Track and field wraparound: 2023 Big 12 indoor championships

Senior transfer from Ohio State Donnie James runs the 200 meters and 400 meters for the Horned Frogs in indoor track and field season. (photo courtesy of:

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

TCU’s track and field team will travel to Lubbock to compete in the Big 12 conference championships on Friday Feb. 24 and Saturday Feb. 25.

Last year, the men’s and women’s teams finished in ninth place.

The Frogs are under new direction this season, with Director of Track and Field Khadevis Robinson hired as a head coach.

He was the head coach for cross country during the fall. Robinson and the runners shifted their outlook to the oval in the spring semester, but his approach as a new coach remained the same.

“Right now it’s about getting the culture going and getting the expectations up,” said Robinson.

Who to watch: distance

It’s debated whether the 800 meters and the mile are long-distance races, mid-distance races or sprints. For today, we’ll look at them as distance events.

On the women’s side, Gracie Morris has been an interesting story on her own. She went to high school in Aledo, about 20 miles from TCU’s campus, and committed to run for Texas. She transferred to TCU to focus on getting healthy after getting held back by injuries during her time in Austin and to focus on her mental health.

Morris stayed healthy, finishing fourth in the mile at the 2022 Big 12 Conference indoor championships. She ran a time of 4:40, setting a new school record. Oh, and it was her first race as a Frog.



She missed out on indoor nationals, but was able to qualify for outdoor nationals later in the year. She finished 22nd in the preliminary rounds, failing to make it to the finals.

After cross season, Morris said she had her eyes set on the track.

“Last year went really well and I’m hoping to be able to place at NCAAs this year and get a [Distance Medley Relay] team to nationals,” she said.

The Frogs put together a DMR in 2021 that clocked a 12:04, which was good for the sixth spot on the indoor record list. Last year, the winner at the 2021 indoor national meet ran a 10:51.

Morris holds the third best indoor 3,000 meters time and the top indoor mile time in school history.

London Culbreath is another name to watch on the distance squad. She, like Morris, went to high school in the DFW metroplex before going to a blue-blood distance school. Culbreath graduated from McKinney North High School before committing to run at Arkansas.

She transferred to TCU, starting in the fall. She didn’t compete in cross season, so she made her Horned Frog debut this track season.



Culbreath ran a 2:57 1,000 meters time, which put her fourth on the all-time indoor record list.

Following the same post, Mariana Martinez sneaks in as an honorable mention  because of her progress throughout the last few seasons. Coming into this season, she has the ninth best indoor mile time for TCU and the 10th best indoor 1,000 meters and 3,000 meters times in school history.

Jasmin Muhammad-Graham is also another high performer, specifically in the 800. She ran a 2:08.73 in 2022 that was good for a second-best time in TCU history. She was shy of the No. 1 spot by .19 of a second.

On the men’s side, the biggest story is Morris’ brother, Graydon. A semester after Gracie Morris transferred from Texas, her brother Graydon followed suit. He didn’t run during cross season due to an injury, but he made his Horned Frog debut earlier this track season.

Graydon Morris has already put himself in the fourth spot on the school record board for the indoor 3,000 meters with a time of 8:18 and 5,000 meters with a 14:19.



Moving closer to middle-distance, Ryan Martin is into his junior season with his name already set in the top-10 indoor record board. In 2021, he ran a 4:15 mile, which was good for the eighth best time in school history. This season, he has notched the No. 2 spot in the 1,000 meters with a time of 2:23 and the No. 8 spot in the 800 meters with a 1:53. Both events are for indoor season.



Who to watch: sprints

Last season, TCU dominated the 200 meter race. Two Frogs qualified for the indoor national meet; Tinotenda Matiyenga and Robert Gregory. They qualified individually for outdoor nationals last season, also and qualified with two other Frogs in the 4×100 meter relay. They finished in seventh at outdoor nationals last season.

On the 200 meters indoor record board, Gregory is tied in the No. 2 spot with Sam Watts and TCU legend Ronnie Baker. They all had a time of 20.60 seconds. Matiyenga holds the No. 5 spot with a time of 20.69.

This year, the Frogs will be without both. Matiyenga graduated and Gregory transferred to Florida.

This year, there are a host of new names to look at on the men’s side.

Graduate-transfer Gregory Sholars will be taking on the 6o meters and the 200 meters. Sholars transferred from Princeton, where he was a part of the 4×100 meter relay team that broke the Ivy League record.



Sticking with transfer students, senior Donnie James came over from Ohio State. He’ll be competing in the 200 meters and the 400 meters. James has an indoor personal best of 21.46 seconds, which puts him about one second away from the TCU top 10. His 400 meter time is 47.65 seconds, which is about .50 seconds away from TCU’s top 10.

Finally, freshman Emmanuel Ekong will be one to look for. In his first season at TCU, he’s running the 200 meters in the conference championship meet. Ekong won a bronze medal in the 2021 Junior Olympics while in high school at North Crowley.

On the women’s side, sophomore Iyana Gray will see action in the 60 meters and the 200 meters.

Transferring from UT-Arlington, Gray already set the third best indoor 200 meter time in school history with a time of 23.42 seconds. She is also tied for the No. 3 spot for the 60 meters with a time of 7.32 seconds.



Texas A&M-transfer Rachel Hall will follow along with Gray in the 60 meters and the 200 meters in the conference championship.



Hall’s personal best in the 60 meters is 7.49, which lands her .03 seconds away from the 10th best time in school history. Her 23.75 second personal best in the indoor 200 meters would land her in the No. 6 spot in the top 10 times in school history, if she can hit that mark again.

Who to watch: jumps/throws

One Horned Frog is returning from the group of Frogs that competed in the 2022 indoor national championships.

Graduate Grace Anigbata will compete in the triple jump at the conference meet. She sits atop the school record board in the event with a jump of 13.48 meters.

Last year at the indoor conference meet, she finished fourth with a jump of 13.13 meters. At indoor nationals, she jumped an 11.08 for 15th place. It was well under her normal distance, so another good conference meet performance can set her up for some redemption at the 2023 national meet.



TCU’s Kasey Staley was the star of the pole vault scene last year, notching the school record with a vault of 4.27 meters. That personal best was good for fourth place at last year’s indoor conference meet, but she failed to qualify for nationals because of what she called the “intense competition” of vaulting in the Big 12.

Now, freshman Quinn Calhoun is set to take on the challenge. She set a personal best of 4.11 meters, grabbing the No. 2 spot on the school leaderboard.




On the men’s side, a pair of Horned Frogs have burst on the long jump scene.

Graduate jumper Patrick Sylla, who transferred from Haewood College, stands in the No. 9 spot on the all-time leaderboard for TCU with a jump of 7.37 meters in 2019. Last year at the indoor conference championships, he finished 13th with a jump of 6.91 meters.

Senior transfer Jaren Holmes came over from North Carolina. He has a personal best of 7.35 meters in the long jump, which would put him .01 meters away from the No. 10 spot on the TCU leaderboard.




Holmes also competes in the triple jump. He set a personal best earlier this season with a jump of 16.28 meters. That put him into the No. 4 spot on the all-time leaderboard.



The events for the Big 12 Conference Championship meet will last all day on Friday and most running finals will happen on Saturday.