2008 Track and Field Season Review
July 17, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas - The 2008 track and field season produced many memorable moments both during the indoor and outdoor seasons.
2008 Indoor Season
At the Mountain West Conference Championships, head coach Darryl Anderson, who was named 2008 Indoor South Central Regional Coach of the Year, was honored at the end of the meet as the MWC Women's Coach of the Year, while Virgil Hodge capped an outstanding MWC indoor career with Women's Outstanding Performance honors. The Flyin' Frog men also had a solid outing in Colorado Springs, Colo., recording second-place honors after bringing a total of 20 men to the conference championships. Following the conference championship, the men and women's team had 12 selections on the all-conference squad.
At the MWC Championships, Hodge, the Mountain West Indoor Athlete of the Year, won both the 60 and 200 meters for the second-consecutive season to earn Women's Outstanding Performance honors. Sophomore Neidra Covington captured the triple jump crown in Colorado with the fifth-best jump in MWC women's championship history and an NCAA automatic mark. Her leap of 44 feet set a new school record. Covington also won the long jump.
Junior Kishelle Paul captured the 60-meter hurdle title, winning her second MWC crown of her career with a time of 8.37. Her time of 8.37 seconds tied her for fifth all-time in the MWC women's record book. Candis Kelley closed out the indoor season winning her third-consecutive shot put title. By doing so, she became the first female student-athlete in MWC history to accomplish that feet.
On the men's side at the MWC Championships, Jonathan Jackson captured the men's triple jump title with an NCAA automatic leap of 16.26m (53-04.25). His jump broke his own school record in the event and ranked as the third-best triple jump mark in MWC men's championship history. In the sprints, Andon Mitchell claimed the 60-meter title, while freshman Mychal Dungey won his first Mountain West title in the 200 meters with an NCAA provisional time of 21.17 seconds. Fellow freshman Jordan Pitts captured his first MWC title in the men's 60-meter hurdles with the second-best time in MWC men's championship history. His winning time was 7.92 seconds.
Two weeks later, the Flyin' Frogs took seven members to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Highlights at the NCAAs included, Hodge placing seventh overall in the women's 200 meters to earn All-America honors for the sixth-time of her career and Covington securing two All-America certificates in both the long and triple jump. On the men's side, the 4x400 relay blazed to a runner-up performance to lead the TCU men to a 12th-place finish overall at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The unit consisting of Che Chavez, Guy, Henry and Love earned runner-up honors by clocking a season best time of 3:06.19 seconds. The quartet just missed being crowned National Champions as Baylor won the event by posting a time of 3:05.66. Jackson, who's mark broke his own school record, earned All-American honors by soaring 16.32m (53-06.50) to finish third overall in the men's triple jump.
Overall, TCU posted its highest finish on the men's side at the NCAA Indoors since 2004, while also recording its fourth highest finish in program history at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
2008 Outdoor Season
Fast forward a month later and TCU showed up in a big-way at the 81st annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. In Austin, Candis Kelley and Festus Kigen both won events as Kelley claimed the women's shot put title, while Kigen crossed the finish line in first-place in the men's 1,500 meters. Kishelle Paul, a junior from Marietta, Ga., placed second overall in the women's 400-meter hurdles by clocking an NCAA regional qualifying time of 57.84 seconds. Her mark at that point was the second-fastest time in the NCAA and the 16th fastest time in the world.
The relay squads stole the show though as the men's 4x100 unit consisting of Andon Mitchell, Otis McDaniel, Justyn Warner and Mychal Dungey clocked the sixth fastest collegiate time at that time in a field that included the likes of Tyson Gay and several other world-class Olympic athletes. The unit, who's time was ranked in the top 15 in the world for over a month, recorded a seasonal best time of 39.70 seconds to finish fourth overall. On the women's side, the women's 4x100 blazed to a fourth-place finish in a field that featured the top-time in the world. The Flyin' Frogs unit of Jessica Clarke, Brittany Blaylock, Paul and Virgil Hodge clocked a time of 44.22 seconds to record at that time the 10th fastest time in the world.
In the men's 4x200, TCU posted a seasonal best time of 1:23.21 to earn runner-up honors in the event at Mike A. Myers Stadium. That mark is currently sitting as the No. 10 time in the world. Finally, the men's 4x400 closed out the meet clocking a season best time of 3:04.78 to finish fourth overall.
Following the Texas Relays, the Flyin' Frogs came back home to post 27 NCAA regional qualifying marks, crush two school records, set a new St. Kitts national record and record the third fastest time in the world at the ninth annual TCU Invitational.
Hodge had a phenomenal day on the track as she placed first overall in both the 100 and 200 meters. In the 100 meters, the St. Kitts native clocked a personal best time of 11.26 to place first overall. Her time broke her own St. Kitts national record. In the 200 meters, she blazed to a first-place finish with then the third fastest time in the world. The senior clocked a time of 22.76, which was an NCAA regional qualifying mark and the fastest mark in the NCAA for two-straight weeks.
On the men's side, Warner won the 100 meters with a personal best time of 10.23. His mark was the sixth fastest time in the NCAA at that point of the season and ranked him in the top-20 in the world standings.
In the jumps, Jonathan Jackson broke his own school record in the men's triple jump by soaring 53 feet, 7 inches to place first overall. His mark broke his 2006 mark of 53 feet. On the women's side, Covington won the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 6 ¾ inches. Her mark broke Donna Thomas' 1985 mark of 42 feet, 4 inches.
Following its outstanding home performance, the Flyin' Frogs continued to perform as they traveled to Philadelphia for the historic Penn Relays. During the first two days, Kelley became only the second female in TCU history to win the women's shot put title, while Jackson became only the second male in TCU history to win the men's long jump.
On the final day of competition in Philadelphia, TCU in front of an electrifying crowd of 49,831 took over as Jackson crushed his own school record to win the men's triple jump and earn College Athlete of the Meet honors for individual events, while the men's 4x400 won the Championship of America division for the first time since 2000.
Jackson, who's mark of 54 feet, 3 ¾ inches sat at No. 1 in the NCAA for almost a month, soared to the 10th longest jump in Penn Relays history. By doing so he became the first TCU track and field athlete ever to win both the men's long and triple jump at the Penn Relays. Jackson also became the first TCU male or female to win a title in the triple jump at historic Franklin Field. By being named Individual College Athlete of the Meet, Jackson became only the second individual in TCU history to be named Individual Athlete of the Meet.
The men's 4x400 unit of Che Chavez, Dell Guy, Clemore Henry and Matthew Love crossed the finish line in 3:07.83 to capture the 4x400 title. The unit collected TCU's first title since 2000 and only the second 4x400 title in TCU's prestigious history at the Penn Relays. Not to be outdone, the women's 4x400 unit of Jessica Clarke, Shekila Wilkinson, Meaghan Peoples and Paul won the college division of the 4x400 by recording an NCAA regional qualifying time of 3:39.72.
TCU closed out its home schedule by hosting the 2008 Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships.
In Fort Worth, the Flyin' Frogs posted 25 NCAA regional qualifying marks, won 15 of the 27 events, set a new St. Kitts national record and recorded two new meet records on the final day of competition.
Freshman Stormy Harrison won the women's shot put title with the second longest throw in Mountain West Conference Championship history. The Cisco natives throw of 52 feet, 2 ½ inches, set a new Lowdon Track and Field Complex record and marked the third-consecutive year TCU had won the event.
Hodge a senior from St. Kitts, closed out her MWC career in style as she clocked a new personal best time of 11.21 seconds in the 100 meters to claim her third-straight conference outdoor title. In doing so, Hodge, who set a new St. Kitts national record, broke the meet and complex record in the event. Hodge came back later in the day and posted her third-straight outdoor 200-meter championship title with a time of 22.94.
On the men's side in the 100, the Flyin' Frogs posted the top-three times of the day. Warner won the title by crossing the line in 10.44 seconds, while McDaniel earned runner-up honors by clocking a time of 10.47 seconds. Mitchell closed the TCU scoring by finishing in third-place with a time of 10.55. In the men's 200 meters, TCU dominated with seven of the final eight placing positions being Flyin' Frogs. McDaniel collected title honors by clocking a regional qualifying time of 20.60 seconds.
In the men's javelin, senior Joe Brown closed his MWC career in winning-fashion, taking the title on his last attempt in competition. Overall, Brown blasted a throw of 221 feet, 7 inches to become only the second Horned Frog ever to win a conference crown in the javelin, and the first since Wes Ritchey won the Southwest Conference in 1954.
In the women's 400, Clarke won the event title with the fifth-fastest time in championship history. Her blazing regional qualifying time of 52.52 was ranked as the seventh-fastest time in the nation heading into the Midwest Regional. The Flyin' Frogs have now won the 400 meters for three-straight years.
Other highlights on the final day included, Jackson claiming his third career MWC outdoor crown in the men's triple jump with a winning leap of 51 feet, 2 ¼ inches and freshman Jordan Pitts taking home both the 110 and 400-meter hurdle titles. Finally, TCU dominated in the relays as both the men and women claimed the 4x100 and 4x400 titles for the third-consecutive year.
The TCU men, who entered the final day with only 19 points, finished in second-place with 192 points, while the Flyin' Frog women ended competition in fourth with 126 points.
Following competition at the championships, TCU placed 22 student-athletes on the Mountain West Conference Men and Women's outdoor Track and Field team.
The Flyin' Frogs closed out the month of May at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lincoln, Neb. At the regional, Brown qualified for the NCAA Championships by crushing his own school record in the men's javelin. Brown, a senior from Overland Park, Kan., recorded a fifth-place finish by tossing the javelin 224 feet to break his previous school record of 222 feet, 5 inches set in 2006. Paul also had a stellar outing in Lincoln as she claimed the regional championship in the women's 400-meter hurdles. Paul, a junior from Georgia, recorded a seasonal best time of 57.81 seconds to win the regional. Her time at that point was ranked in the top-10 of the NCAA.
Overall, the men's 4x100, Paul (400-meter hurdles), Virgil Hodge (100 meters), Andon Mitchell (100 meters), Otis McDaniel (200 meters) and Jonathan Jackson (Triple Jump) all earned NCAA Automatic bids at the regional.
The Flyin' Frogs put the final touches on the 2008 season in Des Moines, Iowa at the NCAA Championships. Overall, TCU had five different individuals collect All-America certificates at Drake Stadium: Joe Brown (Javelin), Mychal Dungey (200 Meters and 4x100), and the men's 4x100 unit consisting of Justyn Warner, Dungey, Andon Mitchell and Otis McDaniel.
In the men's javelin, Brown earned All-America honors by tossing the javelin 211 feet, 9 inches to place 10th overall. By doing so Brown, who was named the 2008 Mountain West Conference Student-Athlete of the Year, became the first TCU athlete ever to be named an All-American in the javelin. The finish by Brown was also the best by a TCU javelin thrower at the NCAA Championships.
Finally, the men's 4x100 unit earned All-America honors by crossing the finish line in seventh-place with a time of 39.60 seconds.
With the end of the 2008 season, TCU looses senior greats Hodge, Jackson and Brown, but the cupboard is not bare as the Flyin' Frogs return plenty of talent ready to make their own names on the track.
Redshirt Jessica Young will don a Horned Frog uniform in 2009 after sitting out this past season. In 2008, she placed fifth overall in the women's 60-meter finals at the 2008 AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships with a time of 7.25, while also posting a time of 52.25 in the women's 400 meters at the North Texas Open. The former All-American at Richmond could prove to be a big asset in 2009 and will give TCU another dominant force in the sprints.
Overall, with almost all of its nucleus returning and a talented incoming class, TCU will once again be in the hunt for a conference and national championship in 2009.