By Tori Jackson
The Baylor track and field team will travel to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Championships starting today.
Compared to last year’s 32 event marks, the Bears have 40 event marks among the top 10 and five league-leading marks.
“As always we want to compete at a high level, individually and as a team,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “This is a championship and I think that always brings out a higher level of competition. We have been really competitive in the Big 12 and I think we have a really, really good chance again this year.”
On the women’s side, senior Tiffani McReynolds leads the conference in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.05 seconds. Junior Rachel Johnson controls the 3,000-meters with a personal best of 9:08.36. Sophomore triple jumper Brianna Richardson leads her event with a mark of 43-0.5 [13.12m].
If McReynolds maintains her first-place standing in the 60-meter hurdles, she would be the second Big 12 female athlete to win the same event in four-straight indoor championships. McReynolds would be the first athlete to receive this honor in Baylor history.
“I would be honored and blessed to win the same event for four years because that’s something a lot of people haven’t been able to do,” McReynolds said. “I think it will finally hit me when I do it. I’m saying when because I’d prefer to think of it as just another Big 12 Championship and not some historical moment.”
Despite the No. 28 ranking in the NCAA, the women’s team has three qualified for the NCAA Championship.
McReynolds, Johnson and Richardson will have opportunities to bring national titles back to Waco.
“I think we’ve got a really good chance on the ladies’ side,” Harbour said. “We’re balanced in a lot of areas. We’re still without some of our heavy hitters, but we are still taking a really good team.”
For the men, sophomore Felix Obi leads the nation, as well as the Big 12, in the triple jump event with a mark of 53-11.25 [16.44m]. Freshman Trayvon Bromell holds the first place time in the 200-meters with a personal best of 21.02.
“I really want to come back with the triple and long jump titles,” Obi said. “I feel like I have a strong chance to get the triple jump title, but I want to try to come back home with both of them.”
Obi is the only Bear on the men’s side with a qualifying mark for the NCAA Championship.
The men are heading into the competition ranked No. 36 in the NCAA.
At this time last season, only one Baylor athlete had set a new school record.
During the 2014 indoor season, seven new school records were set by five different athletes. The Bears also have nine individual event wins for the regular indoor season.
At the 2013 Big 12 Indoor Championships, the Baylor women earned two titles and the men won four total events. Both teams placed fourth in the Big 12.
“We all have to play our own part to make the team complete,” Obi said. “I would love to come back with the Big 12 title because we have the talent to do that. Everyone just needs to be on their game and contribute.”
Live results for the 2014 Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships can be found at www.Big12Sports.com.