Nov. 8, 2012
FORT WORTH – TCU’s women’s cross country team embarks on its next competition Friday when they compete at the South Central Region in Fayetteville, Ark. The women’s 6K run begins at 11 a.m. The top two teams and top four individuals from non-advancing teams will qualify for the 2012 NCAA Championships on Nov. 17.
The Horned Frogs are coming off a successful Big 12 Championships debut on Oct. 27, where they finished fifth. As a compliment to the strength of the Big 12 and the measure of TCU’s accomplishment, all 10 women’s teams are competing at an NCAA Regional Friday.
The stand out performers of the meet was the senior duo of Agnes Kemboi and Tricia Terry. Kemboi finished 12th to become TCU’s first All-Big 12 honoree across all sports. Terry continued her outstanding season finishing in 17th.
“Overall it has been a very good season,” head coach Liz Wort said. “We have made a lot of progress. The seniors have continued to develop throughout the season and the transition by the freshmen has been outstanding.”
Kemboi will be looking to earn a ticket to her second consecutive NCAA Championships. The two-time Big 12 Runner of the Week will be among the favorites to advance in one of the individual slots due to her talent and past experiences.
“There are a couple of other individuals to look out for from LSU and SMU,” Wort stated. “There are always good individuals at these competitions. We expect Agnes to be up there, I don’t think she has to do anything spectacular. She just has to go out there, and have a solid race in the lead pack.”
This will be the second time the Horned Frogs have competed in Fayetteville this season, as the women’s squad earned a ninth-place finish at the Chile Pepper Festival on Oct. 13.
One of the story lines of the season has been youth and that will continue again Friday. Three seniors will be on the travel squad in Katie Dalton, Kemboi and Terry, but the other four competitors are all freshmen. Ashley Eckhoff, Maggie Escobar, Genna McCarthy and Laura Orlie round out the TCU squad. Wort praised the efforts of the freshmen class.
“They have been great this year,” Wort said. “It is tough for freshmen to maintain the level they performed at in high school because so much has changed. There are dorms, academic rigors, different practice schedules among other things. Through all of that our freshmen have been consistently solid. Laura and Ashley have performed above the level they have run in high school. They have been a really good group to work with, and they seem to get along really well. Everyone is excited about the direction the program is going in.”
The field will feature top-15 staple and hosts Arkansas and Big 12 runner-up Texas as the favorites to earn the top-two team slots. TCU slides in with teams such as SMU, LSU and Texas A&M that will look for opportunities to take advantage of a slip up by the favorites.
“We want to place as high as a team as we can,” Wort noted. “We are ranked sixth in the region, so we at least want to be there. It is also not unrealistic to say we can finish even higher. SMU is always a good rival for us. We will see a lot of familiar faces from throughout the season and the Big 12. We want to use the meet as an opportunity for our younger runners to learn. We need to be able to compete and prepare at higher levels.”
The goal of the meet is to qualify for the NCAA Championships eight days later. If a team does not finish in the top-two or an individual is not among the non-advancing teams’ top four, there will be a small amount of at-large candidates given invitations.