Reggie Witherspoon was named High Point Performer and Nichole Jones set a new Baylor record in the women's 800 meters on the final day at the 2007 Big 12 Outdoor Championships at Ed Weir Stadium on Sunday.
Witherspoon (Marietta, Ga.) won the 200 meters, took second in the 400 meters, and helped Baylor to a victory in the men's 4x100-meter relay to earn High Point Performer honors. He also won the award earlier this season at the Big 12 Indoor Championships in Ames, Iowa. Witherspoon, a senior transfer from Florida, has earned High Point Performer honors in three of his four Big 12 Conference Championships, also accomplishing the feat at the 2006 Big 12 Indoor Championships.
"You can't say enough about Reggie," said head coach Todd Harbour. "For him to come into our program and really step up was great. He has only competed in four conference meets and he has been the high point winner three times, which is very impressive."
Jones (Spring, Texas) won the women's 800 meter title in a school-record time of 2:05.89, winning the race by more than two seconds. Jones, who graduated a year early from high school, became the youngest Big 12 Outdoor Champion in conference history (18 years, 44 days). By winning the 1,000 meters at the 2007 Big 12 Indoor Championships, Jones became the youngest ever Big 12 Champion (17 years, 332 days).
"First off I want to give glory to God," said Jones. "I knew this was going to be a tough race with the wind blowing. It was tough, but I gave it all I had. It was a really good field with some great times coming in to the race, and I'm just glad that I came out on top."
The Baylor men finished in seventh place overall with 67 team points, while the Lady Bears took 11th overall with 32 team points. The Oklahoma men (110.50) and Texas A&M women (140) won the team conference titles.
The men tied their seventh-place finish from the 2006 season, equaling the Bears' best finish since placing fourth at the 2001 Big 12 Outdoor Championships. The Lady Bears suffered their worst showing in school history, as Baylor's previous lowest finish came with a pair of eighth-place showings during the 1987 and 1988 seasons.
"Today was a day of a few highs mixed with a lot of lows," said Harbour. "We got a lot of great individual efforts from LeJerald and Reggie and Nichole and Danielle. I thought that our men's relays looked really good as well."
Baylor won three other event titles, taking the men's 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays and sweeping the top three spots in the men's 400 meters.
LeJerald Betters (Waco, Texas) overtook Witherspoon down the last straightaway to win his first individual Big 12 Championship in a nation-leading time of 45.33. Witherspoon finished second in 45.73, while Quentin Iglehart-Summers (San Antonio, Texas) placed third in a personal-best time of 45.84. J.T. Scheuerman (Littleton, Colo.) ran a season-best time of 46.64 to take sixth place.
"The difference for me today, was how I ran the third curve," said Betters. "Our team has some strong kickers, so I knew that I had a better chance of winning if I got out front early. Working with Reggie (Witherspoon) and Quentin (Iglehart-Summers) every day makes me better because if they outwork me then it shows at the meet. Hard workers make other people work harder too."
Baylor won the men's 4x400-meter relay title for the tenth straight time, dating back to the 1998 season. Including both indoor and outdoor seasons, Baylor has won 20 straight 4x400-meter relay conference titles. The Bears finished in a time of 3:03.94, their second-fastest time of the season, and the second-fastest time in the nation this year. Baylor now owns the top three times in the nation this season, and four of the top six marks in the country.
Iglehart-Summers led off for Baylor, with his split of 46.6 out of the blocks giving the Bears the early lead. Senior Mark Teter (San Antonio, Texas) ran the second leg for Baylor, splitting in 46.8 and even with Texas A&M at the second exchange. Kevin Mutai (Round Rock, Texas) split 45.4 to give Baylor an edge going into the anchor leg, and Betters widened the gap with a 44.5 split to give Baylor the win by nearly two seconds.
The Bears took top spot in the men's 4x100-meter relay in 39.65, the Bears' second-fastest time of the season. R.J. Anderson (Big Pine Key, Fla.) got out of the blocks quickly and passed to Witherspoon down the backstretch. Courtney Thomas (Kilgore, Texas) ran a hard curve and handed off to Trey Harts (Lake Charles, La.) who cruised to the win as Baylor was the only relay to run under 40 seconds.
"It felt good to win," said Thomas. "We started out kind of shaky, but we improved a lot of the season. The main thing now is to pass the stick at Regionals and qualify for Nationals. We've got to take everything one step at a time; if we don't get out of Regionals then we can't do anything at Nationals."
Danielle Bradley (West Palm Beach, Fla.) took third in the women's 800 meters with a time of 2:08.84, while Lauren Hagans (Little Rock, Ark.) placed eighth in 2:13.59. Ruth Waller (Manchester, England) battled the midday heat to place seventh in the women's 1,500 meters with a time of 4:51.01.
"We had a few bright spots on the women's side, but for the most part we are disappointed with how we finished," said Harbour. "Nichole (Jones) ran really well and set a school record, and then Danielle (Bradley) and Carla (Grace) got some good points for us, but we just didn't have anyone else that would step up today."
Mutai led for 500 meters, but could not hold off the pack, finishing fifth in the men's 800 meters with a time of 1:50.96.
Mitch Sanders (Katy, Texas) finished seventh in the men's 1,500 meters with a final time of 3:50.96.
Carla Grace (San Antonio, Texas) placed seventh in the 100 meters with a time of 11.70, and took sixth in the 200 meters in 23.37. Thomas placed eighth in the men's 100 meters after pulling up with a hamstring injury at 60 meters.
In the women's 4x100-meter relay, Jessica Gregory (Richmond, Texas) and Grace got out quickly on the first two legs and looked to be even with Texas and Texas A&M at the second exchange. Just after the pass of the baton, third leg Tiana Hood (Long Beach, Calif.) pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.
"The injury to Courtney really hurt us a lot today," said Harbour. "We were looking for a big day from him and it hurt us not to get good performances from him. It seems like injuries got us a lot this year, between Brittany (Devereaux) breaking a finger and Erin (Bedell) having to redshirt, but we needed people to step up and take their place and we struggled to do that."
Harts placed sixth in the men's 200 meters with a time of 21.05. Lauren Tillman (Lawrenceville, Ga.) finished fifth in the women's 400-meter hurdles with a mark of 1:00.87. Stasia Kelly-Taylor (Atlanta, Ga.) set a new personal best in the triple jump of 12.64m (41-05.75), but did not make the event finals as she finished in 12th place.
Renae Van Whye (Collierville, Tenn.) took 13th in the women's 5,000 meters with a time of 18:13.13, and Jessi Barnes (Bentonville, Ark.) finished 20th in 19:25.75. Bo Price (Atlanta, Texas) finished 13th in the men's 5,000 meters in 15:00.72, while John Wenhold (Corpus Christi, Texas) placed 25th in 15:50.08.
Lyndsy Bedell (Plano, Texas) just missed scoring points for Baylor in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing ninth with a time of 10:51.33, while Monique Ortega (El Paso, Texas) finished 18th with a time of 11:29.19.
Baylor will return to action in two weeks as the Bears travel to Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Midwest Regional at Drake Stadium.
2007 Big 12 Outdoor Championships
1. Simone Facey, TAM - 11.19
7. Carla Grace, BU - 11.70
1. Simone Facey, TAM - 22.49
6. Carla Grace, BU - 23.37
1. Nichole Jones, BU - 2:05.89
3. Danielle Bradley, BU - 2:08.84
8. Lauren Hagans, BU - 2:13.59
1. Sally Kipyego, TT - 4:21.57
7. Ruth Waller, BU - 4:51.01
1. Sally Kipyego, TT - 16:43.01
13. Renae Van Whye, BU - 18:13.13
20. Jessi Barnes, BU - 19:25.75
1. Sheryl Morgan, NU - 57.04
5. Lauren Tillman, BU - 1:00.87
1. Jenny Barringer, CU - 10:19.34
9. Lyndsy Bedell, BU - 10:51.33
18. Monique Ortega, BU - 11:29.19
1. Texas A&M - 43.67
--. Baylor - DNF
1. Texas A&M - 3:32.98
5. Baylor - 3:37.49
1. Crystal Manning, KU - 13.71m
12. Stasia Kelly-Taylor, BU - 12.64m
1. Marcus Pugh, OU - 10.30
8. Courtney Thomas, BU - 13.91
1. Reggie Witherspoon, BU - 20.57
6. Trey Harts, BU - 21.05
1. LeJerald Betters, BU - 45.33
2. Reggie Witherspoon, BU - 45.73
3. Quentin Iglehart-Summers, BU - 45.84
6. J.T. Scheuerman, BU - 46.64
1. Zach Glavash, TT - 1:47.99
5. Kevin Mutai, BU - 1:50.96
1. Leonel Manzano, UT - 3:41.60
7. Mitch Sanders, BU - 3:50.96
1. Brent Vaughn, CU - 14:21.46
13. Bo Price, BU - 15:00.72
25. John Wenhold, BU - 15:50.08
1. Baylor - 39.65
1. Baylor - 3:03.94