May 31, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Baylor track and field team will have 20 student-athletes representing it with 18 entries into the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships, after qualifying 10 more entries on the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds at John McDonnell Field on Saturday.
Over the course of three days of competition, Baylor got four relay teams and 13 individual entries through to the NCAA Outdoor Championship in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14. Coming into the meet the Bears already had decathlete Henry Vildosola qualified for the national event.
Baylor's 18 entries are its most ever since the NCAA went to the two-region qualifying format in 2010. The Bears previous-best total of 16 entries came in that inaugural year of this qualifying process.
Baylor closed out the night in style by qualifying both of its 4x400-meter relay teams.
On the men's side, TJ Holmes, Drew Seale, George Caddick and Blake Heriot finished fourth in their heat with a time of 3:06.87. Heriot closed with a 46.2-second anchor leg to help that helped the Bears qualify on time for their 35th-straight NCAA Championships final site in the event.
The women's 4x4 crew took all the drama out of advancing and got an automatic spot by finishing as the second-fastest quartet in its heat with a time of 3:32.42. That mark was sixth overall and was aided with strong legs from Fields (52.0) and Rhone (52.1).
Everett Walker headlined the day for the Bears. He was the third leg on Baylor's 4x100-meter relay team that also included Reece, Heriot and Bromell. That quartet placed third in its heat with a time of 39.45 to automatically qualify for the national meet. A little over 90 minutes later, Walker returned to post a personal-best time of 20.49 in the 200 meters to win his heat and finish with the fourth-fastest time overall.
In the hurdles, Tiffani McReynolds earned a trip back to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2011. The four-time NCAA Indoor All-American recorded the third-fastest time in school history at 12.84 to win her 100-hurdle heat and tally the second-fastest time at the event.
Meanwhile in the 110-hurdles, Bryce Grace's day was a bit more suspenseful as he was forced to qualify on time. The sophomore was fifth in his heat with a mark of 13.80 and had to await the results from the third heat, before learning he had qualified for Eugene by being the 11th-fastest time overall.
Ashley Fields qualified in the 200-meter dash for the second straight year with a personal-best mark of 22.97 to be third in her heat. She also was a member of Baylor's NCAA-qualifying 4x100-meter relay team that included Jones, Nichols and Dayries. That crew put together a season-best time of 44.37 to be third in their heat.
Mariah Kelly produced the seventh-fastest 1,500-meter time in school history and was just a little over a second off her PR time to take third in her heat with a mark of 4:19.36. She earned her first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships with the performance.
Senior Erin Atkinson is headed back to Eugene for a second-straight season as she placed ninth in the hammer throw. The senior recorded the best throw of her day on the fifth attempt with a toss of 192-10 [58.78m].
The full list of Baylor's qualifiers includes 20 athletes, who earned 18 entries: Erin Atkinson (women's hammer), Trayvon Bromell (100, 4x100), George Caddick (4x400), Justise Dayries (4x100), Ashley Fields (200, 4x100, 4x400), Bryce Grace (110 hurdles), Blake Heriot (4x100, 4x400), TJ Holmes (400 hurdles, 4x400), Rachel Johnson (3K Steeplechase), Kehri Jones (4x100), Mariah Kelly (1,500), Tiffani McReynolds (100, 100 hurdles), Alyssa Nichols (4x100, 4x400), Alex Reece (4x100), Raena Rhone (400, 4x400), Brianna Richardson (triple jump), Drew Seale (4x400), Henry Vildosola (decathlon), Everett Walker (100, 200, 4x100) and Olicia Williams (4x400).
- Baylor has advanced its men's 4x100-meter relay team to the NCAA Championships for five straight years.
- Baylor has had its men's 4x400-meter squad at the NCAA Championships every year since 1980.
- Everett Walker will in the 100, 200 and 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Championships.
- Ashley Fields will be in the 200, 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay events at the NCAA Championships.
- Tiffani McReynolds will be in both the 100-meter dash and the 100-hurdles at the NCAA Championships.
- Desmine Hilliard just missed on making it to Eugene for a second-straight season as he finished 17th in the discus with a mark of 178-11 [54.55m].
- Blake Heriot (18th, 20.89) and Kehri Jones (21st, 24.06) both missed out on moving on in the 200 meters.
- Taije Jordan was two spots outside of qualifying in the 100-hurdles with a time of 13.47 to be 14th.
STAT OF THE DAY
8 - the number of Baylor athletes who will compete in at least two events at the NCAA Championships.
TOP QUOTE #1
"It was a good weekend; not perfect, but it was pretty good. It was very much businesslike. Some of it wasn't pretty, but we competed hard and gave ourselves a chance. And that's all you want, because there are huge casualties across the board in every event at this meet - people that were favored, people that were ranked in the top three or four that don't get through. So, whenever you get all of your ones out that were ranked coming in, that you felt had a really good shot, that's a huge deal." - head coach Todd Harbour on the last day of the NCAA West Preliminary Championships
TOP QUOTE #2
"The other thing that's huge for us is we're healthy. We came out of it really, really good, and didn't feel like you sold your soul here to accomplish what we did. Our end goal is to do well at the NCs in Oregon." - Harbour on looking forward to the NCAA Chamionships
Baylor's 18 qualified entries will continue their season at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., at Hayward Field on June 11-14.To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.
COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
** = Advanced to NCAA Finals site
200 Meters Second Round
7. Ashley Fields (SO) - 22.97** (personal best)
21. Kehri Jones (JR) - 24.06
4. Everett Walker (SR) - 20.49** (personal best)
18. Blake Heriot (SR) - 20.89
1,500 Meters Second Round
4. Mariah Kelly (SR) - 4:19.36** (seventh-best in school history)
110 Hurdles Second Round
11. Bryce Grace (SO) - 13.80**
5. Baylor (Kehri Jones, Ashley Fields, Alyssa Nichols, Justise Dayries) - 44.37** (season best)
5. Baylor (Alex Reece, Blake Heriot, Everett Walker, Trayvon Bromell) - 39.45**
6. Baylor (Alyssa Nichols, Ashley Fields, Olicia Williams, Raena Rhone) - 3:32.42**
10. Baylor (TJ Holmes, Drew Seale, George Caddick, Blake Heriot) - 3:06.87**
9. Erin Atkinson (SR) - 192-10 [58.78m]**
17. Desmine Hilliard (JR) - 178-11 [54.55m]