Flyin' Frogs Impressive in Regional Debut
May 30, 2003
The TCU track & field team turned in an impressive performance on a warm but windy first day of the 2003 Midwest Regional Outdoor Track & Field meet, held at the Ed Weir Track Stadium on Friday. However, injuries to Jerry Harris and Cleavon Dillon tempered the Flyin' Frogs' enthusiasm as they prepare for Saturday's finals.
Junior Aundre Edwards scored the Frogs' first points of the meet, logging a second place finish in the long jump with a best leap of 7.91 meters (25-11.50), just one centimeter behind the winning mark of 7.92 meters by Rice's Tommy Oleksy. With that performance, Edwards advances to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held in Sacramento, California, June 11-14. The Conference USA champion placed fifth at the national meet a year ago.
The TCU sprinters also had an excellent day on Friday, advancing nine individuals (five on the men's side and four on the women's side), along with both 4x100 meter relay units to Saturday's finals.
On the men's side, Michael Frater (10.13) and Jabari Fields (10.22) both set season-bests while logging the second and third fastest times in the 100 meters. Brandon Simpson coasted to the fastest time in the 400 meter prelims, breaking the tape in 45.66 seconds. Jackson Langat recorded the fastest prelim mark in the 800 meters with a time of 1:49.32. Reggie Harrell notched the fifth fastest time in the 110 meter hurdle prelims, finishing in 13.84 seconds. The 4x1 relay squad of Fields, Dillon, Harris and Frater, circled the track in a season-best time of 39.35, trailing only Texas (39.19) heading into Saturday's finals. However, Harris injured his hamstring in the race and was unable to compete in the open 400, while Dillon stepped off the runway in his first attempt in the long jump with leg cramps, and did not compete in that event.
"Overall it was a mixed bag today, with the positives outweighing the negatives," said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton. "We had some magnificent performances. Both 4x1 relays ran exceptionally well. Our sprinters had a very strong day and we seem to be peaking at the right time. But I'm concerned about the the men's 4x1 and about Jerry Harris in particular, because he's on both relays. He should be fine in two weeks (for the national meet), but I don't know about tomorrow. Cleavon cramped up in the long jump, and I'd say he's only 50-50 for tomorrow. We won't know if either will be able to compete until morning, then I'll have to make a decision as to whether we can piece those relays together or not."
On the women's side, Monica Twum led the squad with the second fastest time in the 100 meters, crossing the line in 11.31 to easily advance to Saturday's finals. A pair of freshmen, Donita Harmon (23.17) and Kandis Bell (23.24) both logged season best times in placing fourth and eighth in the 200 to advance to the finals. Quartermiler Larissa Bakasa also turned in her season-best performance with a 53.52 clocking to place eighth and advance to Saturday's finals. The 4x1 relay squad of La' Toya White, Harmon, Tiffany Starts and Twum posted the meet's fastest prelim time of 44.20 and will enter Saturday's finals as a favorite to advance to the national meet. The sprint relay unit, which featured White, Starts and Twum, earned all-America status last year with an eighth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"It was real exciting," said Bell of her breakthrough performance in which she knocked nearly a quarter of a second off her previous best mark in the 100 and nearly a half of second off her previous fastest time in the 200. "Coach (Brad) Bowman told me I was ready to run fast. He told me what marks I should be able to get to and I did it. We've been working very hard over the last couple of weeks. It just seemed to come together for me today. I have to really get after it tomorrow and see what happens."
The first-ever Midwest Regional meet will come to a conclusion on Saturday. In addition to those athletes who advanced to the finals with their performances today, the Frogs are slated to compete in the men's 4x400 meter relay and senior Brandal Lawrence will vie for the triple jump title.
High Jump Finals: T14. Chris Peoples 2.08m (6-09.75).
800m Run Prelims: 1. Jackson Langat 1:49.32 (Advance to Finals).
110m Hurdles Prelims: 5. Reggie Harrell 13.84 (Advance to Finals).
5000m Run Finals: 6. Mary Kinyanjui 17:29.25
400m Dash Prelims: 8. Larissa Bakasa 53.52 (Advance to Finals).
400m Hurdles Prelims: 11. Julie Curtis 1:01.51.