June 6, 2013
EUGENE, Ore. - The TCU men's track and field program went 2-for-2 on advancing to finals Thursday as Charles Silmon moved on in the 200-meter dash and the TCU men's 4x400-meter relay team advanced at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Silmon will be the No. 6 seed in the 200-meter dash final on Saturday after running a 20.30, and the men's 4x400 squad ran a season-best time of 3:04.71 to advance to the final event of the meet.
"The guys are doing their job," TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. "We have some scoring possibilities the next two days. Now we can start thinking about where we want to be in the team standings. All four of our men's entries that have competed so far are going to score, that is very difficult to do."
After a busy double on the first day by advancing to the final of the 100-meter dash as the top seed after a wind-aided 9.92 and the final of the 4x100 relay, Silmon was back on the track for the 200-meter dash Thursday.
With Texas A&M's Ameer Webb next to him, Silmon got off to his usual strong start and was in command coming out of the corner. Webb showed great strength to pull up next to Silmon. The TCU senior made the decision to shut it down at that point and let Webb take the heat while ensuring he locked up his guaranteed slot into the final. Silmon ran a wind-aided 20.30, which was sixth among the qualifiers, but he will have a lane to run in at the Saturday final.
"We just wanted to get through," Anderson noted. "The double from the first day can begin to take its toll on the second day. We wanted to be in control of the race at 120 meters and cruise home from there. He was able to shut it down and we were all right with Webb passing him. Charles needs to be ready for the 100 final tomorrow."
Silmon became the fourth man in TCU history to advance to both the 100 and 200-meter dash final. He joins Cy Leland (1929 & 1930), Raymond Stewart (1987 & 1988) and Kim Collins (2001) as the previous men to do so. Silmon is one of four men at this year's meet making both the 100 and 200 final, with Webb, Aaron Brown of USC and Isaiah Young of Ole Miss also pulling the double. However, Silmon is the only one of the four men who will also feature in the 4x100 relay final.
The men's 4x400-meter relay team was unable to earn an automatic qualifying slot to the final in a very good field. While there was always going to be the discomfort of having to wait, the Frogs made sure they put themselves in the best position possible.
The quartet of Joshua Washington, Narada Jackson, Lavon Collins and Ronnie Baker finished third in their heat with a season-best mark of 3:04.71. Washington had one of his best performances of the season to put TCU in strong position, and Baker was able to seal a pass on the front stretch over Illinois and ensure some breathing room while having to wait through two heats. Arkansas and LSU were the top-two finishers who earned automatic qualifying slots.
"Josh did really good on the lead-off leg," Anderson said. "Narada set us up for the rest of the race, though he did not run the fastest split he ever has. He put himself on the line to get into a good position out of lane six. When that happened, we were in good shape. That was key. Ronnie Baker split 44.8, and we have been waiting for that. He is no longer a freshman, and he ran like it today."
The Frogs made it comfortably through the second heat as the Florida Gators made sure the heat would not be as competitive. The third heat got off to a fast start with Texas A&M, Oregon, Kansas and Oklahoma all making strong showings throughout the race. However, the Big 12 Jayhawks and Sooners faded to a slower third and fourth place finish and the Horned Frogs were home safe.
TCU advances to the men's 4x400 relay, the final event of the meet on Saturday, for the eighth time in program history. This will be TCU's first appearance in the final since 2006 when the Horned Frogs were runners-up.
"We are going to get some points," Anderson concluded. "A&M and Florida are the best teams. After that everyone is in a bunch. The third-fastest time was Arkansas at 3:04.00 and we were right there with them. All our relay guys get a day off tomorrow so they will be ready to roll on Saturday."
Silmon will be the only Frog in action on Friday, taking part in the 100-meter dash final at 7:10 p.m. Central (5:10 p.m. Pacific). The Friday events will be televised on ESPNU, starting at 6:30 p.m. Central (4:30 p.m. Pacific). Live streaming will also be provided on ESPN3 and via the Pac-12.