TCU's Frater and Edwards Earn All-America Honors
Michael Frater, Aundre Edwards and both the men’s and women’s 4x100 meter relay squads earned all-America honors as the third day of the 2003 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships came to a close Friday at the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus.
Frater was the Frogs’ top finisher of the day, placing third in the finals of the 100 meter dash. The junior from Fort Lauderdale, Florida logged a time of 10.36 seconds to better his fourth place finish of a year ago. Frater got out of the blocks slowly and trailed the field through much of the first half of the race before finishing strong. Middle Tennessee State’s Mardy Scales won the event in 10.25, while Mississippi State’s Pierre Browne was second in 10.34. Two of the pre-race favorites, DaBryan Blanton of Oklahoma and Marquis Davis of Mississippi State false started and were eliminated from the competition, leaving the finals with just a seven-man field.
“This one really hurts,” said an obviously disappointed Frater. “I started to relax too much (after the two false starts), but I didn’t think I lost my focus. I just have to go back and work on it again next year.”
Aundre Edwards also improved one spot on his finish at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, taking fourth place in this season’s long jump competition after finishing fifth a year ago. The junior from Kingston, Jamaica found himself in a little trouble after fouling on his first two attempts, but came up with a jump of 7.77 meters on his third attempt to move into sixth place and earn three more jumps. After fouling again on his fourth attempt, Edwards hit his best jump of the meet, soaring 7.90 meters (25-11.00) to settle into fourth. Auburn’s Leevan Sands (8.05m), South Carolina’s Tony Allmond (8.02m) and LSU’s John Moffitt (8.00m) took the top three spots, as each of the top six finishers were juniors.
Both TCU men’s and women’s 4x100 meter relay teams turned in sixth place performances. In the women’s race, the quartet of La’ Toya White, Donita Harmon, Kandis Bell and Monica Twum circled the track in 43.67 seconds, three-tenths off their school record time of 43.37 set in Thursday’s prelims. LSU won the race in a time of 42.55.
“I’m proud of our team,” said Twum, the lone senior of the group. “We ran hard, but our handoffs weren’t the best. We still ran under 44 seconds and scared some people.”
“It looked good from where I was,” said White, who gave her team an early lead. “This is a young team (with two freshmen and a sophomore). We ran 43.37 in the prelims, so we know we can do it. We’ll be back next year.”
As has been the case with the men’s 4x1 all season, a hamstring injury played a key role in determining the Frogs’ fortunes. Leadoff runner Tyrone Sanders’ right hamstring tightened up at about the 90 meter mark and second runner Cleavon Dillon had to break stride to grab the baton, costing the unit valuable time. A valiant effort from Jerry Harris on the third leg and Frater on the anchor allowed the Frogs to complete the circuit in 39.97 seconds, well off their prelim time of 39.13. Sanders was running in place of Jabari Fields, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered in the prelims of the 100 meter dash.
“I’m proud of our guys,” said Harris. “We had a lot of injuries this year and nobody expected us to get to the finals. We’ll all be back next year.” Sanders, Harris, Frater and Fields are all juniors, while Dillon is just a sophomore.
In the only semifinal round involving a TCU athlete conducted on Friday, Brandon Simpson continued his run for redemption by crossing the finish line in the 400 meter dash in a time of 45.34 to finish fourth in his heat and seventh overall, advancing to Saturday’s finals. The junior from Kingston, Jamaica reached the national finals in the event last year in Baton Rouge while competing for George Mason University, only to be disqualified when he was charged with a false start. He also is within striking distance of the TCU school record of 45.14, set by Michael Cannon in 1985.
The Frogs return to the track in Saturday evening final session with three runners competing for titles. In addition to Simpson in the 400 meters, Jackson Langat will vie for the 800 meter crown and freshman Donita Harmon will challenge for the women’s 200 meter championship. Langat finished sixth at the distance during the indoor season.