May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - After waiting out a rain storm for over six hours, Baylor's track and field team had four student-athletes, Blake Heriot, Christina Holland, Olicia Williams and Skylar White, earn a spot into the NCAA Championships, while two others qualified for the second round at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on Friday.
"We are really excited for Blake, Christina, Olicia and Skylar for advancing to nationals," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We had some ups and downs today, but I was proud of the way all our athletes stayed focused even with the rain delay. Tomorrow should be another exciting day, ending with the relays."
With the women's discus underway, a lightning strike in the area of Mike A. Myers Stadium halted competition at 1:45 p.m. The rain started less than 20 minutes later and continued off and on for the next five hours. Meet officials were then able to dry the track so that the running events, which were slated to start at 5 p.m., got underway at 8 p.m. The full schedule for the day was still contested, but just ran three hours behind schedule with the final event getting started at 12:30 a.m..
After finishing 13th in the 400 meters a year ago and one spot out of qualifying for the Finals site, Blake Heriot left no doubt of his status this year with a time of 46.51 to place second in his heat. Just as he did on Thursday in the first round, the junior charged back from an early deficit to move up from sixth to second in the final 100 meters. Heriot's time was sixth-best on the day.
"It feels really good," Heriot said. "We have been working all year on executing and I executed really well today. The time wasn't as fast as I wanted, but the conditions were a little wet, so with all that said I feel like I ran a great race."
Using a personal-best time of 2:05.20, freshman Olicia Williams took third in her heat of the 800-meters to automatically qualify for the NCAA Finals site. In the early stages of the race, she was part of a pack of six runners, but in the final 100 meters, Williams was able to outrace Nebraska's Shawnice Williams by .06 seconds to take third and finish eighth overall. The mark was also the second-best time outdoors in school history.
"I am really happy and excited," Williams said. "I see my hard work in practice with Coach Harbour paid off."
Christina Holland is headed back to the NCAA Finals site for a second straight season, following a time of 57.26 in the 400-hurdles. The senior finished second in her heat to automatically qualify as she used a strong final kick out of lane four to finish just .56 seconds off the lead in the heat and sixth overall.
"I am really relieved," Holland said. "It has been a long day with the rain delay. I didn't run the race I wanted to run in the 100-hurdles, so I tried to make up for it here."
With a toss of 177-4 [54.05m] in the discus, Skylar White garnered her fourth straight trip to the NCAA Finals site. The senior was sitting in 10th until her final through of the day when she unleashed the competition's fourth-best mark.
"I was almost going to be satisfied with 10th, but I said, `No, I got to do better than that,'" White said. "I knew I was not a 52-meter thrower, so I asked the Lord to let me have fun again and on that last one I had fun."
In first round action, Bryce Grace secured a spot in to the second round, after turning in a 14.25 in the 110-hurdles. He finished sixth in the first of six heats, but his time was good enough to be one of 24 to makes Saturday's quarterfinals.
Freshman Ashley Fields also qualified for the second round by taking second in her heat of the 200 meters with a time of 23.61. After failing to qualify for the Finals site in the 100 meters earlier the day by taking 19th in 11.92, Fields will have a shot to claim a spot in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday in the 200 meters.
The Bears also had a couple of near misses on day two in the 200 meters. Justise Dayries' mark of 24.04 was only .006 seconds outside of qualifying for the second round, while on the men's side Alex Reece missed making it to Saturday by .01 with a time of 21.42.
Baylor will be back on the track on Saturday for the final day of action in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds at Mike A. Myers Stadium. Field events begin at noon, followed by running events starting at 6 p.m.
COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
Q or q = Advanced to Second Round
(placing based on heat finish, not overall result)
** = Advanced to NCAA Finals site
100 Meters Second Round
19. Ashley Fields (FR) - 11.92
25. Alex Reece (FR) - 21.42
400 Meters Second Round
21. Raena Rhone (SO) - 54.46
800 Meters Second Round
8. Olicia Williams (FR) - 2:05.20** (personal-best & second-best in school history)
100 Hurdles First Round
31. Christina Holland (SR) - 14.10
110 Hurdles First Round
23. Bryce Grace (FR) - 14.25q
400 Hurdles Second Round
8. Christina Holland (JR) - 57.58**
40. Rachel Johnson (SO) - 10:49.59
t3. Skylar White (SR) - 177-4 [54.05m]**