TCU Women Garner First Ever Track & Field Title
Feb. 28, 2004
Houston - The TCU women's squad notched its first-ever track & field conference title, winning the Conference USA Indoor Championship today at the Bill Yeoman Field House on the University of Houston campus. The TCU men's team, competing without several of its top performers, placed second for the second straight year behind host Houston.
The TCU women, who had never finished higher than third as a team in either an indoor or outdoor season, showed solid depth and got four winning performances on Saturday to go with Mary Kinyanjui's win in the 5,000 meters on Friday to outdistanced South Florida and Houston for the title. The Frogs tallied 125 points, to USF's 97.50 and Houston's 92. Kinyanjui personally contributed a meet-high 22 points, taking second in the 3K and finishing fifth in the mile in addition to her win in the 5K.
"It was a tremendous accomplishment for our women," said TCU head coach Monte Stratton, who was honored as the women's indoor Coach of the Year. "I don't know if you ever complete the building process, but our women's program has really come along way over the last several years. We are still a very young team, so it bodes well for the future. I was very happy with our men's performance as well," added Stratton. "We performed about as good as we were capable of, we just left a lot of points in Fort Worth this weekend. Some of our top athletes have bigger fish to fry in two weeks in Arkansas," added Stratton, referring to the national meet set for Fayetteville, March 12-13.
MaKeatha Cooper, a freshman from Grandview, Missouri, jump-started the Frogs on Saturday by capturing the gold medal in the 60-meter hurdles with a season-best and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 8.30 seconds. Her previous best was 8.38 seconds, accomplished on two occasions.
TCU dominated the 400 meters, taking the top two spots in both the men's and women's races. On the men's side, Jerry Harris (47.58) took the gold medal, followed by silver medalist Brett Wilson (47.58). Che Chavez (48.76) and Dwayne Lynes-Bell (49.13) were fifth and sixth respectively, giving the Flyin' Frogs 25 team points in the event. Larissa Bakasa (54.91) and Marquita Davis (54.93) also went one-two for the women, contributing 18 points to the team total.
The women may have put the meet on ice in the 200 meter dash by accumulating 19 team points. Donita Harmon took the gold medal in an NCAA provisional time of 24.09. Virgil Hodge took the bronze in 24.38 and Deborah Jones placed sixth in 24.89. In the men's 200, Jabari Fields logged his second NCAA provisional mark of the meet, placing third in 21.48 seconds. Jerry Harris was fourth in 21.77 seconds.
The women's team put the icing on the cake in the meet's final event, the 4x400 meter relay. The TCU quartet of Larissa Bakasa, Donita Harmon, Deborah Jones and Marquita Davis easily posted the victory, running a time of 3:42.58, three and a half seconds ahead of second place Houston. The TCU men's 4x4 relay team appeared to have a TCU relay sweep well in hand, but a dropped baton on the final exchange between Che Chavez and Jerry Harris, cost the Frogs valuable time and the victory. Harris was unable to make up for the miscue and TCU finished second with a time of 3:15.20 to East Carolina's 3:15.16.
In the 60-meter dash, freshman Virgil Hodge was the first of three TCU finishers on the women's side. Hodge covered the sprint distance in season-best time of 7.50 seconds to take the silver medal. Donita Harmon was fifth in 7.57, while Jamee Jones was sixth in 7.61. Senior Jabari Fields also took the silver medal in the men's 60 meter dash with a time of 6.72 seconds. Cleavon Dillon placed sixth in 6.84, while Chaime Breaux was eighth in 6.91 seconds.
In other events on Saturday involving TCU point-scorers, Jackson Langat was nipped at the wire in the men's mile run. Langat finished in 4:11.28, 12 one-hundredths of a second behind Houston's Sesar Figueroa. The TCU distance standout won the event last year in a time of 4:17.25. Langat, who is the nation's leader in the 800 meters, did not complete in the finals of that event as he is nursing a slight injury. Mary Kinyanjui's third event of the meet resulted in a silver medal. She completed the 3,000 meter run in a time of 9:53.75 to take second place honors. Nathaniel Garcia placed third in the 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.11 seconds. Freshman Zelma Wade took home the bronze medal in the shot put with a best toss of 14.11 meters (46-03.50). Calandra Stewart's strong kick gave her the bronze medal in the 800 meters in a time of 2:17.27. Justina Malone was seventh in the 800, breaking the line in 2:18:46. Mary Kinyanjui (4:58.77) and Calandra Stewart (4:58.92) finished fifth and sixth respectively in the women's mile run. Freshman Rob Coffman turned in a fifth place performance in the pole vault, clearing 4.60 meters (15-01). Freshman Chaime Breaux placed sixth in the men's triple jump with a best jump of 14.27 meters (46-10.00).
Several of the Flyin' Frogs will be traveling to Ames, Iowa next weekend for the Last Chance Meet, the final meet prior to the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 12-13.
MEN'S TEAM TOTALS:
1. Houston 181; 2. TCU 99; 3. Marquette 89; 4. Charlotte 76; 5. Memphis 74; 6. DePaul 55; 7. Southern Miss 44; 8. East Carolina 43.
TCU MEN'S RESULTS (Saturday):
60-meter Hurdles: 3. Nathaniel Garcia 8.11
800-meter run: Jackson Langat DNS
Triple Jump: 6. Chaime Breaux 14.27m (46-10.00)
Pole Vault: 5. Rob Coffman 4.60m (15-01.00).
WOMEN'S TEAM TOTALS:
1. TCU 125; 2. USF 97.50; 3. Houston 92; 4. Tulane 78; 5. Marquette 49; 6. Charlotte 47; 7. DePaul 40; 8. UAB 31; 9. East Carolina 29; 10. Louisville 26.50; 11.Cincinnati 22; 12. Southern Miss 17; 13. Memphis 9.
TCU WOMEN'S RESULTS (Saturday):
60-meter Hurdles: 1. MaKeatha Cooper 8.30 (NCAA provisional mark)