Day one of the NCAA Track & Field Finals in Des Moines, Iowa belonged to junior Whitney Gipson, who finished fourth overall in the women’s long jump with a mark of 21 feet and four inches. In doing so, Gibson earned the third All-American distinction of her career and became the highest long jump finisher in TCU history.
“We are all obviously pleased with Whitney getting fourth place,” TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. “We thought she could do better, but when you come to this meet, there are a lot of talented people. Fourth place is her highest finish at an NCAA meet and we are pleased with it. She competed really well and we will take it and move forward.”
In addition, senior Jessica Young ran an 11.31 second 100 in Wednesday’s semifinal, good enough to send her to the finals on Friday.
“We are in kind of a weird situation here in Des Moines because of the wind, and it had rained during portions of the day, so it is really humid and people are starting to cramp up. We are fortunate that none of that affected us. We are excited that Jessica Young advanced into the finals on Friday.”
Young joined sophomore Chaniqua Corinealdi, freshman Veronica Jones and senior Teneshia Peart in the 400-meter relay. The group clocked a seasonal-best time of 44.06 seconds to earn 12th place honors. The squad finished second in their heat.
“I thought the women’s 4×100 ran well in lane one,” Anderson said. “They were third in their heat and competed very well, running 44.06, which was a seasonal best. If they had competed like that all year, we would have been a finals team.”
“We had a period of time during the season where we weren’t doing well for various reasons and I think that the lesson learned there is that you’ve got to have the staying power to last through the nine-month season,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we came in and finished third in our qualifying heat and with a seasonal-best time and that is a positive feeling.”
The only male TCU athlete in Des Moines for the week, sophomore Charles Silmon, turned in a 15th-place performance in the men’s 100-meter semifinals with a time of 10.46. Silmon will have a chance to reach the finals in the men’s 200 meters Thursday.
“Charles and I are both disappointed that he didn’t make the finals in the 100 meters,” Anderson said. “We both thought that he had what it takes to make the final, but we will have to move forward because he’s got the 200 meters tomorrow.”
Silmon and Young will compete in the 200-meter semifinals, while the women’s 1,600-meter relay will look to advance into the finals heat.