March 1, 2014
AMES, Iowa - With help from 18 student-athletes, who earned 26 All-Big 12 honors, the Baylor women's track and field team placed second with 102 points at the Big 12 Indoor Championships on Saturday at the Lied Recreation Center.
That placing and point total are the highest ever for the BU women at the conference's indoor meet. Meanwhile, the Baylor men's team finished seventh with 67 points and had 15 athletes tally 20 All-Big 12 honors
Individually, three student-athletes earned Big 12 event titles. On the women's side Tiffani McReynolds won the 60-meter hurdles for a fourth straight season and Raena Rhone captured the 600-yard run crown. For the men, sophomore Felix Obi defended his title in the triple jump.
McReynolds became the first Baylor athlete, male or female, to win the same event at the conference indoor meet in four straight seasons. She is only the second Big 12 athlete to accomplish the feat. The senior cruised to the win with a time of 8.10, beating the rest of the field by .14 seconds. The Kansas City, Kan., native owns all 10 of the school's best marks in the event, but Saturday's time tied for the eighth-fastest in school history.
Rhone, who ran her first competitive 600-yard race on Friday, turned in the fifth-best time in school history (1:20.43) to claim the event's Big 12 title on Saturday. She is just the second Baylor athlete to win the 600-yard crown, joining Barbara Petrahn, who took the title in 2002. The Chicago, native, now has five All-Big 12 indoor honors on her resume.
Despite skipping his final three jumps, Obi walked away with his second straight title in the triple jump with a leap of 51-2.25 [15.60m]. He carded his longest jump of the day on his second attempt and led the competition from that point forward. Obi became just the fourth Baylor male athlete to win a Big 12 indoor title in back-to-back seasons. The sophomore from El Paso, Texas, joined Reggie Witherspoon (200 & 400), Trey Harts (200) and Brandon Couts (400).
BU also had five near misses on Saturday. Senior Blake Heriot came up just short in both the 200 and 400 meters. He tallied a season-best time (21.04) in the 200 meters and a personal-best mark in the 400 (46.89), but lost by a combined 1.09 seconds in those races. On the women's side, Mariah Kelly was the runner-up in the mile race with a time of 4:42.82 and Rachel Johnson took second in the 3,000 meters in 9:17.78. To close out the competition, the Baylor men's 4x400-relay team of Isaiah Duke, TJ Holmes, Blake Heriot and Richard Gary fell just .02 seconds short of a title in that event with a time of 3:09.39.
The Baylor women went into the meet's final event, the 4x400-meter relay, only leading third-place Kansas by two points. However, the quartet of Alyssa Nichols, Rhone, Williams and Michelle Nwachukwu placed third in 3:39.21 to beat the Jayhawks' time of 3:39.89. That placing allowed the Lady Bears to stay in second as a team ahead of KU by three points.
A multitude of other women's athletes performed at a high level to help the Lady Bears nab the runner-up team finish. McReynolds also posted her fourth-straight All-Big 12 performance in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.54. Kehri Jones was right behind McReynolds, taking sixth with a time of 7.57.
In the middle distances, Olicia Williams was fourth in 2:08.26, Kristina Brown took fourth in the 1,000 meters with a personal-best time of 2:54.73 and Maggie Montoya was fifth in the mile with a PR time of 4:44.27.
Sophomore Taije Jordan gave BU a pair of All-Big 12 performances in the 60-hurdles as she joined McReynolds on the awards podium with a fifth-place finish in 8.52.
In the field events, Kaitlin West saved her best for last, using a leap of 40-6 [12.34m] on her final attempt to take third in the triple jump. Lauren Cook was seventh in the high jump with a mark of 5-7 [1.70m].
The day opened with Henry Vildosola setting a new school-record in the heptathlon competition with 5,334 points. The senior took third overall to secure his first career All-Big 12 indoor honor. Freshman Trayvon Bromell and TJ Holmes also provided points on the men's side. Bromell was third in the 60-meter dash and fifth in the 200, while Holmes placed fourth in the 600-yard run.
- Baylor athletes had eight personal bests on the day.
- Before taking second and scoring 102 points on Saturday, the Baylor women's previous high finish was third in 1999 and 2005, while their highest point total was 87 in 1999.
- Baylor hadn't finished second on the women's side since taking runner-up honors at the Southwest Conference indoor meet in 1994.
STAT OF THE DAY
75 - the amount of points that the Baylor women scored on the second of the competition, which is more than the BU women had scored in 14 of the previous 17 championships
TOP QUOTE #1
"Our women competed hard, probably did about everything we could do. We had some very inspirational performances. We're going to win this thing one of these days. We're getting closer, but it was definitely a great, great weekend for the ladies." - head coach Todd Harbour
TOP QUOTE #2
"And little Tiff - four straight - what do you say about that? That's the first Baylor person to ever do that, and second in Big 12. I am really proud of her." - head coach Todd Harbour
TWEET OF THE DAY
-- BaylorTrack (@BaylorTrack) March 2, 2014
Baylor currently has four student-athletes qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Rachel Johnson (3K), Tiffani McReynolds (60H) and Briana Richardson (triple jump) are scheduled to represent the women on the national stage, while Felix Obi (triple jump) is currently the lone BU male in the NCAA field. The NCAA Indoor Championships are scheduled for March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.
All-Conference Performers (33 competitors; 46 honors)
Women (18 competitors; 26 honors)
Erin Atkinson (WT), Kristina Brown (1K), Lauren Cook (HJ), Alex Davis (5K), Rachel Johnson (3K & DMR), Kehri Jones (60m) Taije Jordan (60 hurdles), Mariah Kelly (Mile & DMR), Tiffani McReynolds (60m & 60 hurdles), Maggie Montoya (1K & Mile), Michelle Nwachukwu (4x400), Alyssa Nichols (4x400 & DMR), Jenna Pfeiffer (Pentathlon), Annie Rhodes (PV), Raena Rhone (600y & 4x400), Jessica Shadley (Pentathlon), Kaitlin West (TJ), Olicia Williams (800m, 4x400 & DMR),
Men (15 competitors; 20 honors)
Greg Bostick (DMR), Trayvon Bromell (60m & 200m) Hunter Brook (Heptathlon), Isaiah Duke (4x400), Richard Gary (4x400), Bryce Grace (60 hurdles), Derwin Graham (DMR), Blake Heriot (200m, 400m & 4x400), TJ Holmes (600y & 4x400), Brad Miles (DMR), Brandon Moore (DMR), Felix Obi (LJ & TJ), Alex Reece (60m),Jonathan Tijerina (mile), Henry Vildosola (Heptathlon)
800 Meters - Finals
4. Olicia Williams (SO), 2:08.26* (ties season bet)
60 Hurdles - Finals
1. Tiffani McReynolds (SR), 8.10* (4th-straight indoor title and eighth-fastest in school history)
5. Taije Jordan (SO), 8.52*
7. Bryce Grace (SO), 8.07*
4x400-Meter Relay - Finals
3. Baylor (Alyssa Nichols, Raena Rhone, Olicia Williams, Michelle Nwachukwu)*, 3:39.21
2. Baylor (Isaiah Duke, TJ Holmes, Blake Heriot, Richard Gary)*, 3:09.39
t7. Lauren Cook (JR), 5-7 [1.70m]*
-- Kaylyn Schultz (SO), NH
3. Kaitlin West (JR), 40-6 [12.34m]*
1. Felix Obi (SO), 51-2.25 [15.60m]*
10. Cion Hicks (FR), 47-3.5 [14.41m]
Heptathlon - Overall
3. Henry Vildosola (SR) - 5,334* (school record)
6. Hunter Brook (SR) - 3,017*
For an inside look into the Baylor track team follow @BaylorTrack on Twitter.