TCU sprinter Charles Silmon had been working at finishing races strong for the last year and Friday night it won him the NCAA title in the 100-meter dash.
The senior ran a wind-aided 9.89 at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., to take the gold in one of the final races of his Horned Frogs career. It’s Silmon’s first NCAA title after competing in the NCAA championships all four years.
He finished third in the 60 dash at the NCAA indoor championships in March. A year ago, he placed seventh in the outdoor 100, his best finish until Friday.
“I’ve been working my whole life for this,” Silmon said by phone. “I’ve accomplished one of my goals throughout college. This was my year and I just stayed focused and stayed humble and I was blessed enough to compete for my school and bring the title home to TCU.”
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Silmon finished just ahead of Florida State’s Dentarius Locke (9.91) and Mississippi’s Isiah Young (9.96). He edged out Locke by running full throttle through the finish line, while Locke slowed slightly when he leaned near the finish. Silmon was able to make up for an uncharactistically slow start.
“But he was able to fight back and get to the front,” TCU coach Darryl Anderson said. “It says a lot about him as an athlete that he didn’t have to go his standard way to win a race. He didn’t even lean. It shows a maturity. He was able to go through the phases, work on his body position, and acceleration pattern. He did that today and it paid off.”
Silmon tied the all-conditions school record, held by Ray Stewart, who won TCU’s last 100-meter titles in 1987 and ’89.
Silmon could add to his title collection today. He competes in the 200 and 4x100 relay finals. TCU’s Cameron Parker competes in the triple jump final, and TCU runs in the men’s 4x400 relay final, the last event of the meet at 5:50 p.m. Saturday. TCU sophomore Lorraine Ugen won the women’s NCAA long jump title Wednesday.
Winning the title for Anderson made Silmon feel especially proud.
“It was sort of emotional,” Silmon said of his post-race hugs from Anderson and his mother. “I always wanted to bring it home for him as well. Over four years we’ve become very close. I put my trust in him and this is what he led me to.”
Said Anderson: “Any time you have a champion you feel blessed and you’re happy for them. It was a four-year process. He wanted it immediately [as a freshman], so when you see a kid endure four years to this point, it just makes you feel good and really happy for him.”