TCU runners could close distance on Big 12

Posted Sunday, Jun. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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Moving to the Big 12

Tenth in a 15-part countdown looking at how TCU teams might fare in the Big 12.

Tuesday: Men's and women's swimming and diving

Cross country teams in the Big 12: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, West Virginia

Last five champions

Big 12

Year

Men

Women

2011

Okla. St.

Iowa State

2010

Okla. St.

Texas Tech

2009

Okla. St.

Texas Tech

2008

Okla. St.

Texas Tech

2007

Colorado

Colorado

MWC

Year

Men

Women

2011

N. Mexico

N. Mexico

2010

N. Mexico

N. Mexico

2009

N. Mexico

N. Mexico

2008

BYU

N. Mexico

2007

BYU

Colo. St.

Best in the Big 12

On the men's side, the state of Oklahoma has been dominant. Oklahoma State has won four straight conference championships and placed second at the NCAA national meet. Oklahoma wasn't far behind in sixth place. Iowa State, last year's women's champion, led all Big 12 women's programs with a seventh-place finish at nationals.

Quotable

"We're right in the middle of Big 12 country. Their offices aren't far from us. I think as a whole, we are excited about being included in the conference." -- TCU track and field coach Darryl Anderson

Looking ahead

TCU will compete in its first Big 12 cross country meet this fall.

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TCU track coach Darryl Anderson has a vision for his women's cross country team.

He believes they can be a top-20 program, right in the mix to compete for a conference championship this fall, TCU's first season in the Big 12.

"Our women are trying to elevate and improve," Anderson said.

The TCU cross country teams are coached by Liz Wort, who is entering her second year leading the Frogs. She is also a track and field assistant. Several of TCU's women made giant leaps last year under Wort. Two seasons ago, TCU didn't have a runner on the women's team with a sub-17-minute time at 5 kilometers. Last year three Frogs, Agnes Kemboi, Kelly Dawson and Tricia Terry were under 16:20.

"If we can continue to do the same thing over the next two years, I think we will get to where we want to go," Anderson said.

While Dawson finished her cross country career, Kemboi and Terry, both seniors in cross country this fall, will return to lead the Frogs.

"I think both of them still have a great chance to improve more," Anderson said.

Anderson has lofty goals for Kemboi.

"She should be the face of the cross country team this year," he said. "I hope that she will continue to elevate herself to be a 15-minute 5K runner."

Going into the Big 12, Anderson hopes to bring more top level talent to the TCU women's cross country program.

"I think the big thing will be getting another recruiting class in here, create some depth," Anderson said.

Anderson hopes to see his men's cross country team show progress despite being made up of walk-on athletes.

"It's tough for our men, but we understand what our situation is," Anderson said. "They don't get travel opportunities. They don't get first-rate coaching opportunities."

Instead, the runners get to compete right away, which forces them to develop and adapt to collegiate running quickly. Jack O'Brien, who recently finished his senior season, started as a walk-on with the cross country team and ended up with a partial scholarship.

"We hope we can have some other guys do the same thing," Anderson said. "I think we have some guys who fit that mold. We hope to get the same productivity from them that we got out of Jack."

Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @bshirley08

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