Confidence is key to track and field success in 2012

The TCU Track & Field team has high aspirations for 2012.

“We want to be in the top 20 nationally,” TCU Track & Field head coach Darryl Anderson said.

At the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the university’s women’s team finished thirteenth. However, the men’s team did not finish in the top 20 at the NCAA Championships.

Those scores did not satisfy Anderson’s expectations, he said.

“We could have been better,” Anderson said.

Junior sprinter Charles Silmon said he felt almost the same way his coach did about the 2011 season.

“I didn’t accomplish anything I wanted to accomplish,” Silmon said.

The team should focus on doing well in Mountain West Conference, Anderson said. He hoped to have both the men’s and women’s teams win the conference in 2012.

While the team is in a position to accomplish that goal, they have lost a great deal of talent from the 2011 team. Gone are All-American women’s sprinter Jessica Young, All-American men’s sprinter Mychal Dungey and All-American Kristal Juarez.

The talent coming into TCU has to focus and make an effort this season to replace these players, Anderson said. Four young athletes in particular have to take a bigger role in the program.

On the men’s side, freshman sprinter Joshua Washington and freshman jumper Ramone Bailey need to have a strong season, Anderson said. Meanwhile, freshman jumper Lorraine Ugen and sophomore Samantha Collins have to contribute on the women’s side.

According to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association rankings, Ugen is already in the top 20 in the country as a high jumper.

But veterans like Silmon and senior jumper and sprinter Whitney Gipson would be the most visible representatives of the program, Anderson said. Both of them have to be better leaders.

“I have to keep improving,” Gipson said.

Another athlete that needs to be in good form in 2012 is junior hurdler and sprinter Larissa Matthews, Anderson said. She is coming off a season lost to injury, and should be ready for hurdling events this season, he said.

The relay teams will help TCU reach the next level, Anderson said.

The next meet of 2012 for the team is the Razorback Invitational Jan. 27-28 in Fayetteville, Ark.