April 5, 2008
AUSTIN, Texas -
The Baylor men's 4x400-meter relay clocked a collegiate leading time of 3:02.38 to win the Cleburn Price, Jr. Invitational event at the 81st Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Saturday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
The Bears also won the 4x200-meter relay, and combined with the women's title in the sprint medley relay on Friday night Baylor wins three relay titles at the Texas Relays for the first time in school history.
Baylor won two relay titles at Texas Relays on three other occasions. In 2001, the men's team won the 4x400- and the 4x800-meter relays. In 1995, the Bears won the 4x200- and 4x400-meter relay, and captured the 4x200- and 4x800-meter relays in 1994.
"Today was a great day with great weather and a great crowd," said head coach Todd Harbour. "The crew that we brought down to Austin really stepped up and performed on a high level."
The Bears win their 17th 4x400-meter relay in Texas Relays history, extending its all-time lead at the meet. Texas ranks second in Texas Relays history with 13 4x400-meter relay titles, though the Longhorns have not won a 4x400-meter relay title since 1979. In that same time span Baylor has claimed 15 titles.
Justin Boyd led off for the Bears, coming out of lane two, splitting 46.5 seconds out of the blocks to pass the baton in a tie for second place. Trey Harts got to the break in third place, trailing Texas A&M and TCU with 300 meters to go. Harts started his kick around the final turn, splitting 45.7 seconds to pull even with the other two teams heading into the second exchange. With six teams within 10 meters going to the third leg, Southern California and Kentucky collided, with both runners falling to the ground and out of the competition.
Baylor was still in third place as Quentin Iglehart-Summers carried down the back straightaway. Iglehart-Summers, seeing his first relay action since anchoring the Bears to a world-leading time at the Tyson Invitational, hit his next gear at the 200-meter mark, splitting 45.2 seconds to pass both squads and extend the lead to 20 meters at the final exchange. LeJerald Betters got the stick for the anchor leg with a comfortable lead, but USC's anchor leg Lionel Larry, the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Champion in the 400 meters, jumped back into the race even though his team did not complete a third leg. Betters raced down the backstretch with a 10 meter lead over Larry, who was running without a baton. Larry closed the gap to three meters with 100 meters to go, but Betters split 44.6 seconds to pull away from Larry and win the event by more than two seconds.
"The 4x400-meter relay did a great job again today," said Harbour. "They always seem to find a way to win, and a lot of times they make it look pretty easy even when they have to work hard. Justin ran a really solid leadoff leg and Trey did a good job on the second leg. Q (Iglehart-Summers) was out for over four weeks with an injury and came out and ran great. They put LeJerald in a good spot with a lead and let LeJerald do his thing."
The 4x400-meter relay time ranks as the eighth-fastest winning time ever at the Texas Relays. Baylor now holds six of the top eight fastest winning times in Texas Relays history.
Baylor won its 24th-straight 4x400-meter relay title against NCAA competition, dating back to the start of the 2007 indoor season. The last time a Baylor relay lost to a collegiate team was at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships. During that time Baylor has won the last three NCAA 4x400-meter titles (2007 indoor and outdoor, 2008 indoor).
The Bears clock a 4x400-meter relay faster than 3:03 for the 68th time in school history. In the history of the NCAA, teams have recorded 208 times faster than 3:03 in the 4x400-meter relay. Baylor owns 32.7 percent of those times, with LSU the next closest team at 14 races (6.7%).
Baylor won the men's 4x200-meter relay won the event finals with a time of 1:22.02, the seventh-fastest time in school history. Courtney Thomas got out of the blocks quickly and passed to Betters who made up the stagger down the first homestretch. Marcus Boyd extended the lead for the Bears and passed to Harts, a two-time indoor All-American, who cruised to the victory by more than one second.
The women's 4x400-meter relay clocked its first NCAA Regional qualifying time of the season, running 3:36.02 to finish in fourth place. The team dropped its season-best time by more than 12 seconds. Katrina Taylor led off with a 54.3 seconds split on the leadoff, passing to Carla Grace in third place. Grace clocked a split of 52.7 seconds and passed in a tie for second place with two other teams. Tiffany Townsend made a late charge on the third leg with a 53 seconds split, passing to Brittany Bruce on the anchor. Bruce split 55.5 seconds, crossing the line just ahead of Oklahoma.
The women's distance medley relay finished second with a time of 11:17.10, the third-fastest time in school history. Nichole Jones opened up a 50-meter lead on the 1,200-meter opening leg and passed to Taylor for the quarter-mile leg. Loren Hodges ran the 800-meter leg and passed to Lauren Hagans for the 1,600-meter anchor leg. Hagans, who anchored Baylor to its fifth-ever Texas Relays title on Friday night in the sprint medley relay, could not hold off Texas Tech anchor leg Sally Kipyego, as the multiple-time NCAA Champion pulled away for the win.
The Lady Bears placed fifth in the women's 4x100-meter relay with a season-best time of 44.39, the ninth-best time in school history. Bruce led off and passed to Grace down the backstretch. Carr ran the third leg and passed to Townsend on the anchor.
"The women's 4x4 and 4x1 were really impressive this weekend," said Harbour. "The 4x1 ran really well against the best teams in the country, and the 4x4 dropped more than 10 seconds off its fastest time of the season. I am really proud of how they ran this weekend."
Tiffany Townsend placed seventh and Brittany Carr finished ninth in the women's 100 meter event finals. Danielle Bradley clocked 4:29.06 in the women's invitational 1,500 meters to place fourth overall.
Justin Boyd finished third in the men's 400-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 50.18, the seventh-best time in Baylor history. His time was the fourth NCAA Regional qualifying mark of the season, and shattered his previous personal record of 50.80 run last season.
Baylor will have an off week next weekend before returning to the track on April 19 as the Bears host the Michael Johnson Classic at the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex.
1. Porscha Lucas (Texas A&M) - 11.20#
7. Tiffany Townsend (Baylor) - 11.75#
9. Brittany Carr (Baylor) - 11.86
1. Kelly Young (UTEP) - 4:24.03#
4. Danielle Bradley (Baylor) - 4:29.06
1. Texas A&M - 42.97#
5. Baylor - 44.39#
1. LSU - 3:29.72#
4. Baylor - 3:36.02#
Distance Medley Relay
1. Texas Tech - 11:01.17
2. Baylor - 11:17.10
1. Jeshua Anderson (Washington State) - 49.68#
3. Justin Boyd (Baylor) - 50.18#
1. Baylor - 1:22.02
1. Baylor - 3:02.38# ^
* - school record
# - NCAA Regional Qualifying mark
^ - collegiate leader
w - wind-aided (legal)
w+ - wind-aided (not legal, > 4.0 m/s)