WACO, Texas - Baylor track and field athletes matched the win total from last year's meet by racking up 14 event titles Saturday at the Baylor Invitational at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium.
The 2015 Baylor Invitational was the inaugural meet at the state-of-art-facility on the Brazos River and the Bears continued the tradition of a successful meet in 2016, albeit with several new faces.
Freshman Taylor Bennett highlighted the day for Baylor by winning two individual titles and helping the 4x400-meter relay take top honors as well.
The Spring, Texas, native opened her day by winning the 100-meter dash in a stadium record time of 11.38. That mark is currently 15th-fastest in the NCAA for 2016 and was .23 seconds faster than any other runner in the field.
Ninety minutes later, Bennett returned to the track and wowed the crowd of 1,313 fans by turning in a 22.71 to capture the 200-meter crown. That time ranks third in school history, second-best in the NCAA for 2016 and was also a stadium record. The only person to run a faster 200-meter time at Baylor is the most decorated All-American in program history, Tiffany Townsend.
For an encore, Bennett ran the third leg for the mile relay, which also consisted of Justise Dayries, Kiana Horton and Jessica Purtell. That crew used a stadium record time of 3:36.16 to win that event.
Fellow freshman Wil London also starred in his first collegiate meet in his hometown. The Waco, Texas, product nearly chased down Olympic gold medalist and former Baylor great Jeremy Wariner in the 400-meter dash, but was still the top collegian on the day with a time of 45.76. That mark is good for third-best in the NCAA for the current outdoor season.
In the pole vault, Annie Rhodes came very close to a school-record clearance, but settled for the second-best vault in school history, a stadium record and an event win by clearing 14-5.25 [4.40m].
Baylor swept three events in both the men's and women's races. In the 800 meters, Purtell used a personal-best time of 2:09.52 to be the top collegian on the day, while Brandon Moore had a season-best mark of 1:49.14 to claim the men's crown. In the triple jump, Rachel Toliver posted a leap of 42-2.25 [12.25m] to win, while on the men's side Felix Obi returned to action to tally the ninth-best leap in the NCAA currently and the ninth-best jump in school history, 51-9.75 [15.79m], to win.
In her second 1,500-meter race of the season, Maggie Montoya had a season-best mark of 4:28.44 to take home that title. Fellow distance runner Peyton Thomas carded a personal-best time in the 3,000 meters to snag the top spot on the podium. Madison Zimmerman opened the running portion of the meet leading the 3,000-meter steeplechase from wire-to-wire to win in 10:56.95.
Rhys Phillips continued his breakout season by winning the 110-hurdle title in a time of 13.88. That victory marks his second title in that event in 2016, after also claiming the event crown at the Ricardo Romo Invitational.
Kiana Horton finished second in both the 100 and 200-meter races to Bennett, clocking times of 11.61 and 23.41, respectively.
Former Bears Trayvon Bromell and Jeremy Wariner also had successful days as Bromell turned in the world's fourth fastest time in the 200 meters at 22.30 and Wariner had the fastest 400-meter time on the day at 45.70.
Cion Hicks finished second in both the shot put and discus. She produced a season-best throw in the shot put of 53-10.25 [16.41m], which ranks 17th-best in the NCAA.
Baylor also had numerous runner-up finishes on the day, including Antwuan Musgrove (400mh, 52.83) and the men's 4x100-meter (40.16).
TOP QUOTE #1
"It was an outstanding home meet. We had some really solid performances. We had a few sit out as the injury bug has kind of nipped us, but the ones that competed did an outstanding job. I thought Taylor Bennett was definitely the highlight. When you run the No. 2 time in the NCAA in the 200 meters and do a super job in the 100 that is outstanding. Wil's (London) quarter was certainly outstanding. He moved up to No. 3 in the country in the 400, so that is great. With one of these meets at home it is hard to keep up with everything that is going on, but overall I thought it was a great meet." - head coach Todd Harbour on the meet
BAYLOR INVITATIONAL COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
1. Taylor Bennett (FR) - 11.38 (stadium record, tied 15th-best in NCAA)
2. Kiana Horton (FR) - 11.61
7. Justice Dayries (SR) - 11.79
17. Juanita Mainoo (SO) - 12.16
2. Kiana Horton (FR) - 23.41
4. Justise Dayries (SR) - 23.76
13. Juanita Mainoo (SO) - 24.42 (season best)
44. Eva Morrison (FR) - 28.15
7. Malik Wilson (SO) - 21.13 (season best)
-- Isaiah Duke (SR) - DNF
-- Richard Gary (SR) - DNF
18. Kaitlynn Lindsey (SO) - 57.12 (season best)
2. Wil London - (FR) - 45.76 (third-best in NCAA, top collegian)
3. Caleb Dickson (FR) - 46.81 (season best)
-- Danny Leland (FR) - DNS
-- Brandon Moore (JR) - DNS
2. Jessica Purtell (JR) - 2:09.52 (personal best, top collegian)
3. Charlotte Myers (SR) - 2:11.73
4. Chelsea Orr (SR) - 2:13.08 (season best)
12. Amanda Dillon (FR) - 2:16.19 (season best)
-- Olicia Williams (SR) - DNS
-- Maggie Montoya (JR) - DNS
1. Brandon Moore (JR) - 1:49.14 (season best)
8. Danny Leland (FR) - 1:53.59 (season best)
-- Greg Bostick (SR) - DNS
1. Maggie Montoya (JR) - 4:28.44 (season best)
8. Haleigh Blackwell (SR) - 4:53.55
9. Aubree Miller (SO) - 4:54.80 (season best)
20 Catherine Zabilski (SR) - 5:06.30
4. Eric Anderson (SO) - 3:55.68 (season best)
10. Greg Bostick (SR) - 3:57.49 (personal best)
11. Chris McElroy (SR) - 3:57.07
12. Matt Parham (SO) - 3:58.32 (season best)
1. Peyton Thomas (SO) - 9:41.10 (personal best)
5. Alex Davis (JR) - 10:15.28
13. Leila Rohde (FR) - 11:03.88
15. Annie Jaska (JR) - 11:35.95 (personal best)
17. Kasey Kinzel (FR) - 11:41.24
19. Abbie Greenwell (SO) - 12:05.39
20. Megan Rule (FR) - 12:07.15
-- Mary Woodall (SR) - DNF
-- Aubree Miller (SO) - DNS
-- Haleigh Blackwell (SR) - DNS
3. J R Hardy (SR) - 8:38.34 (season best)
6. Matt Galvin (SR) - 8:44.05 (season best)
7. Kyle Scanlan (SR) - 8:45.45 (personal best)
-- Matt Parham (SO) - DNF
-- Chris McElroy (SR) - DNS
-- Eric Anderson (SO) - DNS
1. Rhys Phillips (JR) - 13.88
17. Hunter Powell (SO) - 16.34 (season best)
10. Taylor Houston (JR) - 1:03.87
2. Antwuan Musgrove (FR) - 52.83 (season best)
8. Robert Dutton (SO) - 54.45
12. Nicholas Ucherek (SR) - 55.79
1. Madison Zimmerman (SO) - 10:56.95
4. Blake Bostick (SO) - 9:42.95
2. Baylor (Musgrove, Wilson, London, Dickson) - 40.16
1. Baylor A (Dayries, Bennett, Horton, Purtell) - 3:36.16 (stadium record)
7. Baylor B (Lindsey, Dillon, Fields, Myers) - 3:51.31
1. Baylor A (Moore, Musgrove, Dickson, London) - 3:07.95 (stadium record)
10. Baylor B (Dutton, Powell, Cunningham, Leland) - 3:20.04
4. Kaylyn Schultz (SR) - 5-5.75 [1.67m] (season best)
6. Alexandra Lord (FR) - 5-3.75 [1.62m]
-- Tammy McVickar (FR) - NH
-- Laura Casadonte (FR) - NH
-- Abena Ofori (FR) - NH
3. Blaine Listach (FR) - 6-8.75 [2.05m] (tied season best)
1. Annie Rhodes (JR) - 14-5.25 [4.40m] (stadium record, second-best in school history)
-- Paul Gaschen (SO) - NH
-- Reed Rightmer (SO) - NH
-- Chase Hood (SO) - DNS
-- Chase Hood (SO) - ND
-- Amani Dotson (FR) - ND
6. Desmine Hilliard (SR) - 53-9.25 [16.39m] (season best)
-- Hunter Powell (SO) ND
2. Cion Hicks (JR) - 165-9 [50.52]
12. Michelle Campa (FR) - 131-8 [40.13]
-- Selena Demus (JR) - ND
-- Amani Dotson (FR) - ND
-- Selena Demus (JR) - Foul
3. Chase Hood (SO) - 174-6 [53.18m] (personal best)
4. Blake Rawls (FR) - 174-0 [53.03m] (personal best)
-- Richard Hansen (SR) - DNS
-- Ricardo Sanchez (FR) - DNS
-- Hunter Powell (SO) - DNS
21. Michelle Campa (FR) - 135-2 [41.21m]
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
The freshman sprinter from Spring, Texas, set a pair of stadium records in sweeping the 100 and 200 meter titles and also ran a leg on Baylor's 4x400-meter relay that set another stadium record and gave the Bears 14 event titles for the second straight year.
"I honestly didn't think I could go that fast," said Bennett, whose previous personal bests were 11.41 in the 100 and 23.08 in the 200. "When I got to (30 meters from the finish line), and didn't hear anyone behind me, I told myself to speed up. I knew I had it, I just had to finish."
Bennett highlighted a solid day for Baylor that saw freshman quarter-miler Wil London go head-to-head with former Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner and reigning world champion Trayvon Bromell win the 200 meters with a time of 20.30 that ranks as the fourth-fastest in the world this season.
"Overall, it was an outstanding meet," Baylor coach Todd Harbour said. "I thought the crowd did a great job. We had some really solid performances. The injury bug has kind of nipped us, so we sat a few of our top ones. But the ones who competed did an outstanding job."
In the 100, Bennett outdueled freshman teammate Kiana Horton and won in a stadium-record time of 11.38 that currently ranks as the 15th-fastest in the NCAA. Horton was second in 11.61, edging Arkansas State's Kristina Knott by one hundredth of a second.
Back on the track 90 minutes later, Bennett got the crowd of 1,313 on its feet with a head-turning time of 22.71 in the 200 meters. That ranks as the third-best in program history, second-best in the NCAA this year and another stadium-record mark.
"When she ran 23.08 indoors, you could see that she was definitely capable of doing that," Harbour said. "But she had a great meet. The sky's the limit for that young lady as young as she is."
London, a local product from Waco High School, provided one of the most memorable moments of the home meet when he nearly ran down Wariner in the closing stretch of the 400. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist and runner-up four years later, Wariner won with a 45.70 clocking just ahead of London at 45.76, the third-best collegiate mark this year.
"That was definitely a highlight for me," Harbour said. "I was excited for Jeremy. I know Wil wanted to beat him, but that was good for Jeremy. The old man's back, so he's ready to go. I was tickled for him."
While he was disappointed that he lost to Wariner, "it was a great experience," he said. "I didn't (catch him), but I get to race against him in the (April 23 Michael Johnson Invitational). . . . All my family and friends were here, so it was a good experience to show them what I could do in college instead of high school."
Bromell, the former Baylor All-American sprinter who won the 60-meter title at this year's World Indoor Championships, left the field behind in winning the 200 in 20.30. He didn't get a chance to run against Baylor freshman Caleb Dickson on the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay earlier in the day when Ford Racing's Markquis Frazier pulled up on the first leg.
About five hours later, the freshman trio of Musgrove, Dickson and London joined senior leadoff Brandon Moore in winning the 4x400 relay in 3:07.95. Musgrove was a late replacement with George Caddick sidelined and Richard Gary and Isaiah Duke both going down in earlier races.
"Even when somebody's hurt, you've got to bounce back and be ready to run," London said. "Antwuan did a great job. He doesn't like the 4x4, but today he brought it home for us."
In addition to the closing 4x400 relays, Baylor also swept the men's and women's 800 meters and triple jump.
Jessica Purtell, who also anchored the women's winning 4x400 relay, finished as the top collegian in the 800 with a personal-best time of 2:09.52. Running unattached, former Baylor quarter-miler recorded the best time of 2:07.74. Brandon Moore won the men's 800 with a season-best time of 1:49.14.
In the triple jump, Rachel Toliver won the women's title with a leap of 42-2 ¼, with Felix Obi capturing the men's event with a mark of 51-9 ¾ that ranks as the ninth-best in the NCAA this year and the ninth-best in program history.
Baylor's female distance crew gave the Bears three more event titles with Maggie Montoya in the 1,500 (4:28.44), Peyton Thomas in the 3,000 (9:41.10) and Madison Zimmerman in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:56.95).
Rhys Phillips won the men's 110-meter hurdles in a time of 13.88, just off his season-best of 13.80 that he ran at the Texas Relays. It was his second title in the event this season after also winning at the Ricardo Romo Invitational in San Antonio.
Junior All-American Annie Rhodes battled through windy conditions to clear 14-5 ¼ in winning the women's pole vault, coming within two inches of her own school record (14-7 ¼). Cion Hicks was the runner-up in both the discus (165-9) and shot put (53-10 ¼), while Desmine Hilliard was second in the discus (172-0) and sixth in the shot (53-9 ¼).
After taking a rare break from competition next weekend, Baylor will host its final home meet of the season with the Michael Johnson Invitational the following Saturday, April 23.
"I think everybody's feeling a little bit, so we could use it," Harbour said of the rest. "We need to go back and try to re-gather and get some people healthy."