By Savannah Pullin
In times of joy, people are often described as “glowing.” A better word could not be used to describe the Baylor track and field team on Wednesday for the media.
Thursday, the Bears left for College Station to compete in the Big 12 Indoor Championships. The Bears are competing today and Saturday and expect to return to Waco as Big 12 champs.
“I love conference championships,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “That’s what I live for as an athlete, and I enjoy them as a coach.”
Baylor currently has 11 athletes ranked in the top five in their respective events.
Going into the weekend, the women are ranked first in distance medley relay and sophomore Tiffani McReynolds is set to defend her title in the 60-meter hurdles. In addition, sophomore Erin Atkinson and junior Skylar White are both ranked No. 2 in weight throw and shot put, respectively.
On the men’s side, freshman Patrick Shoenball enters the championship holding tight to first place along with the men’s 4×400 meter relay team also holding a top rank. Senior Zwede Hewitt is ranked third in the quarter-mile, and the men’s distance medley relay team has won its last two meets.
White said she hopes that both sides of the team, men’s and women’s, can come together this weekend to prove the team, as a whole, has strength.
“I want to see not only the girls, but the guys as well, come together and ‘wow’ some people this weekend,” White said.
Senior Woodrow Randall believes the team is ready to out-perform the expectations that have been thrust upon them.
“Every one has that fire in their eye like they’re ready to go,” Randall said. “We are better than what people think we are.”
Harbour said one of the biggest advantages his team has right now is health.
Overall the team is healthy, an improvement from the start of the season. In his first meet of the season, Randall, one of the top sprinters on the team, suffered from a strained hamstring. The championship will be his first meet back at 100 percent, he said.
“I feel great,” Randall said. “I feel back to myself, so hopefully I can do good things this weekend in the Big 12.”
Randall said he expects his personal performance to encourage his other teammates.
“I know what I can do and what I’m capable of doing,” Randall said.
Once he goes out there and runs a good race, he wants other members of the team to see his example and know they can perform well also. White and Randall both have extreme confidence in their teammates’ abilities to physically perform.
“We have it in us physically; we just have to get it together mentally,” said White.
Randall said the key to his team’s success is not being scared.
Track and field events usually measure individual performance, but that all changes in the conference championships.
“Big 12 championships are always exciting,” Harbour said. “This is the time during the course of the indoor season that we get to be measured as a team.”