Championship in sight for track and field

Track and field head coach Darryl Anderson knows all teams are not created equal. His expectations for the men’s and women’s squads are different, but Anderson still believes there is championship-talent on both teams.

“On the women’s side, it’s going to be a work in progress, because we just added three girls at semester…And we feel really good about all three of them, but it’s going to take them some time to really get their legs underneath them,” Anderson said.

The Flyin’ Frogs season began with the Texas A&M Reveille Invitational on Dec. 12. Freshman Charles Silmon led the team with the 8th-best finish in school history in the men’s 60-meters, on the way to TCU winning four events and breaking 12 previous meet records. Another freshman, Cameron Tabor, finished third overall in the men’s weight throw while setting a school record. He followed that by winning the men’s shot put with a meet-record throw of 55 feet, 7 inches.

Anderson has been impressed with Tabor so far.

“He was one of the top high school discuss/shot guys in the country last year,” Anderson said. “He’s just a tough, hard-nosed, competitive kid, and he’s got great work ethic. And those are the things you need if you’re going to be good in that event.”

Not to be outdone, junior Stormy Harrison won the women’s shot put with a meet-record throw of her own.

The women also scored big in the long jump, led by 2009 All-Americans sophomore Whitney Gibson and senior Neidra Covington. They finished first and second, respectively, in the event.

“I thought (the meet) went really well,” Anderson said. “We had pretty good performances, obviously from (Gibson and Silmon.) They got Mountain West Athletes of the Week because of those performances, so we were quite pleased with that.”

The men’s 4×400 relay team also finished second in the Reveille Invitational, but Anderson has high expectations for that team.
“So far, so good,” Anderson said. “We’re wanting to secure ourselves a spot in the National Championship Meet. We’ve got a ways to go, but we’ve run as fast as we ran last year in March, already (this) January.I feel good about that team.”

The 4×400 relay team has seven men to choose from for their competition team, and all seven have NCAA National Championship meet experience, Anderson said.

The Frogs returned to action Jan. 16, once again in College Station. This time, the Frog men placed fourth overall in the Texas A&M Invitational led by Tabor and senior Festus Kigen, while the women placed sixth.
Kigen in particular dominated the men’s 3,000 meters with a time of 8:09.92. The time set a new meet record and was the fourth best time in TCU’s history.

“(Kigen) is starting to get to (his talent and upside) now,” Anderson said. “His training over the fall had been great. He’s done things in the fall he hadn’t been able to do in the past. He’s healthy again, and we’re starting to reap the benefits from all that.”

Most recently, the team traveled to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Razorback Invitational to see more of the same. The men’s 4×400 quartet of seniors Dell Guy and Clemore Henry and juniors Mychal Dungey and Matthew Love clocked their season-best time of 3:07.59, while Kigen lowered his personal best on the 3,000 meters to 8:00.16.

Anderson said he is still waiting for the teams to get up to full speed, but he has liked their progress so far. In particular, he was impressed with freshman Chaniqua Corinealdi, who graduated from high school early last December and is already competing.

“This is a totally eye-opening experience for (Corinealdi),” Anderson said. “She gets off the bus, and she’s in college now, and she’s competing against college competition. And competition in college compared to high school is night and day.”

This weekend, the Flyin’ Frogs will close out the month in the New Mexico Invitational before returning to Fayetteville on Feb. 12-13 for the Tyson Invitational. After that, the team will compete in the Mountain West Indoor Championships Feb. 25-27. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be held Mar. 12-13.

Among the other highlights for the season should be the Horned Frog Invitational, held at TCU Mar. 19-20, and the Mountain West Outdoor Championships May 13-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Anderson hopes the test his team has faced early this season will lead to championship results.

“We’ve had three really competitive meets so far,” Anderson said. “You go in to Big 12 country, then you roll in to SEC country, so we’ve really jumped out the gate and competed in meets that are a very high level as far as competition is concerned.”

He said the team has reasons to be confident.

“We have really high expectations with this team,” Anderson said. “The women, they’re young, and we’re going to grow them up. And we have a lot of experience on the men’s side, so we’re trying to get out of the gate fast and raise the bar. Because the faster you start, the faster you can finish.”