Gipson Wins Gold To Open 2011 MWC Indoor Championships

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Horned Frog track and field program had a stellar day to begin the 2011 Mountain West Conference Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center Friday. TCU currently sits in fifth place on the women’s side, while ending the day sixth overall for the men.

“We always qualify well and I thought we did it again today,” TCU head coach Darryl Anderson said. “We qualified well on the men’s and women’s side. We have a lot of people returning tomorrow and hopefully we can close the gap and finish strong.”

Junior Whitney Gipson stood out for the Frogs, winning the gold medal in the women’s long jump as she exploded for a mark of 20-4 ¼. The Newark, Texas, native became only the second Frog to win an indoor long jump title, joining 2008 MWC champion, Neidra Covington. Freshman Samantha Collins garnered bronze medal honors after soaring 19 feet, 4 inches.

Richard Knotts also excelled from the infield, earning bronze medal honors in the men’s long jump. The Houston, Texas product launched to the tune of 23-4 in his first jump and that was all he would need to garner third place. Junior Cameron Parker followed with a seasonal-best leap of 23-1 ¼ to take fifth overall.

TCU advanced four athletes into the final eight of the women’s

60 meters. Senior Jessica Young clocked the fastest preliminary time of the day, clocking in at 7.26 seconds. Young’s finish was her sixth NCAA automatic time of the indoor season and snapped the Albuquerque Convention Center record previously held by Carmelita Jeter at 7.28 seconds in 2010. Chaniqua Corinealdi, Franchelle Hill and Teneshia Peart all followed Young with seasonal-best times to reach the 60-meter finals.

Young also paced the field in the women’s 200-meter prelims, earning the top with a time of 23.58. Others Frogs to advance into the finals included Peart (24.33), Corinealdi and freshman Veronica Jones. For the men in the 200 meters, senior Mychal Dungey led the way with a time of 21.20, joining sophomore Charles Silmon (21.57) and OJ Stoneham (21.68) in the finals Saturday.

On the men’s side, the Frogs will send all five qualifiers into the 60-meter finals. Silmon led all competitors with a top preliminary time of 6.74, while Knotts and Stoneham finished back-to-back with times of 6.82 and 6.88 respectively. Dungey and junior Mark Barnes also moved on to Saturday’s finals with identical times of 8.89.

In the women’s 400 meters preliminary heats, the Frogs’ advanced a pair of athletes into Saturday’s finals, as senior Kristal Juarez led all runners with a seasonal-best clocking of 53.89 seconds. Sophomore Quinterra Charles followed with a personal best time of 55.01 seconds to win her heat and place fourth overall.

Sophomore Larissa Matthews qualified for the finals in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, posting the top-preliminary and a seasonal-best time of 8.51 seconds. The Chandler, Ariz., native was the 2010 MWC champion and will look to defend her crown Saturday.

Senior Jordan Pitts did what he had to do to advance into the men’s 60-meter hurdle finals. Pitts has captured MWC gold medal honors in the men’s 60-meter hurdles in each of the last three seasons and will look to become the first athlete to ever win the event in four-straight appearances.
The Frogs closed the day, finishing fourth overall in women’s distance medley with a seasonal-best time of 12:17.29. The unit of Agnes Kemboi, Hayley Shade, Kelly Dawson and Tricia Terry turned in a time that is currently ranked No. 5 all-time in TCU history. On the men’s side, TCU’s quartet of Jeff Pels, Richard Pescrillo, Jack O’Brien and Festus Kigen turned in a time of 10:22.82 to finish sixth overall with the seventh-fastest time in program history.

Other highlights include sophomore Cameron Tabor surpassing his own TCU record toss of 56-4 in the men’s weight throw. Freshman Briyanni Thomas placed ninth overall in the women’s 800 meters prelims, becoming the first TCU female to ever qualify for the finals since joining the MWC in 2005-06.

TCU will return to the track for the finals Saturday, starting with the men’s and women’s 60-meter hurdles. Field action kicks off with women’s shot put and triple jump.

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