Flyin' Frogs Tie for 14th at NCAA Championships
June 14, 2003
Sacramento, California - Jackson Langat and Brandon Simpson earned all-America honors Saturday, helping the TCU men's track and field team to a tie for 14th place as the 2003 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships came to a close at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus.
The Frogs finished the meet with 19 points, the same as Georgia, two more than Trackwire.com projected the Frogs to score coming into the meet. Arkansas won the competition with 59 points, ahead of Auburn (50), Southern California (41.50) and LSU (36). The TCU women scored four points, their most since 1998, to tie for 49th place overall.
Langat matched his finish at the indoor national championships in March with a sixth place finish in the 800 meter run. The sophomore from Nairobi, Kenya earned his third all-America certificate this year by finishing the race in 1:47.53. Pennsylvania senior Sam Burley captured the gold medal in 1:46.50, one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Texas Tech's Jonathan Johnson.
"I knew it was going to be tough," said Langat. "I'm happy about it because I couldn't do more than I did. It was a really tough race. You never know what to expect. Most of the other guys are sprinters, not long distance runners, so I knew they would have a good kick at the end."
Simpson earned his second all-America certificate with a seventh place finish in the 400 meters. The junior from Kingston, Jamaica turned in a time of 45.40 seconds. Minnesota's Adam Steele (44.563) nipped South Carolina's Otis Harris (44.569) at the tape to earn the victory. Simpson reached last year's final round before false starting in the championship heat. He and Langat were both on the 4x4 relay squad that finished second at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville in March.
"I thank the Lord for making it this far," said Simpson. "My biggest problem this season has been technique. It affected my confidence level. I knew it was going to be a fast race. I really didn't have it at the end, but I couldn't have done anything better. It was a good learning experience."
It was also a learning experience for freshman Donita Harmon, who came away with an eighth place finish in the 200 meter dash, earning her second all-America certificate of the meet. Harmon, running in lane one, turned in a time of 23.50 seconds in Saturday's 200 finals. South Carolina's Aleen Bailey completed a sweep of the 100 and 200 meter sprints with a winning time of 22.65 seconds. A product of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Harmon also ran the second leg on TCU's 4x100 meter relay squad that placed sixth on Friday.
"Tiring," said Harmon following the race. "I felt good. I felt better in the blocks than I had through the entire season. I couldn't see the middle of the pack until I hit the straightaway. This was a very good experience," she added. "I'll know what to expect next year - to prepare for some really good competition."
Harmon and the Flyin' Frogs will be able to compete a little closer to home next year, as the Midwest Regionals are set for College Station, Texas and the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are scheduled to take place in Austin, Texas.
TCU RESULTS (Saturday):
400m Dash Finals: 7. Brandon Simpson 45.40.
800m Run Finals: 6. Jackson Langat 1:47.53.
200m Dash Finals: 8. Donita Harmon 23.50.