June 14, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa -
The Baylor men's 4x400-meter relay won its fourth straight national title and the Bears added four individual and one relay All-America performance on the final day of competition at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
Baylor clocked a season-best time of 3:00.22 dropping more than two seconds off its previous season best of 3:02.38 at the Texas Relays. Baylor's time ranks as the fastest in the world this year. The time also ranks as the second-fastest in Baylor history and the fifth-fastest in NCAA history. Last year Baylor ran 3:00.04 at the outdoor championship meet to set a school record with the fourth-fastest time in collegiate history. The time also breaks the Drake Stadium record of 3:00.78 set by Southern Illinois in 1984.
Marcus Boyd led off for Baylor, splitting 45.4 seconds out of the blocks to give the Bears the lead at the first exchange. Justin Boyd was first to the break and held the lead on the backstretch. Kentucky made a move on the curve to pull even with Baylor, but Boyd kicked down the homestretch to give Baylor the edge with a 45.6 seconds split.
LeJerald Betters widened the gap on the third leg, moving Baylor into a 20-meter lead with a 44.3 seconds split going into the anchor leg. Quentin Iglehart-Summers took the stick with a commanding lead and stretched the margin even more with a 44.4 seconds split. Iglehart-Summers, who anchored Baylor to a school-record time last season and missed the indoor national championships with a leg injury, anchored the Bears to the win by nearly two full seconds.
"Once I saw that Marcus and Justin had put us in the lead I knew we were in good shape," said Betters. "I was a little tired after the open 400 finals, but with the lead I knew that I could just stay relaxed through the first part of the race and then have a good kick for the end."
Baylor wins its 10th outdoor 4x400-meter relay title in school history, and has been in the final heat the past 29 years. Including its eight indoor 4x400-meter relay titles, Baylor has 18 total national championships in the event. The Bears finished in the top-three in the event finals for the 23rd time in outdoor history, and the 40th time overall (including both indoor and outdoor seasons).
"We knew that we had some pressure on us," said Iglehart-Summers. "When you run for Baylor you always know that people expect you to be up front in the 4x4. We were excited to win and know that we did what we expected coming into the race."
Baylor has now won four-straight 4x400-meter relay titles, claiming both the indoor and outdoor championships in 2007 and 2008. That streak ranks second in NCAA history for consecutive victories in the 4x400-meter relay. Baylor also holds the NCAA record, winning five straight relay titles from the 1990 indoor championships through the 1992 indoor title.
Baylor won both the indoor and outdoor national titles in the 4x400-meter relay for the fifth time in school history. Baylor last accomplished the feat in 2007, as the Bears won indoors with the fastest time in the world in 2007 and outdoors with a new school record in the event. The Bears also swept the indoor and outdoor titles in 2004 and won four straight championships during the 1990 and 1991 seasons.
The feat of winning both indoor and outdoor mile relay championships in the same season has only happened 11 times in the 44-year history of running both indoor and outdoor national meets, with Baylor responsible for five of those occurrences. Remarkably, five of the ten repeat winners have come in the past six years as Baylor pulled off the feat in 2004, 2007 and 2008, and LSU won both titles in 2003 and 2006.
The victory in the 4x400-meter relay is the 29th-straight victory against collegiate, dating back to the beginning of the 2007 indoor season. Baylor last lost to an NCAA team in the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships when the Bears finished third overall.
Beginning with its first 4x400-meter relay national championship in 1985, the Baylor men's team has dominated the event like no other. The Bears have claimed 10 outdoor national championships and eight indoor titles. Baylor's 18 total championships in the 4x400-meter relay rank first in collegiate history with Oklahoma and UCLA (10 titles) tied for second place. Baylor relays have earned All-America status for 29 straight seasons and have finished in the top three on 40 occasions (including indoor and outdoor).
Baylor ran the 4x400-meter relay under 3:01 for just the 23rd time in NCAA history. The Bears are responsible for 10 of those times (43.5%), while UCLA ranks second with three such races (13.0%). The Bears clocked a time under 3:02 on Saturday, a feat that has been accomplished only 77 times in NCAA history. Baylor relays have recorded 32 of those times (41.6%), while Arizona State is second in collegiate history with six such occurrences (7.8%). Additionally, 211 4x400-meter relay teams have run under 3:03 in NCAA history, with Baylor responsible for 69 of those times (32.7%). LSU ranks second with 14 all-time races (6.6%) under 3:03.
The Baylor men scored 27 points to tie for seventh overall in the team competition. The Bears earn their highest finish since 2004 when the Bears placed seventh with 27 team points. The Lady Bears finished in a tie for 15th overall with 14 team points. The women's team ties its second-highest finish in school history as the Lady Bears took 15th with 14 points in 2000.
Betters finished third in the men's 400 meters with a personal-best time of 44.83, edging Jordan Boase of Washington by three one-thousandths of a second. Betters becomes the 10th Baylor runner in school history to break 45 seconds in the 400 meters. He is the first Baylor quartermiler to run a 44-second 400 meters since Darold Williamson clocked 44.27 at the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships. His time ranks 10th on the Baylor all-time list and is the sixth-fastest time in the United States this year.
The women's 4x400-meter relay clocked 3:32.67 to finish fourth overall in the event finals. Katrina Taylor led off for Baylor with a 53.6 seconds split out of the blocks to hand off in sixth place. Brittany Carr fell to eighth place on the backstretch, but kicked over the last 100 meters to hand off in sixth place with a 53.6 seconds split.
Tiffany Townsend, who earlier earned All-America honors in the 200 meters, fell to eighth place on the back straightaway, but started her move with 150 meters remaining. Townsend passed four teams in the final 100 meters to hand off in fourth place with a 52.3 seconds split. Carla Grace split 52.8 and nearly caught the South Carolina anchor with 100 meters to go, but could not make the pass as the Lady Bears finished fourth.
The fourth-place finish is the highest for Baylor since 1998 when the Lady Bears finished second overall. Fourth place is the second-highest finish ever for Baylor at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Lauren Hagans bettered her school record in the 1,500 meters, clocking 4:15.43 to finish seventh overall. Hagans got boxed in early and fell to the back of the pack, but started her move with 800 meters to go. The senior had to battle blisters on her feet over the final 300 meters to earn her first outdoor All-America honor.
Trey Harts finished seventh in the men's 200 meters to earn his second All-America honor in the event this year. Tiffany Townsend placed eighth in the women's 200 meters to earn her second 200 meter All-America honor of the year.
The NCAA Championships marks the end of the season for the 2008 Baylor track and field teams. In total 11 athletes earned 12 All-America honors during the indoor season, while 15 runners acquired 22 All-America citations at the outdoor championships.
Marcus Boyd, Justin Boyd, LeJerald Betters, Quentin Iglehart-Summers - M. 4x400
LeJerald Betters - 400m
Justin Boyd - 400mh
Robert Griffin - 400mh
Lauren Hagans - 1,500m
Trey Harts - 200m
Tiffany Townsend - 200m
Brittany Bruce, Carla Grace, Brittany Carr, Tiffany Townsend - W. 4x100
Marcus Boyd, Trey Harts, Courtney Thomas, Jacob Norman - M. 4x100
Katrina Taylor, Brittany Carr, Tiffany Townsend, Carla Grace - W. 4x400
Marcus Boyd, Justin Boyd, LeJerald Betters, Quentin Iglehart-Summers - M. 4x400
1. Simone Facey (Texas A&M) - 22.63
8. Tiffany Townsend (Baylor) - 23.36
1. Hannah England (Florida State) - 4:06.19
7. Lauren Hagans (Baylor) - 4:15.43
1. Penn State - 3:27.69
4. Baylor - 3:32.67
1. Walter Dix (Florida State) - 20.40
7. Trey Harts (Baylor) - 20.97
1. Andretti Bain (Oral Roberts) - 44.62
3. LeJerald Betters (Baylor) - 44.83
1. Baylor - 3:00.22