Five to watch in 2008
Dec. 19, 2007
Five to Watch Gallery
With the official start of the indoor track and field season only a few weeks away GoFrogs.com gives readers a final look of seven individuals ready to shine this indoor season. This week GoFrogs.com looks at Mychal Dungey, Jordan Pitts, Jay Cooper, Tommy Killen, Che Chavez, Andon Mitchell and Sean Zurko.
This is the final installment of the five to watch in 2008 as the Flyin' Frogs will open the 2008 season on Jan. 11 at Arkansas.
Mychal Dungey comes to TCU after running the fourth fastest 200-meter time in the nation last season. He had one of the most successful track and field careers in Texas high school history. The two-time 5A state champion in the 200 meters, Dungey, who was also named a USA Today and Track and Field News All-American following his junior and senior seasons, was the 2007 Nike Outdoor National 200 meters runner-up, while also winning the 2007 Great Southwest and Golden West 200 meter championships.
"Mychal Dungey has had a super fall. He is one of the few freshmen that you can ask to make a change technically that can do it. He has a huge upside and a lot of athleticism. He obviously is a talent because he was a high school All-American and two-time state champion. We are elated that he is here and excited to see what he can do this winter. I feel good about where he is at and what he is going to bring to the table for TCU," said head coach Darryl Anderson.
Jordan Pitts brings an impressive list of credentials to the TCU track and field program this winter. At Greenville High School he was a three-time track and field MVP, while also breaking the school record in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.8. Pitts was a two-time state qualifier after being crowned district champion in the 110 hurdles for three-straight seasons at Greenville.
"Jordan Pitts has a huge upside and brings something to TCU that we haven't had on the men's side in a high hurdler. Eventually he is going to be one of the top performers in the Mountain West and a regional qualifier. He has had some tough luck this fall with twisting his ankle, but all in all he is going to be good for us at the conference level immediately. He has done well dealing with the adjustment in the size of hurdle from high school to college, but because of his ankle problems the past couple of weeks his practice time has been skewed. We are looking forward to see where he ends up throughout the course of the year," said Anderson.
Jay Cooper comes into his senior indoor season having set personal bests in 60 meters and 200 meters during last winter. Cooper posted a time of 6.89 in the preliminaries of the 60 meters at the MWC Indoor Championships, while also notching a personal-record time of 21.98 to place sixth in the 200 at the championships.
"Jay Cooper is a returning senior and has had an outstanding fall. He has done a great job in the weight room this fall and really done well on the track. Throughout his career he has been injury prone, but they have been non-existent this fall, which is nice to see. Hopefully, he can realize his potential this year because he has a ton of potential if we can keep him healthy," said Anderson.
Tommy Killen redshirted last season after qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the discus his freshman season. Killen, who will throw the shot for the Horned Frogs this winter, recorded the longest discus throw in the nation by a freshman in 2006. As a freshman, he placed seventh in the shot at the MWC Outdoor Championships.
"Tommy Killen is one of the faces of the program. We expect him outdoors to be a 200 feet discus thrower. He is going to throw the shot indoors and he'll be a conference level guy for us. We are excited to see how he does this indoor season with the shot," said Anderson.
Che Chavez redshirted during the indoor season last winter after being a part of the 4x400 relay team that won the MWC Indoor title and placed second at the NCAA Championships with a time of 3:02.12 in 2006. That same year, he was also a member of the distance medley relay team that placed second at the MWC Indoor Championships with a time of 10:02.91. Individually, Chavez placed fourth in the 400 meters at the MWC Indoor Championships in 2006.
"Che Chavez is coming off of a year in which he had some back problems, but there have been no signs of back problems this fall. Overall, he has had a good fall and we are elated to have him back. He will be an major part of our 4x4 crew as we round this thing together and try and make a run at being one of the better teams in our conference and nationally. Finally, we are hoping by the end of June that he can be a 45 second quarter miler because he has that kind of ability," said Anderson.
Andon Mitchell comes to TCU following an All-American career at Central Arizona.
"Andon Mitchell is a junior college transfer that did exceptionally well in the classroom this first semester. He will be a huge compliment on the track to Otis McDaniel, Justyn Warner and the rest of the short sprinters. He goes above and beyond the call of duty of taking care of himself and being where he is supposed to be. He is a model student-athlete and an exceptional starter out of the blocks. We are really excited about what he brings to the table in the 60 and 200 indoors. He will also be a integral part of our 4x100 relay team," said Anderson.
Sean Zurko could make an immediate impact for TCU this indoor season after closing a successful career at Silverado High School in Las Vegas, Nev. Zurko, who was a three-time state champion in the 800 meters, was a member of the 4x800 state championship team three-straight years. He finished first at the Mt. Sac in the 800 meters, while posting a personal best mark of 1:51.03.
"Sean Zurko brings a huge presence to the 800 meters for us. He was one of the top-15 800-meter runners in the country coming out of high school so we expect big things from him. We kind of missed having a guy in the 800 meters last year after having Jackson Langat win the National Championship in 2006. We feel he will be a conference scorer and lend us a hand in the 4x400. He is a quality person and a tenacious competitor. Overall, he has been very competitive in his training and once he learns race management he could blossom into something special for us in the 800," said Anderson.