COLLEGE STATION, Texas - To close out the season-opening indoor meet, the Baylor track and field team tallied four event titles at the Texas A&M 11-Team Invitational Saturday.
Competing for the second straight day at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium, Baylor's women's squad racked up 78.75 points for a third-place finish, while the men were sixth with 42 points.
The lone school-record on the day was set by pole vaulter Annie Rhodes, who bettered her own previous school-record from 2015 with a vault of 14-3.5 [4.36m] to take the event title. Rhodes passed on the first five heights of the competition and then used only six attempts to clear the next five bars.
After advancing to the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships, junior Maggie Montoya opened her indoor season by winning the mile event title in 4:50.06. The indoor All-American led from the start of the race and finished strong to capture the event crown.
Bryce Grace was a standout for the Bears as he produced an event win in the 60-meter hurdles. He set a PR of 7.86 in the prelims and then won the title in 7.90. The senior rocked back in the starting blocks, but used a strong finish to take the crown at the meet for a second-straight year.
Other contributors for the Baylor men included seniors Richard Gary and Felix Obi. Gary was second in the 400 meters with a time of 47.48, while Obi was the runner-up in the long jump competition with a -best leap of 24-11 [7.59m]. That mark is also ninth-best in school history.
The Lady Bears also picked up big points in the field events. First in the high jump, Jenna Pfeiffer was third in 5-7.75 [1.72m] and Kaylyn Schultz was tied for seventh with a leap of 5-4.25 [1.63m]. In the shot put, Cion Hicks used a personal-best throw of 53-1.5 [16.19m] to place second. Meanwhile in the triple jump, newcomer Rachel Toliver placed third with a mark of 40-10.5 [12.46m], which she carded on her final attempt of the day. Fellow newcomer Danylle Kurywchak tallied a fourth-place finish in the long jump with a leap of 18-6 [5.64m].
Back on the track, the women's team got more points from three underclassmen. Sophomore Kiana Hawn placed fourth in the 400 meters with a personal-best mark of 55.33. Freshmen, Taylor Bennett (7.58) and Kiana Horton (24.20), placed sixth and eighth in the 60 and 200-meter events, respectively. Baylor had two runners place in the 3,000 meters with Peyton Thomas (9:39.83) and Chelsea Orr (10:04.30) taking second and seventh, respectively. Thomas' time was a personal-best by over 20 seconds (9:59.94).
On the men's side in the track events, freshman Caleb Dickson scored for the Bears as he was seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 21.45, while senior Alex Reece also collected a point with an eighth-place finish in the 60-meter dash in 7.07.
TOP QUOTE #1
"It was probably a better quality meet than what we have been to down here in the last couple years. I thought we did a good job. We had some highs and we had some lows. It was pretty much a typical first track meet, but I thought some of the ones we need to compete at a high level as the season progresses started off really well." - head coach Todd Harbour on the meet
TOP QUOTE #2
"Annie was really unbelievable. She made some nice bars and to break an indoor school record already is a big start for her. We had some good wins - Maggie in the mile and Bryce opened up with a big one in the hurdles. Felix had a big PR in the long jump and I can't wait to see what he does in the triple" - head coach Todd Harbour on athletes that shined at the meet
Baylor will now travel to the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky., on Jan. 22-23.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.
6. Taylor Bennett (FR), 7.58
8. Alex Reece (SR), 7.07
20. Jeff Kirwin (FR), 9:01.99
22. Matt Parham (SO), 9:10.30
2. Felix Obi (SR), 24-11 [7.59m] (personal best and ninth-best in school history)
3. Rachel Toliver (JR) - 40-10.5 [12.46m]
12. Desmine Hilliard (SR), 51-1.75 [15.59m]
24. Michelle Campa (FR), 37-8.5 [11.49m]