Feb. 7, 2013
FORT WORTH – The TCU track and field program welcomed a variety of future student-athletes to its men’s and women’s teams in the early portion of the signing period. The Horned Frogs men’s squad added two student-athletes for the 2013-14 signing period in D’Andre Lewis and Malik Summers to go along with the January additions of Michael Owusu-Peprah and Sam Watts. The TCU women made six additions with Judy Emeodi, Makaila Flannigan, Jazzmine Folston, Arin Rice, Anna Robinson and Jasmine Sillemon.
“The men’s signing class was pretty simple to put together,” TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. “We do not have many open scholarships and we added two guys in January. We had a good recruiting class last season, but we still wanted to add some quality to our lineup.”
Lewis joins the Horned Frogs from Bush High School in Houston. The TCU coaching staff is looking to Lewis to fill an important void in the 800-meter run. Lewis missed much of last season due to injury, but made a good impression on the Horned Frogs coaching staff.
“We don’t really have a great 800-meter guy right now,” Anderson noted. “In past years we have had really good guys with the likes of Jackson Langat, Jack O’Brien and Sean Zurko. Those were guys who helped us at the conference and NCAA level. We wanted to add something there and we have with D’Andre. We feel good about where he is going. He went 1:52 early last year at Rice, but was then hurt. There is no telling how fast he could have gone.”
Summers is a sprinter from Lewisville, Texas who will be joining TCU. He already had a solid resume from last year as a USATF Youth National Championships qualifier in the 200 and 400-meter dash. However, he made his impression on Anderson and the TCU coaching staff early on in the Texas high school indoor season.
“Malik is a guy who came on our radar when he ran at Texas A&M indoors in January,” Anderson said. “He did not have any marks that stood out, but then he ran 6.90 at Houston in the indoor 60 and that put him on our radar as a guy we felt good about.
“The beauty of the two guys we signed is not with how it looks today, but how it will look after they finish their senior seasons,” Anderson continued. “We think both will put up big numbers this year. When you compare the numbers that they have today and then the numbers they have when they come on campus in August, they will be very different.”
The TCU men’s team saw two additions to the program in January with the additions of Michael Owusu-Peprah and Sam Watts, who have already competed for the Horned Frogs in the current indoor campaign. Owusu-Peprah, from Kumasi, Ghana, holds a personal best of 10.42 in the outdoor 100-meter dash. Watts, from London, is currently ranked 26th in the NCAA in the indoor 200-meter dash with a 21.21.
With more seniors on the current roster, the TCU women’s team had more room to make additions for the 2013-14 season. The six newcomers for next season offer options for the Horned Frogs in a variety of areas with sprinters, distance runners, jumpers and hurdlers in the class with the option to make more additions still on the table.
“We had a lot of available scholarships on the women’s team,” Anderson noted. “This was a great opportunity for us to restructure and strengthen our team. This class is one that will help us get in the direction we want to go. One of the things I talked about during this process was work ethic and championship building, because championship building starts with work ethic. You have to be able to come in every day and be ready to go to work. Each of these girls embrace the concept that the way they are going to get better, the team is going to better, the team is going to develop and the way we are going to get there to where we want to be starts with work ethic.”
Arin Rice joins TCU from Canyon High School in Texas. Rice is the defending Class 4A state champion in the outdoor 1,600-meter run and won the state title in the 800-meter run in 2011. She also finished second in the state cross country championships as a senior.
“We feel personally, as biased as this may sound, that Arin Rice is the best distance runner in the state,” Anderson said. “She was a state champion last year, and she was a runner-up in cross country. She has run 2:09 in the 800 and 4:53 in the mile. We feel she is someone who can contribute right away.”
Anna Robinson is a long jumper from DeSoto. Robinson was the Class 5A state champion in the outdoor long jump as a sophomore, going undefeated throughout the season. She was a state finalist last season in the event. Anderson was excited to make in-roads at one of Texas’ top high school track programs.
“Any time you get someone from DeSoto, it is a big deal,” Anderson stated. “They have one of the best women’s teams in the state and in the country. Anna is someone we feel that can be an elite jumper for us like Whitney Gipson was and Lorraine Ugen is now. We are getting someone from a school in the Metroplex we want to continue to recruit. We feel she will be really successful here.”
Judy Emeodi joins the Frogs from McNeil High School in the Austin-Round Rock area. Emeodi was a state finalist in the 100 and 200-meter and earned a regional title in both events.
“Judy is another Texas kid who was fourth in the 100 and 200 in the 5A state meet and one of the top sprinters in the state,” Anderson said. “We feel like we got a catch with her.”
Jasmine Sillemon joins TCU as a sprinter from Crowell, Texas. Sillemon is the three-time defending Class 1A state champion in the 100-meter dash and added a 200-meter dash state title to her collection as a junior. Even though she has made her name competing against smaller schools, Anderson and the Frogs think she has what it takes to compete against the elite competition of the Big 12.
“Jasmine is from a small town in Crowell, Texas,” Anderson noted. “Sometimes coaches stop looking after the top few classes. We saw her at the state meet, we have watched her on video and we had her on campus. We really liked and enjoyed having her. We feel she is going to blossom when she arrives at TCU.”
Leaving the Lone Star State, TCU found another talented sprinter/jumper in Jazzmine Folston from Cocoa, Fla. Folston was a New Balance Nationals qualifier in the 100 and 200-meter dash, finishing sixth in the 100. Last season she was a state finalist in the 100 and 200-meter dash and long jump, earning conference championships in all three events.
“Jazzmine is a long jumper with really good speed,” Anderson stated. “We think she can be a big-time long jumper in line with the student-athletes who have come before her at TCU. She is a good-looking athlete that has a good genetic background. Genetics is a big thing in athletics, and we feel there is a lot there for this young lady. She is someone who was driving the recruiting train for us trying to get the other girls to come here.”
Makaila Flannigan joins the Horned Frogs from Chandler, Ariz. Flannigan is the defending Arizona Division I champion in the 100 and 300-meter hurdles. Anderson was pleased that his past connections in Arizona helped him land the talented hurdler.
“Chandler is a place I am familiar with from my time at Arizona State,” Anderson said. “I was there for nine years and established a good relationship with the coaches there. Her parents were both big-time athletes at Colorado, and her sister is a Division I athlete. All the pieces are there for Makaila to be very successful.”
The signing period for track and field is open until Aug. 1 as the Horned Frogs look to continue expanding their roster for the 2013-14 school year.