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Track & Field gets new faces

TCU track and field signed 10 athletes (six women, four men) to the program Wednesday.

Orlene Parris, an Arlington native, and Megan Smith, an Olathe Kan. product, will join the team next season. Pariss will be the only current high jumper on the roster. Pariss won the 5A state championship last season and is the sixth-ranked senior in the nation.

Smith is a two-time all-state in both shot put and discus. Smith won a 6A state championship in the shot put last season, good enough to rank her the fifth-best senior shot putter. With a top throw of 146′-1″ in the discus, Smith is also considered the No. 12 discus thrower in the country.

The Frogs also added three other Texas athletes who will run the 400 meters for the women’s side. Neferteria Hall (Spring), Ashley Collins (Houston) and Ashle Caldwell (Sugarland) all hail from the Houston area.

“Ashley Collins was fifth in the Texas state meet last year,” head track and field coach Darryl Anderson said in a TCU Athletics release. “She is really young at 16 years old, but a great looking athlete from a physical standpoint. She’s very determined and we feel the same with her as we do with Ashle Caldwell and Neferteria Hall, because we feel like we’ve really done a good job in bringing in long sprinters that have good enough speed that they can drop down and run in the 200 meters and help us in the 4×100 relay.”

TCU also signed Cleveland, Ohio native Candace Longino-Thomas, who won three state medals at Gilmour Academy.

“We are very excited to have Candace Longino-Thomas decide to come to TCU from Cleveland, Ohio,” Anderson stated in the release. “She was an Ohio state champion as a 10th grader, but was hurt last season, so she didn’t have the chance to compete in the state meet as a junior. At the end of the day, she is one of the top sprinters in the Midwest and one of the top returning senior sprinters in the country. We feel real good about the range of events that she can run. She can compete in the 100 and 200 meters, the 4×400 and 4×100 relays and she’s a really competitive girl that we are happy to have in our program.”

The men’s team signed Lavon Collins, son of TCU Letterman’s Hall of Famer Bill Collins. Lavon, who is already on campus and competing in the spring, will add immediate relief from 400-meters, 400-hurdles, 4×400 relay and possibly the 4×100 relay, Anderson said.

Collins is currently joined on campus this spring by Narada Jackson, a junior champion in 400 meters and senior champion in 100 meters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“It’s great to add guys like Lavon and Narada’s caliber and character to our program this semester,” Anderson said. “They are working hard in the classroom and going through the growing pains of adjusting on campus and they are excited to be here.

Joshua Washington (Crowley) and Tyler Sergent (Norman, Okla.) will join the men’s team in the fall. Washington holds the nation’s second-fastest time in the 400 meters indoors at 48.09 this season and is the No. 5 returning senior in the nation.

Sergent is ranked 10th in the country with a shot put mark of 59′-11.75″ and was the 2010 AAu National Shot Put Champion as well as a 6A all-state member in shot put and discus.

“We are really excited to add Tyler to our program,” Anderson said. “We’ll see how much farther he throws this year, but we expect him to come in and be a conference-level guy for us right off the bat. Tyler and the rest of this class is really going to prepare us as we move forward into the Big East.”

TCU track and field will continue competition at the Tyson Invitational Feb. 11-12.

What: Tyson Invitational

Where: Fayetteville, Ark.

When: Friday and Saturday

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TCU will resume its indoor season this week at the Tyson Invitational, Feb. 11-12.

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