Jan. 16, 2010
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Senior middle distance runner Chris Gowell broke the school record in the 1,000 meters, while freshman Skylar White broke the BU shot put record at the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium in College Station, Texas.
Overall, Baylor’s men placed second as a team with 96.33 points, behind Texas A&M’s 131.5. On the women’s side Baylor was third with 77 points behind Texas A&M’s 126 and Oklahoma’s 115.
“It was a very solid opener and we got lots of good things accomplished,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “You never know quite where you are the first meet after Christmas break, and we discovered that some came back in good shape and others had some rust. But, we will get that accomplished next week.”
In the men’s 1,000m, Gowell led the way, taking over the race after 600 meters to finish with a new Baylor school record of 2:22.38. The senior from Wales also broke the Texas A&M Invitational meet record and Gilliam Track Stadium record set by Texas’ Patrick Todd in 2009. Two newcomers to Baylor each showed their promise behind Gowell. Freshman Gavyn Nero finished second with a time of 2:26.32, while freshman Tyler Stewart placed fifth with a time of 2:28.10. All three Baylor athletes set a new personal best in the race.
Matching Gowell’s feat, Skylar White turned in her own school-record performance, breaking the record she set earlier this season in the shot put with a fifth-place toss of 48-6.25.
“Skylar and Chris’s school records were definitely a highlight,” Harbour said. “I thought our men’s and women’s sprinters ran well today, with Trey and Tiffany, as well as Courtney and Whitney. We had a lot of personal bests. But we still have some things to improve on.”
Baylor’s men continued their traditional dominance in the 4x400-meter relay with Zwede Hewitt anchoring the team to a win with a provisional qualifying time of 3:08.50. Sophomore speedster Trey Harts led off the race for BU before giving way to Marcus Boyd and J.T. Scheuerman. The women’s 4x400-meter relay team place second with a time of 3:43.27 from Brittany Bruce, Tiffany Townsend, Tiana Hood, and anchor Diamond Richardson.
Townsend, just a shade behind her personal best of 7.32 and the BU school record by Lakadron Ivery of 7.31, finished first in the finals of the women’s 60 meters with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7.36.
In the men’s sprints, Trey Harts missed a provisional qualification by just .01 seconds in the seeded section of the 60-meter dash, placing third with a time of 6.72. Courtney Thomas placed fifth at 60 meters (6.79) and seventh at 200 meters (21.41), while teammate Whitney Prevost was fifth at 200 meters (21.25) and seventh at 60 meters (6.84).
Baylor’s women nearly equaled the men’s feat in the 1,000 meters with Cate Westenhover leading the way for a second-place finish with a time of 2:51.17. Westenhover, along with Leigh Ann Ganzar’s third-place time of 2:54.85, each broke the previous meet record of 2:56.43 by Miami’s Janet Price.
The middle distance crew on the women’s side continued its solid day with Kathryn Benvegnu and Ivorie Walker grabbing second and third at 800 meters. Benvegnu ran a 2:16.87, while Walker finished the half-mile in 2:18.24. Kristen Hanselka also turned in a top-five finish in the middle distances with a time of 5:16.25 in the mile.
In the men’s 800 meters, James Gilreath kicked off his season with a third-place finish and a time of 1:52.30. Meanwhile, in the 400 meters, Michael Liggins raced his way to a seventh-place finish with a time of 47.31.
Senior Nichole Jones placed fifth in the women’s 3000 meters with a time of 10:02.14, while Brandon Reed finished second in the men’s 3000 meters with a time of 8:30.43 and Jeff Sadler was fourth in 8:33.63.
In the field events for Baylor, newcomer Dess Meek finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 18-09.75, while Jessica Ubanyionwu registered a fifth-place triple jump finish with a leap of 40-0.
Baylor will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., next weekend for the two-day Razorback invitational on Jan. 22-23 in the Tyson Events Center.