TCU's 4x4 Relay Advances to National Finals
June 9, 2005
Sacramento, Calif. - The TCU women's 4x400 meter relay team survived the preliminary round and advanced to Saturday's national finals, highlighting the second day of the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
TCU's 4x400 meter relay quartet of Marquita Davis, Deborah Jones, Donita Harmon and Nathandra John entered the meet ranked fifth in the country according to Trackwire.com with a season-best time of 3:31.49, but had their hands full on Thursday. Running in the second of four heats with the heat winners and the next four fastest times advancing to the finals, the Flyin' Frogs watched South Carolina (3:29.79), Auburn (3:30.06) and Wyoming (3:30.68) all turn in times under 3:31 in the first heat.
Davis got the Frogs off to a solid start and handed the baton to Jones with a slight lead over Texas and USC. The Longhorns got to the break first in the three-turn stagger and the Trojan runner passed Jones just before the second handoff. Harmon, bouncing back from a disappointing performance in the 200 meters earlier in the evening, passed the USC runner and was running nearly stride for stride with Texas for much of the third leg. Texas pulled away late in the final lap to win in 3:30.71, but John stopped the clock in 3:31.97, well ahead of USC's time of 3:33.53, keeping the Frogs' hopes for advancement alive.
The Frogs could only sit and watch as Miami (3:30.20) and Tennessee (3:30.23) punched their tickets to the finals in the third heat, putting TCU directly on the bubble with one heat remaining. Rivals Texas Tech and Baylor were the favorites in the fourth and final heat, both having run under 3:31 during the season, but it was Stanford that pulled a surprise with a winning time of 3:32.34 in what turned out to be the slowest heat of the evening. The unexpected turn of events kept the Frogs in the eighth and final qualifying position.
Earlier in the evening, Harmon, running out of lane two, got off to a slow start and was never able to recover in the first round of the 200 meter dash. The junior from Albuquerque posted a time of 23.74 to finish 20th overall and two spots out of a slot in the semifinals.
The Frogs will enjoy an off day on Friday before the relay team takes the track in the meet's final event on Saturday. The women's 4x400 meter relay finals is slated for 8:45 p.m. local time on Saturday at the Alex Spanos Complex on the Sacramento State University campus.
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