Edwards Takes Bronze Medal at NCAA Indoor Championships
March 12, 2004
Fayetteville, Arkansas - TCU's Aundre Edwards shattered his own school record en route to a third place finish in the long jump, while Jabari Fields, Jerry Harris and Jackson Langat advanced to Saturday's finals in their respective events, highlighting an outstanding first day for the Flyin' Frogs at the 2004 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet is being held at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.
Edwards, a senior from Kingston, Jamaica, came through when the pressure was on to earn his third All-America certificate. After faulting on his first two jumps and on the cusp of being eliminated from the competition, Edwards matched his personal indoor best and tied his school record with a jump of 7.87 meters (25-10.00) to move into second place after the preliminary round. He broke the school record with a jump of 7.88 meters (25-10.25) in the fifth round, but had slipped back into fourth place in the competition. In his sixth and final jump, Edwards turned in the best jump of his indoor career, leaping 7.97 meters (26-01.75) to move back into the top three. It was his best national finish after placing fifth at the 2002 NCAA outdoor meet, then fourth at the 2003 outdoor championships.
"I was nervous after the first two jumps," admitted Edwards. "I surprised myself that the third jump was as long as it was. I'm happy with my performance, especially since it was really only my third meet of the season. I keep moving up the ladder," said Edwards of his climb from fifth to fourth to now third at the national meets. "Hopefully I can skip second and go right to first at the outdoor meet," he said laughing.
Fields, a senior from San Bernardino, California, finished third in his heat and eighth overall in the 60-meter dash, crossing the line in 6.72 seconds. He edged Alabama's Chauncey Harris by 0.006 (6.714 to 6.720) to take the final slot in Saturday's finals. Oklahoma's DaBryan Blanton posted a time of 6.60 seconds in registering the fastest time in the prelims.
Harris, who owns the best 400 meter time in the world this season, turned in the fastest time in the 400 prelims, running a 46.06 to advance to Saturday's finals. The three-time All-American from Alexandria, Virginia, ran a 45.52 on this track back in February in winning the Tyson Foods-Razorback Invitational. The senior placed 10th at the indoor national championships a year ago with a time of 46.45. He will run in the second of two heats on Saturday evening, competing in the same heat as Baylor's Jeremy Wariner (46.08) and Darold Williamson (46.26) and Arizona State's Jason Barton (46.11).
"I feel real good," said Harris. "It was a little struggle to get into the lead going into the turn after the break, but overall it was an easy race."
Langat, who entered the meet with the nation's fastest time in the 800 meters at 1:46.09, finished third in his heat and logged the eighth fastest time overall, covering the four-lap distance in 1:48.75 to advance to Saturday's finals. The junior from Kericho, Kenya, finished sixth at both the NCAA indoor (1:48.50) and outdoor (1:47.53) championships a year ago, but has been bothered by a slight groin injury over the past couple of weeks. Mike Inge of Kent State notched the fastest time in the prelims, breaking the tape in 1:47.77. Defending indoor champion Nate Brannen also advanced to Saturday's final with a prelim time of 1:48.50.
"I thought it was ok," said Langat after his race. "The pace was too fast early on. Everyone here is fast and I knew that coming in. I was feeling some pain, especially coming around the corners, but I just had to keep going. Now I have to get ready for tomorrow night. That will be a different race and another challenge."
The meet concludes on Saturday evening at the Tyson Center complex. In addition to Fields, Harris and Langat competing in the finals of the 60, 400 and 800 respectively, the men's 4x400 meter relay unit will take the track in the meet's final event. The quartet expected to compete for the Frogs is comprised of Brett Wilson, Dwayne Lynes-Bell, Che Chavez and Harris. TCU earned the silver medal in the 4x4 at last year's indoor championships.
TCU RESULTS (Friday):
Long Jump: 3. Aundre Edwards 7.97m (26-01.75) (School Record)
60-meter dash: Jabari Fields 6.72 (Advanced to Saturday's finals)
400-meter dash: Jerry Harris 46.06 (Advanced to Saturday's finals)
800-meter run: Jackson Langat 1:48.75 (Advanced to Saturday's finals)