May 13, 2017
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Baylor track and field athletes set four school records, including the title-winning pole vault effort of senior Annie Rhodes, on the second day of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship Saturday at Rock Chalk Park.
Rhodes won outdoor pole vault gold for the second-straight year with a record-setting clearance of 15-1.5 [4.61m].
The senior from Waco has now won three conference crowns in her career, including 2017's Big 12 Indoor title. However, Rhodes' effort Saturday went far behind the top-step of the conference podium as the clearance was a school record, a Big 12 Championship meet record and a Rock Chalk Park facility record. It currently ranks No. 1 in the NCAA and No. 8 in the world for 2017. Rhodes joins five other women in the sports history, who have ever cleared that height in NCAA competition.
A year ago, Rhodes won her first Big 12 trophy by clearing 14-5.5 [4.41m], after a second-place finish in 2015 and taking bronze at the 2014 outdoor conference meet. Rhodes' path to the 2017 outdoor title was relatively stress free as she entered the competition at 13-3.75 [4.06m] and proceeded to clear her first four bars on first attempts. She was the only competitor in the field to make 14-3.5 [4.36m] and then raised the bar to 14-9.5 [4.51], which she cleared on a second attempt to break her own school and the Big 12 meet record held by Texas' Kaitlin Petrillose 14-6.25 [4.43m]. Rhodes then proceeded to set the bar to the 15-1.5 [4.61m] height and after narrowly missing on her first try, she cleared the bar with ease to cap a historic performance.
Senior Cion Hicks followed her victory in the indoor shot put by placing second Saturday outdoors. Despite notching a school record throw of 56-10.25 [17.33m] on her second attempt, Hicks was unable to improve on that mark and came up short against the Big 12 Championship record tally of Oklahoma's Jessica Woodard (60-3 [18.36m]). It was still the fourth All-Big 12 honor of Hicks' career in the event.
In the heptathlon competition, Jenna Pfeiffer placed second by tallying a school record of 5,584 points. After the first day of competition, Pfeiffer sat in second place and held that position throughout the three events on Saturday.
The senior opened her final day of action with a personal-best leap of 18-0.25 [5.49m] in the long jump. Next in the javelin, Pfeiffer set her first school record of the day by throwing 154-8 [47.15m] on her third attempt. In the final event, Pfeiffer scored 858 points by running the 800 meters in 2:17.47. That point tally coupled with her performance in the previous six events allowed her to best her own school record tally from earlier this year at the Texas Relays (5,500pts.). Pfeiffer scored in the event for the third time in her career, after placing third in 2015 (5,141pts.) and seventh in 2014 (5,131pts.).
Meanwhile, fellow senior Carly Grandcolas scored in the heptathlon for the third-straight year by taking eighth with a personal-best mark of 5,037 points. She used a personal-best time of 2:23.31 in the 800 meters to close out the day and lock up a spot on the podium. Grandcolas was seventh in the event in 2016 (4,016pts.) and sixth in 2015 (4,866pts.).
In the decathlon, Chase Hood led a trio of Bears, who earned a spot on the podium, by placing second with a personal-best point tally of 7,083 points, which is also the third-best decathlon total in school history.
Hood bolstered his total on the second day of action with career-best marks in the 110-meter hurdles (15.33) and discus (121-3.25 [36.96m]).
BU's two other decathlon competitors, Luke Littlefield (6,830pts.) and Hunter Powell (6,804pts.) finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Littlefield had his best events in the hurdles (15.21) and the pole vault (15-5.5 [4.71m]). Powell used personal-best tallies in the 110-meter hurdles (16.20) and the pole vault (15-1.5 [4.61m] to notch the most points of his career.
RUNNING EVENTS PRELIMINARY ACTION
In the preliminary round of the running events, the Bears had 11 athletes earn 13 entries in to Sunday finals. The women have seven individuals and eight entries, while the men have four individuals and five entries.
Horton snuck into the 100-meter final with the eighth-fastest qualifying (11.46), but returned later in the evening to produce a heat when with a personal-best mark of 23.06 in the 200-meter to grab one of six auto-qualifying spots to the final.
Willis, a freshman, dazzled in his Big 12 Outdoor debut with the fastest 100-meter (10.03) and 200-meter (20.07) of any athlete in the field.
After a false start disqualified Taylor Bennett in the 100-meter prelims, she bounced back in the 200meters by winning her heat in 23.04. Junior Juanita Mainoo gave BU a third runner in the 200-meter final as she was the final qualifier in a career-best mark of 23.35.
The men and women both got two runners into the 400-meter finals. First, junior Leticia De Souza won her heat in 53.68, while freshman Victoria Powell advanced to the final on time with a mark of 53.88. On the men's side, George Caddick (46.10) and Wil London (46.34) produced the two-fastest 400-meter times on the day as each won their heat to auto-advance to the finals.
Maggie Montoya opened BU's running on day two by auto-advancing in the 1,500 meters by winning her heat in 4:29.21. The BU senior led the heat wire-to-wire.
Kiana Hawn was impressive in the 400-meter hurdles as she led for much of her and finished in 58.73. That mark was the third-fastest time on the day.
Rhys Phillips secured an automatic spot into the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, by placing second in his heat with a time of 14.00.
With the bulk of Baylor's points projected to come on Sunday, the Baylor women are currently sixth with 27 points, while the men are eighth with 18 points.
TOP QUOTE #1
"I was ecstatic when I cleared 14-9 and then going to 15-1.5, I think everybody heard me scream. I was just on fire when I cleared that bar. This is just the Lord's blessing - all the glory goes to Him. Just to be able to clear that on my birthday, I feel so loved today." - senior pole vaulter Annie Rhodes on her performance
Baylor athletes will be back on Sunday for the final day of the Big 12 Track and Field Championship. Field events start at 2:30 p.m. and running events get underway at 5 p.m.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.