Chengetayi "Du" Mapaya will contend for the national title in outdoor triple jump in Eugene, OR. (Courtesy: gofrogs.com)
print

Every second counted when TCU’s best track and field athletes competed at the West Regional championships. Ten athletes took advantage of the opportunity to punch their ticket to Eugene, Oregon.

Eugene will play host to the four-day outdoor track and field national championship, starting on June 8th.  

Senior Chengetayi “Du” Mapaya has highlighted TCU track and field, consistently finishing on the podium throughout the season for the triple jump. He continued his streak by winning the Big 12 championship and the West Regional championship. 

The latter performance secured his spot in Eugene, where he is the favorite to win in the triple jump.

Junior Jaren Holmes also qualified in the triple jump, finishing 12th with a jump of 15.88 meters. Holmes transferred to TCU after competing for the University of North Carolina during the 2021 season.  

On the women’s side of the triple jump, senior Grace Anigbata broke the school record with a jump of 13.48 meters. This jump put her in sixth place and qualified her for the national championships. 

In pole vault, graduate-student Kasey Staley finished fifth with a vault of 4.21 meters. Staley hoped to reach indoor nationals earlier this year, but missed out by a few meters. 

She came back with a vengeance in the outdoor season and will represent TCU in the pole vault in Eugene. 

Staley and Anigbata both hold school records in their respective events. So does sophomore Gracie Morris, a middle-distance runner who transferred from Texas before track season began. 

Morris broke the school record for the 1500m at the Tom Jones Invitational with a time of 4:14.59. At the West Regional meet, she ran a 4:19.50, which was enough to get a sixth place finish and secure her spot at the National Championship.

Gracie Morris competes at the Big 12 championships in order to make it to the West Regional championships. (courtesy of: go frogs.com)

Morris dealt with injuries throughout her tenure at UT before coming back to DFW. She has already had a huge impact on the distance squad and can now add ‘national qualifier’ to her impressive resume.

The men’s relay teams dominated the competition throughout the indoor and outdoor season, consistently finishing on the podium. Now, they have the chance to stand on the podium of a national championship.

The 4x400m relay consisted of senior Kundai Maguranyanga, first-year Simbarashe Miketa, sophomore Robert Gregory Jr. and senior Tinotenda Matiyenga. 

The 4x100m relay consisted of sophomore Bryson Stubblefield, Matiyenga, Maguranyanga and Gregory. With only one difference between the two relay teams, the chemistry between the runners has made them a force to be reckoned with. 

The 4x400m relay finished second with a time of 3:02.17, which puts them about two seconds behind the top-seeded team from the University of Texas. The 4x100m relay finished seventh with a time of 38.89 seconds, giving them the tenth seed despite being just .38 seconds behind top-seeded Florida State University. 

Individually, Gregory and Matiyenga qualified in the 200m dash. Gregory ran a time of 20.10 seconds for a seventh place finish and Matiyenga 20.61 seconds for 12th place. Gregory and Matiytenga come in as the ninth and 21st seeds, respectively. Everyone in the field will be chasing the first seed Joseph Fahnbulleh out of Florida, who has a seed-time of 19.85 seconds. 

At the national championship last year, TCU sent just one athlete from the women’s side. Brittany Brown was a senior who finished 21st in the 110m hurdles preliminaries, but her time of 13.53 seconds failed to send her to the finals. 

On the men’s side, TCU sent some faces that are familiar to those making the trip this year. 

Mapaya brought home the bronze in the triple jump at nationals last year, jumping 16.74 meters. The winner jumped 17.14 meters, which is .01 meters farther than his personal best and the school record. Mapaya is projected to win the national title, but he could also break his own school record while he’s doing it.

Chengetayi “Du” Mapaya took home the bronze in the triple jump last year at the outdoor track and field national championship. This year, he is projected to earn the gold.

Chengetayi “Du” Mapaya took home the bronze in the triple jump last year at the outdoor track and field national championship. This year, he is projected to earn the gold.

Gregory is looking to return to the finals, where he placed eighth last year. Matiyenga completed the 200m duo this year and competed alongside Gregory last year, as well. However, he finished 12th in the preliminaries last year and failed to make the final. 

The duo ran with Maguranyanga last year, as well, in the 4x100m relay. However, Stubblefield, nicknamed “Stubbs” by his coaches and teammates, replaced TJ Brock Jr. The squad finished 11th in the preliminaries, falling short of the finals.

Gregory is the only remaining member of the 2021 4x400m relay team who made it to Eugene. That team consisted of David Seete, Derrick Mokaleng, and Glenn Bender in addition to Gregory. Despite them holding the tenth best time in school history, they were unable to advance to the finals due to a disqualification. 

However, both relay teams have shown that they are some of the best squads to come through the program. The 4x100m posted the fourth best time in school history with a 38.50 and the 4x400m posted the third best time with a 3:02.26. Both times came in the 2022 season. 

The TCU men’s team finished the season ranked 23rd in the nation. Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma all joined them in the top 25. The D1 Outdoor Track and Field National Championships will happen from June 8th to June 11th in Eugene, Oregon. Click here for complete coverage, including live results.

+ posts