Langat, Harmon Reach National Finals
June 12, 2003
Sacramento, California - The TCU Flyin' Frogs continued their strong performances on the second day of the 2003 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships held Thursday at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus. Sophomore 800-meter specialist Jackson Langat and freshman 200-meter sprinter Donita Harmon joined long jumper Aundre Edwards, 100-meter sprinter Michael Frater and the men's and women's 4x100 meter relay units in advancing to the national finals.
"We had another great day," said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton. "At this level, when you're making the finals, you're doing something special. This isn't the county fair. It's quite an accomplishment to make the finals of the NCAA meet. I'm proud of what we've been able to do here in the first two days."
Langat, who had the fastest time in the 800 meter prelims on Wednesday when he finished in a personal best 1:46.41, turned in a 1:47.64 clocking in the semifinal round Thursday to finish third in his heat and seventh overall, advancing to Saturday night's finals. The two-time all-American from Nairobi, Kenya will be looking to improve on his sixth place finish at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships.
"I felt ok," said Langat. "I was just trying to get qualified for the finals. You have to be ready for anything. A lot of the guys were saving energy, so I had to try to save mine. I think I still have something left for the finals. I knew it would be tough here - it's a really challenging event," continued Langat. "Tomorrow I'll be able to rest and get ready the finals - that will be the toughest test."
Harmon was asked to run twice in the 200 meters on Thursday. She began the day with a 23.56 clocking to finish third in her heat and eighth overall to move into the evening's semifinal round. Running in lane nine, Harmon broke the tape in 23.42 seconds in the semifinals, placing fifth in her heat, but earning a spot in Saturday's finals by tying for the eighth fastest time overall.
Brandal Lawrence, competing for the final time in a TCU uniform, set a school record by triple jumping 16.07 meters (52-08.75) in the qualifying round, but missed advancing to the finals by two centimeters (three quarters of an inch). Lawrence bettered the previous school mark of 52-08, set by Emmanuel Opubar in 1979, one of the oldest records that remained on the Frogs' charts.
Brandon Simpson began his run for redemption by crossing the finish line in the 400 meter dash prelims in a time of 45.57 to finish second in his heat, advancing to Friday's semifinal round. Simpson's time tied for the third fastest mark overall in the first round of competition. The junior from Kingston, Jamaica reached the national finals in the event last year in Baton Rouge while competing for George Mason University, only to be disqualified when he was charged with a false start.
"I think I did pretty well today," said Simpson. "I felt easy. I went out slower than usual and it worked for me. Your mindset has to change," said Simpson when asked about the three rounds of competition at the national meet this season as compared to two rounds a year ago. "It's not what you do in the prelims or semifinals that count, it's the finals that matter. You can't let your ego take over in the early rounds."
110-meter high hurdler Reggie Harrell suffered some misfortune in the semifinals of that event. Harrell finished seventh in his heat, logging a time of 13.83 seconds, eliminating him from finals contention. However Harrell, who was running in the faster of the two heats, actually logged the eighth best time overall. Three athletes with slower semifinal times than Harrell advanced to Saturday's finals.
"Harrell ran a good race," said TCU Head Coach Monte Stratton. "He just didn't advance."
In the prelims of the women's 200 meter dash contested on Thursday morning, freshman Kandis Bell clocked a 24.65 200 meters to place 27th of the 29 competitors in the event. Chris Peoples who complained of a slight groin injury, was unable to clear the opening height in the qualifying round of the high jump.
The Frogs return to the track on Friday evening where several finals will be contested. Aundre Edwards will compete for the long jump crown, Michael Frater will vie for the 100-meter dash title, and both men's and women's 4x100 meter relay units will challenge for the gold medal. In addition, Brandon Simpson will compete in the 400 meter dash semifinals.
TCU RESULTS (Thursday):
800m Run Semifinals: 7. Jackson Langat 1:47.64 (Advanced to Finals).
110m High Hurdles Semifinals: 8. Reggie Harrell 13.83.
400m Dash Prelims: T3. Brandon Simpson 45.57 (Advanced to Semifinals).
High Jump Qualifying Round: -. Chris Peoples NH.
Triple Jump Qualifying Round: 13. Brandal Lawrence 6.07 meters (52-08.75) (School Record).
200m Dash Semifinals: T8. Donita Harmon 23.42 (Advanced to Finals).