Frater, Edwards, Both 4x1's Advance to National Finals
June 11, 2003
Sacramento, California - The TCU Flyin' Frogs advanced four entries to the national finals as the first day of the 2003 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships wrapped up Wednesday evening at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus.
The highlight of the day was the women's 4x100 meter relay squad, which shattered the school record with a time of 43.37 seconds, the second fastest time in the semifinal round behind only LSU (43.08). The quartet of La' Toya White, Donita Harmon, Kandis Bell and Monica Twum bettered their previous season best mark of 44.00 and surpassed the previous TCU record mark of 43.69 seconds, set by the foursome of Giesla Jackson, Dywana Crudup, Catoshia Lewis and Tinesha Hackney at the NCAA Championships in Buffalo, New York in 1998.
"I'm just so happy, excited and confident," said Twum, the only senior of the group. "I'll leave TCU with a school record. I couldn't be more happy."
"The handoffs were really good," added Bell, who was running on the relay for the first time this season. "We cut it down a step because we knew we would be a little anxious today. Everybody pulled it together, but we have to bring it again on Friday," noted the freshman from Guthrie, Oklahoma.
The men's 4x100 meter relay team also advanced to Friday's finals with a heat-winning and season-best time of 39.13 seconds. Due to a hamstring injury to Jabari Fields in the 100 meter dash earlier in the day, Tyrone Sanders ran the leadoff leg for the Frogs. Cleavon Dillon and Jerry Harris ran the middle legs, with Michael Frater anchoring the unit. The Frogs posted the third fastest time in the semis, behind only LSU (38.84) and Tennessee (38.85).
"Our handoffs could have been a little better," admitted Sanders, who was running the leadoff leg for the first time this season. "My hamstring tightened up a little, but I'll be ok on Friday. You have to have somebody with heart in the blocks and I feel like I'm that person."
"I felt a little rusty, but pretty good," said Dillon. "We can go faster than that. I just hope everybody stays healthy and we can turn it loose on Friday."
Aundre Edwards advanced to the finals of the long jump competition by placing third in the qualifying round with a best jump of 7.87 meters (25-10.00). South Carolina's Tony Allmond had the day's best mark of 7.96 meters (26-01.50), while Auburn's Leevan Sands was second at 7.93 meters (26-00.25). The top 12 jumpers advance to Friday's finals where they will start with a clean slate. Edwards is looking to improve on his fifth place finish from last year's NCAA Championships.
With the temperature dropping, Michael Frater returned to the track late in the evening for the 100 meter dash semifinals. After running a 10.58 time in the morning prelims, Frater clocked a 10.42 semifinal to finish second in his heat and fifth overall, advancing to Friday's finals.
"It was a really long day," noted Frater. "It was cold tonight, but I can't use that as an excuse. I made it to the finals, so I'm satisfied with that. My start in the morning was a lot better than it was tonight, but it will be there on Friday. In the relay, we all stepped up today. It was a team effort."
Monica Twum also competed in the 100 meter dash semifinals on the women's side, but did not fare as well. After running an 11.78 time in the morning prelims, Twum broke the tape in 11.79 seconds in the semis, placing eighth in her heat and 15th of 18 runners overall, in what was her final collegiate 100-meter dash.
"We had a couple of disappointments, but overall it was a tremendous day," said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton. "The women's 4x1 broke the school record, and it was not a 'soft' record to break - it was a pretty good mark. Despite using about our 15th different lineup, the men's 4x1 was able to get the stick around in good shape. I was really proud of the kids today."
Day two of the four-day championship meet is set for Thursday. Harmon and Bell are slated to compete in the 200 meter dash, while Jackson Langat and Reggie Harrell return to the track for the semifinals of the 800 meters and 110-meter high hurdles respectively. Brandon Simpson will compete in the 400-meter dash prelims. He was a finalist last year in the event while attending George Mason University, and is looking for retribution after false starting in the national finals. Chris Peoples (high jump) and Brandal Lawrence (triple jump) will also don the TCU purple in the qualifying round of their respective events on Thursday.
TCU RESULTS (Wednesday evening session):
100m Dash Semifinals: 5. Michael Frater 10.42 (Advanced to finals).
Long Jump Qualifying Round: 3. Aundre Edwards (Advanced to finals).
100m Dash Semifinals: 15. Monica Twum 11.79.