May 15, 2017
LAWRENCE, Kan. - On the final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championship, the Baylor track and field team claimed four more event titles at Rock Chalk Park Sunday.
Taking the top spot on the podium for Baylor was Taylor Bennett (200 meters), Wil London (400 meters), Maxwell Willis (200 meters) and the men's 4x400-meter relay of Willis, London, Chris Platt and George Caddick. That quartet's victories combined with Annie Rhodes' pole vault title from Saturday gave BU five event titles at the meet.
The two women's event champions helped the Lady Bears place third with 123 points. That point tally is the most in school history, surpassing the previous best of 113.5 points established in 2014. BU's third-place showing also allowed the women to finish in the top four of the team standings for the fifth time in six years.
Meanwhile, the three event titles for the men's squad helped the Bears to score 78 points for a fifth-place finish overall. BU has been top-five in the team standings at the meet in three of the last four years.
In total, Baylor had 30 competitors earn 48 All-Big 12 honors during the meet with the women having 18 individuals tally 30 honors and the men's squad producing 12 athletes, who secured 18 accolades.
Willis was the lone Bear to record All-Big 12 honors in four events. Individually, the freshman Bear captured the 200-meter crown with a time of 20.10 (4.0m/s). Running out of lane five, Willis used a solid start and came off the curve with a slight advantage, before extending that lead over the final 100 meters to win by .23 seconds. He is the fourth BU athlete to win an outdoor 200-meter crown, joining Brandon Couts (1998 & 2000), Reggie Witherspoon (2007) and Trayvon Bromell (2015).
Earlier in the day he had finished third in the 100-meters with a time of 10.05. Overcoming a slow start, Willis was one of three runners who came to the finish line in a group, but he was out-leaned at the tape to take bronze.
Willis closed out his night by running the leadoff leg for the title-winning 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:04.60. On the second leg, sophomore Wil London moved from first to fifth over the final 200 meters to hand the baton to Chris Platt in a virtual tie with Texas Tech. Platt trailed Texas Tech's third runner throughout the third leg and handed off to senior George Caddick a step behind the Red Raiders.
However, Caddick shot to the front with 175 meters to go and never lost the advantage. The title in the event was Baylor's 15th in the 21-year history of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship.
The freshman Bear opened his day on the track by anchoring the men's 4x100-meter relay to a second-place finish in 39.75. BU got off to a fast start with Malik Wilson and Wil London holding the early advantage through two legs. However, Antwuan Musgrove's handed the baton to Willis just behind Texas and despite closing the gap he was unable to catch the Longhorns.
For the meet, Willis contributed 20.5 points to the men's total, which was more than any other athlete in the field, to earn Big 12 high-point scorer honors. He racked up six points in the 100 meters, 10 points in the 200 meters, 2 points as a member of the 4x100-meter relay and 2.5 points as a leg for the 4x400-meter squad.
For a second-straight year, Wil London won the 400-meter outdoor title with a time of 45.72. London used a ferocious final 150 meters to seal up the victory. The Waco, Texas, product's greatest competition over the final 100 meters was teammate from George Caddick, who finished second in 46.13. The senior Bear controlled the race from 125 to 250 meters, before London took over. London tallied Baylor's 13th-title in the event in the 21-year history of the meet. He became the first BU athlete to win the race in back-to-back years since LeJerald Betters in 2007 and 2008. Caddick secured his third-straight All-Big 12 honor in the event, after winning in 2014 and placing third a year ago.
After a false start in the 100-meter prelims, Taylor Bennett secured sweet revenge by winning the 200-meter crown in a school record time of 22.47. The sophomore Bear left no doubt with a strong first 100 meters and then cruised to the finish line to win by .36 seconds. Bennett best the previous BU record of Tiffany Townsend of 22.58, which was set in 2011.
Besides its four event crowns, Baylor's teams had a combined seven runner-up finishes on Sunday and 10 for the meet.
Senior Maggie Montoya had a pair of those runner-up finishes. In the 1,500 meters, she clocked a time of 4:36.20. After a slow opening 400 meters, the pace quickened and Montoya remained in the front of the pack. With 400 meters to go Oklahoma State's Kaela Edwards kicked up the pace another notch and while Montoya hung near the lead for about 50 meters, she couldn't reel Edwards back in, but still claimed her third-straight All-Big 12 honor in the event.
For a second-straight year, Montoya was the runner-up in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:26.17. The senior raced near the lead for much of the race, but with two laps remaining eventual champion Sharon Lokedi took over and won the event by 10 seconds.
To open the scoring on the final day for Baylor, senior Cion Hicks placed second in the discus. For her third All-Big 12 honor in the last four years, Hicks used the second-best throw in school history (187-6 [57.16m]) on her final attempt. After improving on her second, third and fifth attempts, Hicks saved her best effort for last.
Despite a slow start, Rhys Phillips placed second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.72 (5.5m/s). He has now carded All-Big 12 honors in the event for three-straight years. In the 400-meter hurdles, Kiana Hawn snagged her third-straight All-Big 12 accolade by taking second in 57.75.
To close out the women's scoring, the 4x400-meter relay of Victoria Powell, Kian Hawn, Taylor Bennett and Leticia De Souza notched a runner-up placing with the fourth-fastest time in school history at 3:30.34.
After a botched final hand-off, the women's 4x100-meter relay of Kiana Horton, Taylor Bennett, Juanita Mainoo and Jhane' King placed fourth in 45.04.
Kiana Horton placed seventh in the 100-meters with a time of 11.56 to secure two more points for the Bears.
In the triple jump, senior Brianna Richardson followed Hicks' lead with her best jump on her final attempt. She popped a mark of 44-7 [13.59m] (4.0m/s), which ranks seventh-best in school history.
Rachel Toliver scored one point for the Bears in the triple jump by taking eighth in 42-10.75 [13.07m].
Greyson Gonzalez scored one point in the pole vault by clearing a personal-best of 16-9.25 [5.11m] in the pole vault.
The Lady Bears produced 10 points in the 400 meters with junior Leticia DeSouza taking third in 53.42 and freshman Victoria Powell earning fifth in 54.25.
BU's women actually scored a total of 17 points in the event as Lindsey Bradley (16:32.40) was third, Anna West was seventh (16:46.11) and Peyton Thomas (16:46.28).
The Lady Bears also racked up major in the 200 meters with Horton (23.35) and Mainoo (23.51) bolstering Bennett's win with sixth and eighth-place finishes respectively.
Defending Big 12 triple jump champion, Felix Obi was held out of competition due to injury.
TOP QUOTE #1
"We won five titles and had 10 runner-ups. You just can't ask for anything more than that. It was great finishing with a win in the men's 4x400-meter relay and Maxwell (Willis) getting the high-point scorer. There were a lot of highs. It was a great meet. There was a lot of heart. Across the board and over and over again our athletes just stepped up." - head coach Todd Harbour on the meet
TOP QUOTE #2
"It was our most points ever on the ladies side and we have a lot of young ones coming back. They fought to the end, but we just got beat by a little better team this weekend. However, I thought they performed well. I am really proud of them." - Harbour on the women's third-place team finish
The Bears will now have a weekend off from competition, before competing at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas, May 25-27.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.
All-Conference Performers (30 individuals, 48 honors)
Women (18 individuals, 30 honors)
Taylor Bennett (200m, 4x1, 4x4), Lindsey Bradley (5,000m, 10,000m), Leticia De Souza (400m, 4x4), Carly Grandcolas (heptathlon), Kiana Hawn (400h, 4x4), Cion Hicks (discus, shot put), Kiana Horton (100m, 200m, 4x1), Jhane' King (4x1), Juanita Mainoo (200m, 4x1), Maggie Montoya (1,500m, 5,000m), Jenna Pfeiffer (heptathlon), Victoria Powell (400m, 4x4), Annie Rhodes (pole vault), Brianna Richardson (triple jump), Megan SaxvanderWeyden (javelin), Peyton Thomas (5,000m, 10,000m), Rachel Toliver (triple jump), Anna West (5,000m)
Men (12 individuals, 18 honors)
George Caddick (400m, 4x4), Greyson Gonzalez (pole vault), Chase Hood (decathlon), Luke Littlefield (decathlon), Wil London (400m, 4x1, 4x4), Antwuan Musgrove (4x1), Rhys Phillips (110h), Chris Platt (4x4), Hunter Powell (decathlon), Ricky Sanchez (javelin), Maxwell Willis (100m, 200m, 4x1, 4x4), Malik Wilson (4x1)