April 25, 2007
WACO, Texas -
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The Baylor track and field team will compete at the 2007 Drake Relays Thursday through Saturday, April 26-28, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Bears enter the meet following an impressive showing last weekend at the Michael Johnson Classic at the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex in Waco, Texas. The Bears recorded 21 regional qualifying marks, the most ever in Baylor history at a single meet.
Highlighting the event was the mile relay, Baylor's signature event. The defending NCAA Indoor National Champion Bears battled an elite relay team composed of three former Olympians, all of whom train in Waco under the direction of track legend Clyde Hart. Baylor came in second to the Waco All-Stars, Sanjay Ayres, Jeremy Wariner, Joe Shelton, and Darold Williamson, but set a time of 5:05.30 over the 440-yard track. The time, when converted to a 4x400-meter relay, gives Baylor the nation's best time at 3:04.10.
Baylor will bring eight individual competitors and eight relay teams to this weekend's meet. Leading the way in the individual competitions are Lyndsy Bedell (Plano, Texas) and Monique Ortega (El Paso, Texas) in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. Both Lady Bears have already regionally qualified in the event, with Bedell posting a 10:24.01 and Ortega clocking 10:48.70 at the Stanford Invitational.
Courtney Thomas (Kilgore, Texas) and Trey Harts (Lake Charles, La.) will be competing in the men's 100 meters, with preliminary heats on Friday afternoon and finals on Saturday. Thomas recorded a blistering time of 10.31 to win the Michael Johnson Classic last Saturday. The time, Thomas' fourth regional qualifying time of the season in the event, ranks second in the Big 12, third in the Mid-West Region, and 14th in the nation. Harts recorded a regional qualifying time of 10.46 at the Michael Johnson Classic in his first running of the 100 meters this season. His time ranks 10th in the Big 12 and 13th in the Mid-West Region.
Four other Baylor runners will look to post regional qualifying times in the final meet before the 2007 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. Mitch Sanders (Katy, Texas) clocked 3:48.83 in the men's 1,500 meters last weekend. His time was one second off the regional time of 3:47.80. Bo Price (Atlanta, Texas) will compete in the men's 5,000 meters for the first time this season. His personal-best in the event of 14:52.39 came last year at the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, and the regional mark stands at 14:10. Jessi Barnes (Bentonville, Ark.) and Renae Van Whye (Collierville, Tenn.) are scheduled to run in the women's 5,000 meters on Thursday evening. Both are capable of breaking the regional mark of 16:52, as Van Whye holds Baylor's season-best time in the event at 16:57.91, while Barnes is second with 17:33.87.
Baylor has set regional qualifying times in the 4x100-meter relay and 4x400-meter relay on both the men's and women's side. The men's time of 3:04.10 in the 4x400-meter relay is the fastest in the nation, while their time of 39.68 in the 4x100-meter relay ranks second in the Big 12, second in the Mid-West Region, and 10th in the nation. The women's 4x400-meter relay team has a season-best time of 3:36.51, ranking second in the Big 12 and third in the Mid-West Region. The women's time of 45.16 in the 4x100-meter relay ranks fifth in the Big 12 and seventh in the Mid-West Region.
The women's distance medley relay team earned All-America honors during the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships. Current Baylor runners hold both the indoor and outdoor school records in the event. The men's sprint medley relay finished second at the Texas Relays with a time of 3:19.04 in its only race this season. The women's 4x800-meter relay team finished second at the Texas Relays, setting a new school record at 8:41.63. The men's 4x200-meter relay and the women's 4x1,600-meter relay team have not competed yet this season.