Edwards, Kinyanjui Take Gold in First Day of C-USA Meet
Feb. 27, 2004
Houston - Aundre Edwards and Mary Kinyanjui turned in gold medal performances, pacing the TCU Flyin' Frogs in the first day of the Conference USA Indoor Track & Field Championships, held at the Bill Yeoman Field House on the University of Houston campus.
Edwards, the defending conference indoor and outdoor champion in the long jump, posted a season-best and NCAA provisional mark of 7.60 meters (24-11.25) to capture the long jump title. His mark ties for the 15th best collegiate jump this season, and easily surpasses his previous season best of 7.42 meters. It was just the third competition this year for Edwards, a fourth-place finisher at the NCAA Outdoor Championships a year ago, as he has been hampered by a hamstring injury. Teammate Cleavon Dillon placed fourth in the event with a best jump of 7.23 meters (23-08.75).
"I felt rusty, but I'm getting there," said Edwards following the competition, "It feels good to win. Overall I'm pleased with my performance and glad to be back. This was the first time all season I've taken six full jumps. Hopefully I can get an automatic mark next week at the Last Chance meet (in Ames, Iowa).
Junior Mary Kinyanjui, the 2003 Conference USA cross country champion, got the TCU women off to a strong start in their quest for a first-ever conference track & field team title with a first place finish in the 5,000 meter run, finishing the 25-lap race in a time of 17:02.34. Alayne Thompson placed fifth in 17:34.00, while Katrina Zielinski was seventh in 17:36.11, giving the Frogs 16 team points in the event.
"It was actually pretty easy," said Kinyanjui. "I didn't know how it would feel, since I haven't run the 5,000 this season, but it felt good and easy. I felt like I was just jogging at the end, trying to save something for tomorrow." Kinyanjui is slated to compete in both the mile and 3,000 meter finals on Saturday.
In other finals decided on Friday, the women's distance medley relay team, featuring Heather Isbell, Larissa Bakasa, Justina Malone and Calandra Stewart, placed second with a time of 11:56.61, while the men's DMR quartet of Steven Lenney, Nathaniel Garcia, Raita Yamanouchi and David Harris finished seventh with a time of 10:47.22. Chris Peoples earned a bronze medal with a third place finish in the high jump, clearing 2.07 meters (6-9.50).
Both the TCU men and women sent three runners through to the finals of the 60-meter dash. Senior Jabari Fields led the way for the men with a season-best and NCAA provisional mark of 6.69 seconds, tying for the ninth fastest mark in the nation this year. Cleavon Dillon (6.77) and Chaime Breaux (6.80) also advanced to the finals. The TCU women logged three heat winners in the 60, with Donita Harmon (7.50), Virgil Hodge (7.54) and Jamee Jones (7.61) advancing to Saturday's finals.
In the 200, TCU put five runners through to the final round. Jabari Fields (21.60) and Jerry Harris (21.64) advanced on the men's side, while Donita Harmon (24.34), Virgil Hodge (24.57) and Deborah Jones (25.06) qualified on the women's side. All five posted heat-winning times.
TCU showed its dominance in the 400 meter dash on both sides of the ledger. On the men's side, four Frogs won their respective heat and advanced to Saturday's finals. Brett Wilson turned in the fastest time (48.27), but was followed closely by NCAA leader Jerry Harris (48.49), Dwayne Lynes-Bell (48.67) and Che Chavez (49.08) as TCU went 1-3-5-7 in the prelims. The women posted the fastest two qualifiers in the prelims in Larissa Bakasa (55.42) and Marquita Davis (55.60).
The Frogs sent three runners to the finals in the 800 meters. Jackson Langat, the nation's leader in the half-mile distance, easily won his heat in 1:54.93. Justina Malone (2:15.37) and Calandra Stewart (2:15.43) will vie for the conference women's title in the 800 meters on Saturday.
MaKeatha Cooper easily won her heat in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.49 seconds, earning a berth in Saturday's finals. Nathaniel Garcia was second in his heat of the sprint hurdle event and also had the second-fastest time overall, crossing the line in 8.09 seconds, to advance to the final round.
"I thought both of our teams had a remarkably good meet," said TCU head coach Monte Stratton. "I didn't see anything really disappointing. We knew on the men's side we weren't fully loaded coming into the meet, but we pretty much dominated what we did compete in. The women did very well, especially for as young as we are. We're looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what we can get accomplished."
The Conference USA indoor track & field team titles will be decided on Saturday afternoon with the running events slated to begin at 1 p.m.
TCU MEN'S RESULTS:
High Jump Finals: 3. Chris Peoples 2.07m (6-9.50).
60-meter Hurdles Prelims: Nathaniel Garcia 8.09q
TCU WOMEN'S RESULTS:
60-meter Hurdles Prelims: MaKeatha Cooper 8.49q