In the final home meet of the season, the Bears recognized their 27-member senior class as well as 2016 Baylor `B' Association Legend She She Crawford (a four-time All-American from 1991-94) as a fireworks show closed out a picture perfect day on the Brazos River.
For a second-straight meet, freshman Wil London claimed the top spot in the 400 meters, winning the Michael Johnson crown in a career-best mark of 45.28. The Waco, Texas, native closed strong and snuck past Texas Tech's Kyle Collins (45.33) at the finish line to notch the fifth-fastest time in the NCAA for 2016.
Kiana Horton provided more freshmen highlights as she won the 200 meters in a career-best time of 23.02. That mark is currently No. 18 in the NCAA for the 2016 outdoor season. The San Antonio, Texas, product blew away the rest of the collegiate field by .15 seconds while running into a slight headwind (-0.1m/s).
After returning to action at the Baylor Invitational, Felix Obi continued his comeback from injury by producing the fifth-best jump in school history and the No. 12 jump currently in the NCAA at 52-5 [15.99m]. Obi, who fouled on three of his first four attempts, saved his best for last uncorking the jump that netted him second place on his final leap.
In the field events, Annie Rhodes won the pole vault for the fourth time in five meets this outdoor season with a clearance of 14-1.25 [4.30m], which is tied for the sixth-best in school history.
Desmine Hilliard celebrated his Senior Day by claiming the discus title with a throw of 183-2, which ranks sixth all-time in the BU record books. Hilliard also had a career-best throw in the shot put, 54-6 [15.96m], to be fifth.
Kiana Hawn cruised to a win the 400-meter hurdles, besting the rest of the field by almost two seconds with a winning time and stadium record of 57.81.
The Bears swept the 5,000-meter event with Peyton Tomas (16:46.73) winning on the women's side and JR Hardy winning the men's title in a career-best 14:42.24. Kyle Scanlan (14:48.52) was moments behind Hardy to give BU another 1-2 finish.
Baylor was close to a title in the 4x100-meter relay with Horton, Taylor Bennett, Juanita Mainoo & Justise Dayries producing the third-best 4x100-meter relay in school history at 43.69 to finish second.
Missing All-American George Caddick on the anchor leg due to injury, the men's 4x400 relay consisted of Isaiah Duke, Caleb Dickson, Brandon Moore and London. Down early, London pushed the Bears from the back of the pack to fourth with a sub-45 second split on the final leg of the day.
After winning the 100 and 200 meters at the Baylor Invitational, Taylor Bennett lowered her season-best 100-meter 11.33 (currently 20th in NCAA) to finish at the Michael Johnson Invitational runner-up.
Cion Hicks was the second-place finisher in the shot put with a throw of 52-4 [15.96m].
Jessica Purtell used a career-best time (2:07.39) to finish second in the 800 meters.
Megan SaxvanderWeyden finished seventh among collegians in the javelin with the sixth-best throw in school history of 145-1 [44.23m].
Meanwhile on the women's side in the triple jump, Rachel Toliver netted a runner-up finish with a best attempt of 41-3 [12.59m].
Trayvon Bromell won the professional section of the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.04 (-0.1m/s).
Tiffani McReynolds won the professional section of the 100-meter hurdles in a stadium record time of 12.88.
Jeremy Wariner won the professional section of the 400 meters with a time of 45.72.
Rachel Johnson took second in the professional section of the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:22.03.
TOP QUOTE #1
"Overall it was just an outstanding meet, from the runners involved, the teams that came, an outstanding crowd. We're still a little banged up, didn't run quite a few of ours. The ones that did compete, I thought we did some pretty good things." - Harbour on his team's performance
TOP QUOTE #2
"It's a great meet, it's getting a reputation. Our crowd, this may not be Oregon, but we're getting a reputation for having a great crowd. And people want to come where you're going to get encouragement. That means a lot. So, I thought it was a great meet. ." - Harbour on the crowd
The Bears will now take part in their final regular season meet next week at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday through Sunday.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.
Michael Johnson INVITATIONAL COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
2. Taylor Bennett (FR) - 11.33 (career best & currently No. 20 in NCAA)
10. Juanita Mainoo (SO) - 12.14
19. Eva Morrison (FR) - 13.38
-- Taije Jordan (SR) - DNF
10. Alex Reece (SR) - 10.65
25. Hunter Powell (SO) - 11.13 (Season Best)
-- Chase Hood (SO) - DNS
--Malik Wilson (SO) -DNS
1. Kiana Horton (FR) - 23.02 (career best & currently No. 18 in NCAA)
9. Juanita Mainoo (SO) - 24.19 (career best)
16. Ashley Fields (JR) - 24.72
-- Justise Dayries (SR) - DNS
16. Alex Reece (SR) - 21.65
40. Cody Cunningham (FR) - 22.42
10. Kaitlynn Lindsey (SO) - 56.92
-- Ashley Fields (JR) - DNS
1. Will London (FR) - 45.28 (career best & currently No. 5 in NCAA)
12. Caleb Dickson (FR) - 47.34
35 Hunter Powell (SO) - 50.45 (season best)
1. Maggie Montoya (JR) - 4:20.79 (Season Best)
2.Chelsea Orr (SR) - 4:21.82
24. Aubree Miller (SO) - 4:54.04 (Season Best)
31. Catherine Zabilski (SR) - 5:07.00
32. Haleigh Blackwell (SR) - 5:09.77
34. Gretta Smith (SR) - 5:41.64
6.Chris McElroy (SR) - 3:55.80 (Season Best)
11. Greg Bostick (SR) - 3:57.81 15. Matt Parham (SR) - 3:59.08
1. Peyton Thomas (SO) - 16:46.73
4. Alex Davis (JR) - 17:30.15 (Season Best)
20. Leila Rohde (FR) - 19:58.97 (Career Best)
-- Abbie Greenwell (SO) - DNS
1. JR Hardy (SR) - 14:42.24 (career best)
2. Kyle Scanlan (SR) - 14:48.52 (Season Best)
-- Matt Galvin (SR) - DNF
20. Eva Morrison (FR) - 16.22
-- Taije Jordan (SR) - DNS
1. Kiana Hawn (SO) - 57.81
22. Taylor Houston (JR) - 1:06.00
3. Madison Zimmerman (SO) -10:58.51
-- Blake Bostick (SO) - DNS
2. Baylor (Horton, Bennett, Mainoo, Dayries) - 43.69 (season best & third-best in school history)
4. Baylor (Musgrove, London, Wilson, Dickson) - 40.50
6. Baylor (Purtell, Hawn, Fields, Dillon) - 3:43.04
4. Baylor `A' (Duke, Dickson, Moore, London) - 3:06.68
15. Baylor `B' (Musgrove, Wilson, Cunningham, Leland) - 3:15.69
8. Blaine Listach (FR) - 6-8 [2.03m]
1. Annie Rhodes (JR) - 14-1.25 [4.30m] (tied sixth-best in school history)
-- Elizabeth Armstrong (FR) - NH
11. Reed Rightmer (SO) - 15-9 [4.80m] (career best)
14. Greyson Gonzalez (FR) - 15-3 [4.65m] (ties season best0
-- Paul Gaschen (SO) - NH
-- Chase Hood (SO) - NH
2. Rachel Toliver (JR) - 41-3 [12.59m]
2. Felix Obi (SR) - 52-5 [15.99m] (fifth-best in school history & currently No. 12 in NCAA)
2. Cion Hicks (JR) 52-4 [15.96m]
-- Amani Dotson (FR)- ND
5. Desmine Hilliard (SR) - 54-6 [16.61m] (career best)
By Jerry Hill
Baylor Bear Foundation
Even with a host of Olympians on hand, including gold medalists Jeremy Wariner and Jamaican Asafa Powell, Baylor freshman Wil London provided one of the day's biggest highlights in Saturday's Michael Johnson Invitational.
Delighting a packed crowd of 2,786 at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium, the Waco freshman outleaned Texas Tech's Kyle Collins at the finish line to win the men's 400 with a career-best time of 45.28 that ranks fifth nationally.
"I just look to win, honestly," London said. "I don't care what I run, I just want to win. At the end of the day, the time is going to come."
Baylor won seven other events, including a sweep in the 5,000 meters by sophomore Peyton Thomas (16:46.73) and senior JR Hardy (14:42.24); and a 1-2 finish by Maggie Montoya (4:20.79) and Chelsea Orr (4:21.82) in the 1,500 meters.
The Bears also had a strong day in the field events, getting wins from Annie Rhodes in the women's pole vault (14-1 ¼) and Desmine Hilliard in the men's discus (183-2); and runner-up finishes by Felix Obi (52-5 ½) and Rachel Toliver (41-3 ¾) in the triple jump.
In the sprints, Kiana Horton won the collegiate 200 in a personal-best time of 23.02; fellow freshman Taylor Bennett placed second in the 100 with a career-best 11.33; and then the duo combined with Justin Mainoo and Justise Dayries to place second in the 4x100 relay with a time of 43.69 that ranks as the third-best in program history.
"That's with two walk-on girls at the end of it," Baylor coach Todd Harbour said. "Those young ladies have done an outstanding job."
Former Baylor All-American Trayvon Bromell won the open section of the men's 100 in 10.04 seconds, just missing the stadium record (10.02) he set at last year's meet.
"I told him the big thing was we wanted to do was have a clean race," said associate coach Mike Ford, who still works with the New Balance-sponsored Bromell. "I said if I had to nit-pick on something it's that his hands were a little wide at the set position. They were a little wide, wider than I normally see them. I know he did it at the USAs in the prelims, too, and we made an adjustment. But other than that, I thought it was a solid race for him."
Bromell turned down a chance to go against Powell and an elite open field in the 200 that included former NCAA indoor champ Diondre Batson and Ryan Bailey, an Olympic silver medalist and American record-holder in the 4x100 relay.
"We were going to run the 200 just to keep the fitness going," Ford said. But honestly, I think the flu put him back a little bit, because he didn't have a lot of energy after the 100. He was like, `Coach, let's go ahead and not run (the 200).' Being more cautious than I normally like to be, I was like, `You know what, we'll just run a 100, get a solid week next week and the week after.' His next race won't be until May 20."
After Wariner won the open section of the 400 with a time of 45.72, London outdid the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and former Baylor All-American by chasing down Tech's Collins down the stretch in the closing 400-meter heat.
"To be knocking on the door (of breaking the 45-second barrier) at this point of the season, with so many big ones left, that's pretty amazing," Harbour said. "It shows you what kind of company he's in, to go in there with (former Baylor All-Americans Deon Minor and Zeke Jefferson). I'm really, really happy for him, especially being a hometown boy. He stayed here, so it's good for him."
Getting tangled up with Collins at the finish line, London jumped up and confronted the Tech runner after falling to the track.
"He's got to tone that down a little bit. If it wasn't a home meet, who knows," Harbour said. "You can't do that, even if you feel like you've been pushed. . . . They're always going to get the second guy."
Baylor's other event title came from sophomore Kiana Hawn in the 400 hurdles (57.81). Former Arizona State standout Jasmine Hyder won the pro section in 57.0.
While the 4x400 relay is typically one of Baylor's strongest, the "banged-up" Bears didn't fare too well in the meet's closing event. A women's "B" relay of Jessica Purtell, Hawn, Ashley Fields and Amanda Dillon won its heat and placed sixth overall in 3:43.38, while the men's quartet of Isaiah Duke, Caleb Dickson, Brandon Moore and London placed fourth in 3:06.68.
"Regardless of us not having our best guys out there, we all train and do the same workouts," London said, "so we always have to be ready for anything that happens. For us to lose at our home meet, it is disappointing, because this is a big track meet. But we have to take the loss and roll with it and get ready for the next meet."
After back-to-back home meets, Baylor will compete in the Drake Relays that begin Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.