Feb. 25, 2007
AMES, Iowa -
The Baylor men's quarter-milers swept the top three positions in the event finals on the second day of competition at the 2007 Big 12 Indoor Championships. Reggie Witherspoon was named the 2007 Big 12 Male Indoor Athlete of the Year and was the High Point Performer after posting victories in the 400 meters and the 200 meters.
Witherspoon, a senior from Marietta, Georgia, earned athlete of the year honors in 2006 after he became the first athlete in Big 12 history to win both the indoor 200 meter and 400 meter crowns. Both of his winning times were the fastest times in the nation this season.
The Bears finished in fifth place with 75 team points, while the Lady Bears claimed the eighth spot with 49 total points.
"We had a truly outstanding performance," said head coach Todd Harbour. "I thought that we had a great meet, and a lot of our kids contributed with amazing individual performances. We are disappointed with our team finishes; we thought we could get some more points. But I am very pleased with our performance today."
Witherspoon won his second consecutive Big 12 indoor 400 meter title in 45.91, the fastest time in the country this season. Quentin Inglehart-Summers finished second for the second consecutive year with a season-best time of 46.27, while freshman LeJerald Betters took third in 46.31, his fastest mark of the year. Inglehart-Summers and Betters now rank fourth and fifth in the nation in the quarter-mile. Freshman J.T. Scheuerman was seventh with 47.30.
"I felt great out there," said Witherspoon. "It's hard because not only am I competing to be the best in the Big 12, but sometimes I'm just competing to be the best on my team. It's just a tough competition, but it felt good to repeat."
Witherspoon and freshman Trey Harts
finished one-two in the men's 200 meters as Witherspoon tied the nation's fastest time in 20.73. Harts finished in a season best 20.89, tying him for third nationally.
"I didn't know what to expect because I had just run the 400 meters," said Witherspoon. "My legs were a little tired, but I came out and gave what I got and I was able to win."
Freshman Nichole Jones won her first Big 12 title in the women's 1,000 meters with a Big 12 meet record of 2:45.68. Jones, who graduated a year early from high school, also set a new Baylor record in the event.
"I am ecstatic right now," said Jones. "Even though I've run well this season, there has always been one little thing here and there that hasn't been going right. This is the first race where everything just kind of fell into place."
Jeremy Jackson scored first for the Bears with a fourth-place showing in the men's 60 meter hurdles. Jackson, who entered the finals with the slowest time in preliminary heats, came out of lane eight to finish in 7.92, just one-hundredth of a second off a provisional qualifying mark.
Lyndsy Bedell earned her second All-Big 12 honor of the meet with a second-place finish in the women's 3,000 meters in 9:46.45. Renae Van Whye finished tenth with a new personal-best of 9:52.50.
After a false start disqualified Richard Adu-Bobie of Oklahoma in the men's 60 meter, Jacob Norman took sixth place in 6.81 and Courtney Thomas placed seventh in 6.92. Norman, the defending Big 12 and NCAA champion, was running in just his second competition of the season due to offseason arthroscopic hip surgery.
Stasia Kelly-Taylor finished 14th in the women's triple jump with a season-best leap of 12.25 (40-02.25).
Kayla Smith placed 14th in the women's high jump, as she set a season-best clearance of 1.68m (5-06).
Senior Bo Price won the first heat of the men's 3,000 meters, and placed eighth overall. His time of 8:15.49 marked a new personal best, and was more than 22 seconds under his season-best time. Price's eighth-place finished earned Baylor one team point. Jacob Jones (8:34.02) and Ben Haby (8:37.16) finished 31st and 36th, respectively.
"We just had some outstanding individual performances," said Harbour. "Bo [Price] is a senior who comes in and wins his heat and runs fast enough to score for the team. Nichole Jones is a freshman who is only 17 years old and she sets a Big 12 meet record. Then Reggie just had a terrific meet, winning the 200 and 400."
In the women's mile final, Erin Bedell finished fourth with a season-best of 4:48.65 to earn five team points for the Lady Bears.
Katrina Taylor earned a sixth-place finish in the women's 600 yards in a season-best 1:22.16. Taylor, who sat in eighth place with 100 meters remaining, caught two competitors to finish sixth and earn three team points.
Kevin Mutai, the defending Big 12 champion in the men's 600 yards, finished third in the event in 1:09.03, while sophomore R.J. Anderson was eighth with a time of 1:13.26.
Danielle Bradley took third place in the women's 800 meters with a season-best 2:09.58. Erin Bedell (2:12.41) and Kathryn Benvegnu (2:13.30) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
"We had about as many freshmen contributing as we've ever had," said Harbour. LeJerald [Betters] and J.T. [Scheuerman] did well in the 400 and the 4x400 relay. Nichole Jones ran several good races. Trey Harts ran under 21 seconds in the 200 meters. Danielle [Bradley] and Kathryn [Benvegnu] did really well in the 800."
In the final event of the meet, the Baylor women's 4x400 meter relay team finished third with a season-best time of 3:38.54. Taylor, Carla Grace, Tiana Hood, and Lauren Tillman ran 3:43.67 at the Husky Invitational in Seattle, Wash. on January 27, and the quartet beat that time by more than five seconds.
The men's 4x400 meter team won its tenth straight Big 12 indoor title, extending its indoor and outdoor dominance in the event to 19 straight races at conference meets. Scheuerman led off for the Bears, overtaking early leader Nebraska at the final turn. Betters, Mutai, and Summers held the Bear lead as Baylor cruised to a winning time of 3:04.97, the fastest time of the season, and Baylor's third automatic qualifying time this year. Baylor teams now own the four fastest times in the 4x400 relay in the nation this year.
Baylor will have one more opportunity to qualify its athletes for the NCAA Indoor Championships as the Bears will compete in the Last Chance Meet in Ames, Iowa on March 3 at the Lied Recreation-Athletic Center.
BU Point Breakdown
Nichole Jones (1,000m) - 10
Danielle Bradley (800m) - 6
Lyndsy Bedell (5,000m) - 6
Distance Medley Relay - 6
4x400 Relay - 6
Erin Bedell (Mile) - 5
Lynsy Bedell (3,000m) - 3
Katrina Taylor (600 yards) - 3
Erin Bedell (800m) - 2
Kathryn Benvegnu (800m) - 1
Brittany Devereaux (Weight Throw) - 1
Reggie Witherspoon (200m) - 10
Reggie Witherspoon (400m) - 10
4x400 Relay - 10
Trey Harts (200m) - 8
Quentin Inglehart-Summers (400m) - 8
LeJerald Betters (400m) - 6
Kevin Mutai (600 yards) - 6
Jeremy Jackson (60m Hurdles) - 5
Jacob Norman (60m) - 3
Distance Medley Relay - 3
Courtney Thomas (60m) - 2
J.T. Scheuerman (400m) - 2
R.J. Anderson (600 yards) - 1
Bo Price (3,000m) - 1