Track and field fares well in annual Texas Relays

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TCU’s track and field teams competed in their second meet of the outdoor season, with several runners placing high in their respective fields.

The Texas Relays came a week removed from last week’s TCU Invitational, and Tarrick Brock, a member of the men’s 4×400 and 100m sprinter, felt the week off was beneficial for a team who has struggled to find good practice weather ahead of the outdoor season.

“Having that week off and finally having some good weather really helped us focus on our game plan and bring everything together so that way we could have a successful Texas Relays meet,” he said.

This four-day meet featured 2,424 athletes from 210 colleges and universities, many of whom are nationally ranked. TCU competed three out of four days.

With the high level of competition, athletes were able to get a look at what can be expected in competitions moving forward in the outdoor season.

“Since it was so competitive and a lot of these people we compete against will be at nationals, we were able to see and get a feel for what outdoor would be like and what competitions would be like moving into outdoor season now,” said long jumper and women’s 4×100 sprinter Destiny Longmire.

Entering the meet ranked second in the Track and Field Results Reporting System (TFFRS) NCAA West Region was Chengetayi Mapaya, who won his opening meet, jumping 15.99m in the triple jump. He improved on this hot start Friday, recording a new personal-best 16.56m jump, the longest of any collegiate athlete to compete.

His jump also marks the second longest jump in school history, coming up only one centimeter short behind the school record holder Scotty Newton, who placed first in the triple jump at the Texas Relays last season.

Three TCU relay teams earned times in the prelims that secured them a spot in the finals.

Despite being ranked behind Kansas State and UNLV in the regional rankings, the 4×400 team consisting of Kennedy Crawford, Lily Beckford, Kiana Banks and Asiah Fields put up a season-best 3:38.90, the fastest time of the day advancing them to the finals. They finished fourth in the finals, even though they took more than a second off their time, running a 3:37.57 relay.

Advancing in the women’s 4×100 were Hope Glenn, Longmire, Jenea Spinks and Teleda Williams, who won their heat and moved onto finals with the sixth fastest time of 45.61. The 12th ranked team in the NCAA West Region got their time down to a 45.13 in the finals, placing fourth overall.

On the men’s side of the 4×100 relay, Lebogang Maloka, Brock, Darrion Flowers and Derrick Mokaleng secured their spot in the finals with a time of 40.22. They improved on this time running a 40.03 in the finals, earning them an eighth-place finish. The team entered the meet ranked seventh in the TFFRS.

Brock, a transfer from USC, is the newest member of the relay team.

“I feel like just another one of the guys,” Brock said. “I can be interchangeable, so I can go wherever they need me, and we can always make it work.”

The men’s 4x400m finals also took place on Saturday, featuring TCU’s No. 5 team in the NCAA West Region. The team, consisting of Jostyn Andrews, Flowers, Tinotenda Matiyenga and Mokaleng, ran a 3:05.78, a time which earned them a third-place finish. They beat Big 12 competitors from Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas.

Patrick Sylla made his college debut, competing in the B-section of the men’s long jump, taking home third in the meet. He recorded a jump of 7.48m.

On the final day of the meet, Brock competed in the men’s 100m dash. Ranking 10th in the TFFRS, Brock ran a 10.21 and recorded a second-place finish at the meet.

While the season is still young, the USC transfer has high goals for his first season as a Horned Frog.

“The goal is to make it to NCAA championships, but we always just take it one race at a time,” he said.

Concluding the meet was Longmire, jumping a personal best 6.34m in the women’s long jump. She finished second among collegiate competitors and third overall in the a-section.

“It motivates me because I’m already PR-ing, so obviously there is more I can do. I’m excited to see what I can get my PR down to,” Longmire said. “Right now I’m just taking it one step at a time, I want to hit 21.”

Following on that goal, Longmire has high expectations not just for herself, but also for the women’s 4×100 relay team.

“I feel like we could go to nationals, so that is a goal we have for each other and also a goal coach has for us,” she said.

In other event action, Fellan McGuigan improved on his season debut by placing 12th in the hammer throw with a mark of 62m. Blake Hennesay ran 53.76 in the men’s 400m hurdles, finishing 26th out of 81 athletes. Lexi Aitken placed 36th out of 83 athletes in the women’s 400m hurdles. Evelyn Mandel closed out the first day placing ninth in the women’s 1500m.

The Horned Frogs will compete again next Saturday at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, AZ.