Lorraine Ugen didn’t know about TCU a few years ago, but now the sophomore jumper from London is gaining recognition as a university track athlete.
“I actually didn’t know about TCU before they started recruiting me; I just YouTubed them, Googled them and they looked pretty good,” the film, television and digital media major said.
The university is becoming more well-known now, especially nationally. Ugen said people used to ask what the university was and now they know who the Horned Frogs are.
“The program looked really good and they already had good jumpers like Whitney [Gipson] before I came and I thought this looks like the program for me, so I decided to come here,” Ugen said.
She said her decision has been good so far.
Since coming to the university, Ugen became an Olympic Trials Qualifier and only missed qualifying by one centimeter.
“It was a really good experience and the crowd was really behind me,” Ugen said. “It was difficult because obviously I missed out by one centimeter and that’s really close.”
She said missing the mark was difficult, but the Olympics were “fantastic and electric.”
“I loved it because you could see the crowd was really involved and pushing people to really compete well. You could see everyone was excited to wear their country’s colors and cheer everyone on,” Ugen said.
In 2016, Ugen said she hopes to be a lot further over the qualifying mark. She has new jumps coach Shawn Jackson and former Horned Frog Whitney Gipson to help her now.
Although Ugen said she was unsure about the coach switch at first, now things are better. Jackson coached athletes from other schools who made the U.S. Olympic Trials and Ugen wants him to help her make the British team.
“The relationship is good, you can laugh or joke with him basically and be serious when you need to be serious, and get the sessions that we need to do,” Ugen said.
Gipson, who graduated last year, helped Ugen decide to come to the university. Ugen said she was impressed with how Gipson improved and progressed each year.
They also motivated each other by competing.
“Last year we were able to train together, push each other, just have someone to compete with all the time,” Ugen said.
Although Gipson doesn’t compete for the university anymore, Ugen said they still help each other when they practice together.
Ugen said the incoming class of track athletes will help her and the track team, too.
“The level of the new athletes coming in is definitely going to be higher, and we’ll have the opportunity to excel to even better levels,” Ugen said.
She said when she is a senior the team will be “really good” and her goal by then is to become the NCAA Champion. She will have a chance to do that next week at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Ugen got injured in the first competition of the season, but said she is getting better just in time.
“I know it was disappointing to get injured in the middle of the season, but I just tried to stay positive and do as much as I can,” Ugen said.
The NCAA Championships will be at the University of Arkansas on March 8 and 9. After that, she said she is ready for the outdoor track season.