April 23, 2010
DES MOINES, Iowa – Baylor’s 4x200-meter relay team crew blew away the men’s field on the way to the Bears’ first title on a rain-soaked, windy day at the 101st running of the Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Overall, it was an outstanding day,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “Across the board we had some great times in all the relays. I am really proud of the way our team competed today, even though we had some really tough conditions. They had to battle the elements all day.”
Senior Courtney Thomas and sophomore Whitney Prevost got the Bears out to a big lead, then Marcus Boyd and Trey Harts put a big space in between themselves and the rest of the field on the way to a dominating victory in the 4x200-meter relay. The crew won by nearly three seconds with a time of 1:21.64, the fourth fastest time in the nation this season. Baylor has two of the top four times, running a time of 1:21.25 earlier this season.
“We had an outstanding 4x200 today,” Harbour said. “Those guys managed to run a great time in spite of the tough conditions.”
The Baylor men also snuck in a third-place finish in the 4x800-meter relay in their last event of the day. With a loaded field, the top eight teams battled back and forth through all four legs, while Baylor’s Chris Gowell passed two teams in the last few meters to slide into third place. James Gilreath, Ben Haby, and Gavyn Nero helped get Baylor in position for Gowell, as the Bears ran the fourth-fastest time ever at BU of 7:19.86, just two second behind the school record.
Baylor’s women had a strong showing in their 4x200-meter relay as well, placing second behind only UTEP. Diamond Richardson, Tiana Hood, Brittany Carr and Tiffany Townsend raced the baton around the track in 1:35.27.
The women’s distance medley relay team also recorded a second-place finish on the strength of a 4:42 final 1,600-meter leg from Erin Bedell, who ran down Minnesota All-American Megan Duwell on the last lap. Joining Bedell was Stephanie Morgan, Lizzy Whitney, and Nichole Jones to run the fifth fastest time in BU history of 11:18.22.
The women also picked up a third-place finish in the women’s 4x800-meter relay, narrowly missing a second-place finish. Morgan, Lauren Simpson, Jones and Bedell ran the third-fastest time in Baylor history, finishing in a time of 8:43.72.
The Baylor men’s and women’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays each took care of business, winning their heats in all four races. The men’s 4x100-meter relay squad of Boyd, Prevost, Thomas and Harts won the first heat in 40.53, qualifying third overall. In the 4x400-meter relay, the crew of Thaddeus Gordon, J.T. Scheuerman, Zwede Hewitt and Michael Liggins kept Baylor’s hopes of winning a sixth-consecutive Drake Relays title alive. The group won their heat with a time of 3:09.10 and qualified second overall.
On the women’s side, the 4x100-meter relay team of DeAna Carson, Townsend, Hood, and Carr cruised to a victory in the fourth heat, qualifying second overall. Then in the 4x400, the Baylor women ran their fastest time of the season to win the second heat and qualify third overall. The team of Christina Holland, Brittany Bruce, Whitney and Richardson finished in a time of 3:40.92.
In the individual events, Skylar White posted the best finish, missing her own school record in the shot put by one inch. The freshman placed fourth in the event with a toss of 50-1.75. White also placed eighth in the discus with a throw of 160-11. Also for the women, Dess Meek placed ninth in the high jump, clearing a height of 5-05.
On the track, Townsend qualified for the finals in the 100 meters, placing second in the first heat, and fifth overall with a time of 11.69. Carr narrowly missed qualifying, coming in 10th overall with a time of 12.09.
For the men, Nick Lyons placed fifth overall in the javelin with a throw of 201-02
Baylor’s track and field team will be back in action tomorrow on the fourth and final day of the 101st Drake Relays. Running events are set to begin at 8 a.m., while the field events will start at 9:30 a.m. Live results can be found at www.DrakeRelays.org.