By Lindsay Cash
The Baylor men and women’s track and field squads broke records and took home gold medals at the Texas A&M Challenge in College Station Saturday.
Saturday’s meet was scored as a conference challenge, with the Big 12 battling the SWAC, Southland and Sun Belt conferences.
Texas A&M and Oklahoma joined Baylor in racking up the victories for the men’s and women’s team races.
“To succeed the way we did just isn’t something teams typically do the first week out,” head coach Todd Harbour said.
Sophomore Skylar White set the school record and NCAA’s leading mark in the shot put when she cleared her own record by a drastic four feet. White began her first throw at 50-6 3/4, with her next being 55-8 1/4.
“Skylar is a young lady that epitomizes what you want in a student athlete,” Harbour said.
With the throw, White automatically qualifies for the NCAA Indoor Championships. She was also named Big 12 Female Track and Field Athlete of the Week by the Big 12 conference, comfortably holding the Big 12 lead in her event by nearly three feet.
“After a performance like that, she’s getting excited about shot put for this season,” Harbour said. “Her diligence in weight training has been important to her, now giving her national title contention.”
The Baylor men’s squad had a record-setter, as well. Senior Marcus Boyd won the 400 meters with an NCAA-leading time of 46.77.
Harbour was pleased with Boyd’s performance and was confident that he will, within a month, be “running down in the 45’s.”
Baylor’s 4x-400 meter relay teams placed second and third.
The men’s group, including junior Whitney Prevost, sophomore Drew Seale, junior James Gilreath and Boyd, snuck past Oklahoma for second place with a time of 3:10.26. The time ties the third fastest in the NCAA this year.
Baylor’s women’s distance medley relay claimed a cushioned victory by more than 55 seconds. Junior Leigh Ann Ganzar, sophomore Lynette Atkinson, freshman Mariah Kelly and senior Katie Shaw finished with a time of 12:12.18.
Freshman Tiffani McReynolds and senior Tiffany Townsend combined to take two of the top six spots in the 60-meter dash.
The Bears also dominated in four other individual events. For the men, junior Zac Flowers took the gold in the mile field, hitting his personal best at 4:10.65.
On the women’s side, junior Brittany OgunMokun took the 800-meter title at 2:10.98, while freshman Robyn Bennett claimed the 3,000-meter title at 9:47.33.
The Bears receive an upcoming weekend off, then head to Fayetteville, Ark., for indoor events at the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 28 and 29.
Harbour expects to surpass last year’s performance in Arkansas with ease.
“We are where we need to be. Practice wise, we will lay it out this week, and they’re expecting that. We will be back off next week to reload our legs. Our main focus is to stay healthy,” Harbour said.