Junior Whitney Gipson highlighted the opening day of action for the TCU track and field programs on a day that saw wet weather and cold temperatures at the NCAA West Preliminary. The Horned Frogs had seven athletes advance into the next round of their respective events at Hayward Field Thursday on the campus of the University of Oregon.
“Whitney came in a she did exactly what she needed to do,” TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. “She had the best jump of the day for the whole field and her main objective was to finish in the top-12 and move onto the NCAA Championships in Des Moines. She did that on a cold and rainy day and now she can move forward.”
Gipson earned her spot in the NCAA Championship long jump finals after leading all qualifiers with a top mark of 21-0 1Ž2 feet. The Newark, Texas native is one of 24 finalists that will compete for a national crown at Drake Stadium, June 8-11, in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Jessica Young turned in the top time in the qualifying in the 100 meters, while Charles Silmon and Mark Barnes also advanced on the men’s side. Now they will have to move from the top-24 into the top-12 tomorrow. We also had Matt Love and Mychal Dungey move into the 400-meter quarterfinals, as well as Jack O’Brien in the 800 meters. We just need to come out tomorrow and run well so we can continue to move forward.”
Senior Jessica Young paced all 100-meter entries on the women’s side, clocking in at 11.21 to win the fifth heat. Her time was the fastest since running her seasonal-best 11.12 at Texas Relays. The Columbia, S.C., native pushed herself through the Friday’s quarterfinals, looking the make the top-12 that advance to the NCAA semifinals.
On the men’s side, sophomore Charles Silmon claimed first-place honors in the sixth heat of the 100 meters, breaking the finishline with the third-best time of the afternoon at 10.29. Junior Mark Barnesfollowed at 10.49 to also move into the men’s 100-meter quarterfinals.
Junior Jack O’Brien also won his heat in the men’s 800 meters, pacing the field with a time of 1:50.23 to move into Friday’s quarters. In the 400 meters, Matt Love (47.19) and Mychal Dungey (47.26) got their work in and qualified for the quarterfinals.
From the infield, sophomore Kelsey Samuels just missed her qualifying mark, finishing 16th overall, while senior Stormy Harrison finished her career with a seasonal-best toss to claim 17th place.