May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - The Baylor track and field team will have 16 student-athletes representing it in 11 events at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships, after qualifying in five more events on the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Saturday.
"The nature of this meet is that it forces you to be on," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We have got a total of 16 qualified in 11 events, so overall you have to say it was a really, really good weekend for us. We had some that you probably weren't expected to make it that did and we had a couple that we thought had a really good shot to make it out that didn't, so it is just a tradeoff."
Over the course of three days of competition, Baylor got four relay teams and seven individuals through to the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8.
Saturday's additions to Baylor's qualified contingent included Ashley Fields in the 200 meters and both the men's and women's relay teams at the 400-meter and mile distances.
Using a personal-best time of 23.27, Fields secured a ticket to the NCAA Finals site by taking second in her heat of the 200 meters. The freshman was in a close race with six runners as she turned down the homestretch, but with a strong final kick she cruised to the finish line as the runner up. Overall, her time was fourth-best on the day.
"I was really excited," Fields said. "I was nervous, excited, all of those feelings, because I knew it was the top three; that was it. I didn't want to wait around if I got fourth and see if I made it. I did that, so I'm excited. I just need to work on my endurance a little bit more and really getting out hard, because that's really the weak point in my race. I know if I can get out a lot harder, I know my race will come together more smoothly."
To close out the event, Baylor's women's 4x400-meter relay team of Idia Omogiate, Fields, Olicia Williams and Raena Rhone was outraced at the finish line to take fourth in its heat with a time of 3:32.71. However that mark was good enough to get qualified based on time as the ninth fastest on the day.
BU's men's quartet for the 4x400-meter relay of Justin Allen, Isaiah Duke, Drew Seale and Blake Heriot took over the lead during Duke's leg and held it until the very beginning of the anchor leg. Despite a furious charge by Heriot down the home stretch, the Bears ended up second in their heat, which automatically qualified them for nationals. Overall, BU had the sixth-fastest time on the day.
Both sprint relays got through to Eugene, Ore., with season-best times. The women's squad of Justine Charbonnet, Fields, Omogiate and Justise Dayries finished fourth in its heat with a time of 44.946. With only the top three in each heat advancing automatically, BU was forced to wait for the completion of the final heat to see its fate. With the 12th fastest time on the day, the quartet made it by .002 seconds just besting UCLA, which was in the same flight.
Baylor's men 4x100 team used a strong third leg from newcomer Mark'Quis Frazier and a solid closing leg from Alex Reece to win its heat in 39.68. With Allen and Heriot running the first two legs, Baylor secured the fourth-best time overall.
BU also had a few more close misses on Saturday. Freshman Brianna Richardson came up just half of an inch short of qualifying in the triple jump for Eugene, Ore., with a leap of 41-10.0 [12.75m] on her final attempt of the day. Skylar White was looking for a return trip to NCAA Finals site, but took 17th in the shot put with a heave of 52-2.0 [15.90m] to finish 17th overall and miss out on a chance for three more throws by one spot and two inches.
The full list of Baylor's qualifiers includes 16 individuals in 11 events: Erin Atkinson (women's hammer), Desmine Hilliard (men's discus), Skylar White (women's discus), Ashley Fields (200, 4x100, 4x400), Blake Heriot (400, 4x100, 4x400), Christina Holland (400 hurdles), Olicia Williams (800, 4x400), Justine Charbonnet (4x100), Justise Dayries (4x100), Idia Omogiate (4x100, 4x400), Raena Rhone (4x400), Justin Allen (4x100, 4x400), Mark'Quis Frazier (4x100), Alex Reece (4x100), Drew Seale (4x400) and Isaiah Duke (4x400).
Baylor's 11 qualified entries will continue their season at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore, at Hayward Field on June 5-8.
COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
(placing based on heat finish, not overall result)
** = Advanced to NCAA Finals site
200 Meters Second Round
4. Ashley Fields (FR) - 23.27**
1,500 Meters Second Round
17. Mariah Kelly (SO) - 4:24.82
110 Hurdles Second Round
17. Bryce Grace (FR) - 13.94
12. Baylor (Charbonnet, Fields, Omogiate, Dayries) - 44.946** (season best)
3. Baylor (Allen, Heriot, Frazier, Reece) - 39.68** (season best)
10. Baylor (Omogiate, Fields, Williams, Rhone) - 3:32.71**
5. Baylor (Allen, Duke, Seale, Heriot) - 3:05.75**
13. Brianna Richardson (FR) - 41-10.0 [12.75m]
20. Felix Obi (FR) - 50-6.25 [15.40m]
17. Skylar White (SR) - 52-2.0 [15.90m]
35. Blake Mayberry (SO) - 197-6 [60.19m]