Frogs Advance Nine to Nationals
May 31, 2003
The TCU Flyin' Frogs turned in another strong performance on the final day of the NCAA Midwest Regional Track & Field meet, completed today at the Ed Weir Track Stadium on the University of Nebraska campus in Lincoln. Nine of the Frogs' 13 entries in Saturday's events qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held in Sacramento, California, June 11-14.
The TCU men ran to a fifth place finish, scoring 53 points in the meet, while the women placed ninth in the team standings with 26 points.
"I'm pleased with today's performances," said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton. "Our women finishing ninth when this was really a rebuilding year was outstanding. We pretty much maxed out on our point potential. On the men's side, it wasn't our objective to come here and win the meet, and I was pleasantly surprised with our fifth place finish. We didn't run our starting team in the 4x1 and not at all in the 4x4, our marquee event. That speaks well of our program. We're it not for the injuries on the men's side, I'd be ecstatic," continued Stratton. "We'll have to wait and see how we are health-wise for nationals."
Highlighting the day, as usual, were the Horned Frog sprinters.
On the men's side, juniors Michael Frater (10.38) and Jabari Fields (10.40) finished one-two in the 100 meter dash. They ran the anchor and the leadoff legs respectively on the Frogs' 4x100 meter relay team that placed third with a season-best time of 39.33, despite running without Jerry Harris, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"It wasn't great," said Frater of his winning time in the 100, "but a win's a win. I feel like I'm starting to get back in shape. I need to work real hard all next week on my start."
"It felt good," said Tyrone Sanders, who ran the third leg in place of Harris. "I knew (when Harris was injured) yesterday that there was a possibility that I could run today. They told me (a couple hours ahead of the race) to strap it on. I ran up on Mike (Frater) real bad, but otherwise, it was okay."
In other men's action, Brandon Simpson and Jackson Langat advanced to the NCAA Championships with a pair of third place finishes in the 400 and 800 meters respectively, both in season-best fashion. Simpson circled the quartermile track in 45.25, just 11-hundredths of a second off the school record mark of 45.14, set by Michael Cannon in 1985. Langat covered the half-mile distance in 1:48.21. Reggie Harrell advanced to the NCAA meet with a fifth place finish in the 110 meter high hurdles with a time of 13.93 seconds and Brandal Lawrence reached the NCAA meet in his final collegiate season with a fourth place finish in the triple jump, recording a season-best leap of 15.79 meters (51-09.75).
"I'm not satisfied, but it gets me to the next level," said Lawrence, the Conference USA indoor and outdoor triple jump champion.
Senior Monica Twum had a big day to ignite the TCU women's performances. Twum finished second in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.51 seconds, and anchored TCU Midwest Regional champion 4x100 meter relay team, which recorded a winning mark of 44.10 seconds. La' Toya White, freshman Donita Harmon and Tiffany Starts ran the first three legs of that gold medal relay team.
"We did what we had to do," said Starts. "Our focus now is to get to the finals at nationals. With three of us coming back (after earning all-America status with an eighth place finish a season ago), we want to finish in the top three this year. I think we can do that."
In other women's action, Harmon (23.74) and Kandis Bell (24.25) finished sixth and eighth in the 200 meter dash. Larissa Bakasa placed eighth in the 400 meters with a time of 54.71 and freshman Alayne Thompson was 12th in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:09.97.
400m Dash: 3. Brandon Simpson 45.25.
800m Run: 3. Jackson Langat 1:48.21.
110m Hurdles: 5. Reggie Harrell 13.93.
Triple Jump: 4. Brandal Lawrence 15.79m (51-09.75).
100m Dash: 2. Monica Twum 11.51.
400m Dash: 8. Larissa Bakasa 54.71.
3000m Steeplechase: 12. Alayne Thompson 11:09.97.