he had anything left for tomorrow's final, Frater responded emphatically, "A lot."
In the 200, TCU advanced both of its runners, sending Jabari Fields and Donita Harmon to the finals. Fields ran a season-best time of 20.35, placing second overall, while Harmon turned in a time of 23.35 to place seventh in the prelims.
In the only disappointing event for the Frogs on Friday, freshman MaKeatha Cooper, the Conference USA indoor and outdoor sprint hurdle champion, clipped the final hurdle and struggled to a fourth place finish in her heat of the 100 meter hurdles. She crossed the finish line in a time of 13.85 seconds to place 11th overall, failing to advance to Saturday's finals. Cooper entered the meet with the region's fifth fastest time, running a 13.24 on this same track back in April.
Freshman JimAnne Baker jumped a season-best 6.23 meters (20-05.25) to place ninth in the women's long jump finals. Freshmen 100 meter sprinters Virgil Hodge (11.52) and Jamee Jones (11.60) both logged season-best times, but failed to advance to the finals, placing 10th and 11th respectively. Nathaniel Garcia broke the tape in 52.51 to place 15th overall in the 400 meter hurdles.
The top five individuals in each event, along with the top three teams in the relays will automatically advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held in Austin in two weeks. In addition to those who advanced to Saturday's finals through today's preliminary round, the Frogs will be represented on Saturday by the men's 4x100 meter relay unit and by Zelma Wade in the women's shot put competition. The TCU sprint quartet of Jabari Fields, Cleavon Dillon, Jerry Harris and Michael Frater owns the region's fastest time this season, a mark of 39.11, set at the Texas Relays.
TCU RESULTS (Friday):
5000 meter Run: 2. Mary Kinyanjui 16:46.56
Long Jump: 9. JimAnne Baker 6.23m (20-05.25)
200 meter Dash: 2. Jabari Fields 20.35 (Advanced to Finals)
400 meter Hurdles: 15. Nathaniel Garcia 52.51
200 meter Dash: 7. Donita Harmon 23.35 (Advanced to Finals)
400 meter Dash: 7. Larissa Bakasa 53.18 (Advanced to Finals)
100 meter Hurdles: 11. MaKeatha Cooper 13.85