COMPLETE WOMEN'S ENTRIES | COMPLETE MEN'S ENTRIES
INDIANAPOLIS - The Baylor track and field team had eight entries accepted in to the field for the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships, the NCAA Committee announced late Tuesday.
The NCAA Indoor Championships are scheduled for March 10-11 in College Station, Texas. In new rankings released by the USTFCCCA Tuesday, the Baylor women are ranked No. 16 in the country, while the men are 68th.
The eight entries are one less than the Bears had last season, but the tally still is the third-most for the Bears since the NCAA switched to the current format of selection in 2013. Baylor had a school-record 11 selections in 2015, five entries three years ago and seven entries in the first year of the new selection process.
On the women's side, BU will be represented in five individual events and by its 4x400-meter relay. The participants for the women are Taylor Bennett (200m & 4x4), Leticia De Souza (400m & 4x4), Kiana Hawn (4x4), Cion Hicks (shot put), Kiana Horton (4x4), Aaliyah Miller (800m) and Annie Rhodes (pole vault).
The seven athletes in the individual events earned a spot in the field by being among the top 16 marks in the NCAA this season, while the relay had to be in the country's top-12 fastest times to gain entry. Caddick and Rhodes are the only two Bears in the group who have earned a prior indoor All-America honor. Caddick was the anchor for last season's third-place 4x400-meter relay, while Rhodes placed eighth in the pole vault in 2015. However, Baylor's has four other athletes who gained NCAA Indoor Championship experience in 2016, including Bennett, Hawn, Hicks and Horton.
In 2016, the Baylor men finished tied for 34th-place with seven points at the meet. The Bears have scored in every NCAA indoor meet since 1981, 36 straight years. On the women's side, BU didn't score last season as Hicks and Rhodes each finished 10th in their respective events, while the 4x4 relay that included Bennett, Hawn and Horton was disqualified for not completing the race with possession of the baton. Individually, Bennett placed 14th and 15th in the 60 and 200-meter events last season.
This season, Bennett, a sophomore, owns the NCAA's 11th-fastest 200-meter time (23.00). Due to athletes above Bennett scratching out, she will enter the meet with the ninth-best mark. At last weekend's Big 12 Championship, the Spring, Texas, product was second in the 200-meter dash. She achieved her season-best time at the Tyson Invitational.
De Souza, a junior transfer, has a best mark of 52.54 in the 400 meters to be 12th in the NCAA. She set that mark, which is the second-fastest in school history, at the Tyson Invitational. At the Big 12 Championship, De Souza placed third in a time of 52.62.
Hicks, ranks No. 7 in the shot put with a heave of 56-11.25 [17.35m], which she tallied at the Tyson Invitational in February. That mark is the third-best throw in school history for the senior. Last time out at the conference indoor meet, Hicks won her first Big 12 title with a throw of 54-9.25 [16.69m].
Miller, a freshman, had a school record performance at the Iowa State Classic of 2:02.89 in the 800 meters. That time is fifth-best time in the NCAA. Miller ran the 1,000-meter event at the Big 12 Championship where she was fourth.
For a third-straight season, Rhodes will represent BU at the meet. She heads into the 2017 championships with the fifth-best vault in the country at 14-5.25 [4.40m]. The senior produced that school record tying mark at the Rod McCravy Memorial. Rhodes won her first indoor conference title at the Big 12 Championship last weekend.
The women's 4x400-meter relay is returning to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the second-straight year. Baylor owns the ninth-fastest qualifying time in the NCAA by running a school-record time of 3:32.09 to place second at the McCravy meet. That time was produced with the lineup of Bennett, Hawn, Horton and De Souza.
On the men's side, Caddick used a personal-best 400-meter time of 46.17 to win the Big 12 Indoor title. That time got the senior Bear into the NCAA field as the 12th-fastest time. Caddick will be competing individually at the meet for the first time, after being on BU's third-place 4x4 relay last season.
Freshman Max Willis followed Caddick's lead, winning the Big 12 Indoor 200-meter title in a personal-best time of 20.76. That mark is No. 15 nationally as he is the only freshman in the event. Willis just missed on getting in to the meet in the 60-meter event as well. He was tied for the 17th-fastest time in the country in that event (6.65).
ESPN3 will stream the meet live on March 11 and 12, starting at 5:25 p.m. CT on Friday and 3:55 p.m. CT on the second day of action. A tape delay of the championship will air Sunday, March 13 starting at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
For more information regarding the Division I indoor track and field championships, log on to www.ncaa.com.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.