March 27, 2013
FORT WORTH - The TCU track and field team will have student-athletes competing at various events this week. The majority of the Horned Frogs competing this week will be at the 86th Texas Relays in Austin, beginning on Thursday and running through Saturday. Select TCU competitors will compete at the Bobcat Invitational at Texas State on Thursday and Friday. On Friday, three TCU women's distance runners will compete at the Stanford Invitational.
"TCU has had a great deal of success historically at the Texas Relays," TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. "For our program, we reside in the great state of Texas and this is one of the biggest meets in the state at both the high school and college level. For TCU, having faces in the meet helps us in recruiting. Just being there is important."
TCU has over 20 student-athletes competing at the Texas Relays, one of the first big outdoor meets of the season with a multitude of the nation's top teams descending on Austin. Among the teams in action will be Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M.
One of the focuses of the Texas Relays are the relay events. In the 4x100-meter relay, the TCU men's squad is currently ranked second nationally. The Horned Frogs will get to face off against the one team currently ahead of them, Texas A&M, and many elite teams will make their season debut in the event such as Auburn, Baylor and Florida. The TCU women will also face elite competition with LSU and Oregon among those entered in the relay.
"We are trying to get our relay teams situated," Anderson noted. "Our objective for the men is to run under 39 seconds this year, and we want our women to be in the los-44s. We have the personnel on both sides to get that done. We want to get in the finals of the sprint relays."
The men's team will get a once-in-a-season opportunity to run the men's 4x200-meter relay. As it is not an event that is part of the NCAA Championships program, the event does not come up that often on meet schedules. However, without an individual competition for the men's 200-meter dash this is an opportunity for the Frogs to compete at the distance. TCU is the NCAA record holder in the men's 4x200-meter dash.
This sets up for a potentially busy Saturday for the sprinters. The men's 4x200 final is at 12 p.m. with the 4x100 final at 1:30 p.m. and the 100-meter dash finals beginning at 3:15 p.m. Charles Silmon has another layer added as he will be competing in the invitational 100-meter dash field. He was the only current college competitor picked for the invitational 100.
"We have a multitude of guys who can run in all the relays," Anderson noted. "The question is how do we want to utilize guys competing in the 100-meter dash finals."
The TCU men will compete in the invitational men's 4x400-meter relay to close out the Texas Relays. While earning an invite to the nine-team field means the Horned Frogs won't have to run a preliminary relay for the event, they are also in a loaded field with Baylor, Florida, Houston, Kansas, LSU and Texas A&M among the nine-team field.
"We are going to get severely tested in the 4x400 final," Anderson stated. "Usually you don't get into the invitational unless you competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships. I was surprised when I got the invite, which was probably due to our performance at Notre Dame during the indoor season. This is a great opportunity for our young group. It will be essentially be a re-run of the NCAAs with TCU."
The Horned Frogs have also had a great start to the outdoor season in the field events, and those student-athletes will be tested as well. Megan Smith posted the best marks of her career in the discus and shot put last week in Arlington, Ramone Bailey recorded the best long jump of his career at Baylor, Makena Schroder has been a consistent presence in the women's javelin and Paul Osunwa has been strong in the men's shot put.
Though it is undecided whether she will compete for sure, Lorraine Ugen is entered in the women's long jump. Ugen has not competed in the long jump since her fifth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
TCU will have Ashley Eckhoff, Agnes Kemboi and Laura Orlie competing at the Stanford Invitational in the women's 5,000-meter run Friday. The field is packed with many of the top distance programs in the country, with 11 of the top 15 teams from the NCAA women's cross country championship represented in the field. The meet will also be important for strategizing the plans for the women's distance runners for the rest of the season with an eye on qualifying for the NCAA West Preliminaries in May.
Select student-athletes who are not competing at either of those meets will compete at the Bobcat Invitational at Texas State on Thursday and Friday.