Women's 4x1 Earns All-America Status
May 31, 2002
Despite running without sprinting standout Monica Twum, the TCU women's 4x100 meter relay team raced to an eighth place finish, earning All-America honors on Day 3 of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at the Bernie Moore Stadium on the LSU campus Friday.
Twum, the junior two-time All-American who has been plagued by hamstring problems for much of the outdoor season, reinjured herself in Thursday's 100-meter dash prelims. Senior Heather Hanchak was asked to step in to the anchor role in today's relay finals. The quartet of freshman La' Toya White, senior Chaunte Baldwin, junior Tiffany Starts and Hanchak circled the track in 44.77 seconds and a ninth place finish, but caught a break when Auburn was disqualified, giving TCU the eighth position.
"It's great!" said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton upon learning the relay team gained All-America distinction. "They deserved it. They overcame the injury to the anchor leg and really competed. I'm really proud of them. It was hard-earned and well-deserved."
"We did our best," said Baldwin. "It's a blessing to have an alternate willing to come out here ready to run. Heather handled it the best she could, as we all did. We were dealt a blow last night, but we had to control ourselves. We supported each other. The last time we ran with this unit, we didn't break 45 seconds. This was a p.r. for this unit. We were right in the mix."
"It's hard being an alternate," said Hanchak. "You have to keep working hard during practice. You don't want anything bad to happen to anyone else, but you know that's the only way you'll get a chance to run. I didn't know Monica's status until this morning," she continued. "It's tough to replace the top dog - our best runner. We hadn't done an exchange all week, but Tiffany and I had a good handoff. This is a great way to end my career. Chaunte and I have been through a lot over the past four years."
The race marked just the second time in TCU women's track history that the 4x100 meter relay unit earned All-America status. The 1998 quartet of Giesla Jackson, Dywana Crudup, Catoshia Lewis and Tinesha Hackney was the first to accomplish the feat.
On the men's side, sophomore Michael Frater easily advanced through the semi-final round of the 100-meter dash and into Saturday's finals. The Conference USA Outdoor Male Track & Field Athlete of the Year recorded a time of 10.21 seconds, second in his heat and third overall among the 16 runners in the event. The top four from each of the two heats plus the next best time advanced to Saturday's finals. Frater's mark was five-hundreths of a second faster than his prelim time from Thursday.
"The usual," Frater said when asked to describe his start. "I could see the backs of the other guys. I'm just hoping for the best tomorrow. I just want to be beside them at 50 meters and see what happens."
The men's 100-meter dash finals are set for 7:40 p.m. CT on Saturday, the final day of the competition.
100-Meter Semis: 3. Michael Frater 10.21 (Advanced to finals).