By Savannah Pullin
The majority of Baylor’s track and field athletes were able to take Easter weekend off to relax and prepare for their next meet, a rejuvenation that should be to their advantage as they prepare to battle the relentless winds that seem to dictate meets in Lubbock.
Saturday, the Baylor track and field team will compete in the Texas Tech Invitational — it will be their first time competing in this meet.
Coach Todd Harbour said he told team members to look at this as more of an improvement meet, a chance for them to step up and refine skills in areas they have been struggling in throughout the season.
“This time of the year, it’s just [about] getting the work in and continuing to get people to step up,” Harbour said. “You don’t want to say you’re on cruise control right now, but for some you’re maintaining. What we’re trying to get out of this is to get a few more to step up to the conference level.”
Unfortunately the Bears have been plagued by injury lately, making some of their most valuable athletes unable to compete this weekend.
Senior Woodrow Randall is still recovering from a hamstring injury, and sophomore powerhouse thrower Erin Atkinson is currently in the recovery room due to a cyst she had removed.
Harbour is hoping his team will be closer to full force next weekend as the Big 12 Championship is quickly approaching.
Sophomore Hunter Brook, who brought home his first collegiate win last week in the decathlon at the Sam Houston State Combined Events Meet in Huntsville, is a newcomer to the Texas Tech track but has been warned about the windy conditions.
“I know the environment is going to be a little different,” Brook said. “It’s going to be really windy. I’ve been to [Texas] Tech before, and coach has told us it’s going to be a really windy environment. But it’ll be great competition, a great matchup for us.”
Hunter said he believes he has a good chance of bringing home a win again and is hoping to break another personal record as he participates in the high jump, his main event.
Senior Whitney Prevost, on the other hand, has previous experience with the track at Texas Tech.
“It’s a really nice track, a really fast track,” Prevost said. “They have pretty good weather for the most part. It’s pretty windy, but overall, really good weather.”
Prevost said mental preparation is the best remedy when preparing to run in conditions such as those encountered in Lubbock.
“I’m just not going to think about it,” Prevost said. “I’m just going to go out there and do my best and compete with my teammates, and just try to not be affected as much as I can.”
Harbour has a many of athletes who have never competed in conditions like the ones they will be facing this weekend. His advice for them is simple.
“We just want them to compete hard, regardless of the circumstances,” Harbour said. “The weather we can’t control, but we can control how we get ready and how compete, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Fortunately for the majority of the Bears traveling this weekend, they had a meet-free Easter weekend, giving them a good opportunity to get ready and focus on competing, especially after a busy weekend at the Texas Relays.
“I think we caught our breaths after Texas Relays,” Harbour said. “Texas Relays is always such a big meet, and now we’re in that part of the season where we’re kind of moving down towards the stretch and getting ready for conference.”
With the Big 12 Championship only a month away, Baylor looks forward to cutting through the wind in Lubbock and sharpening itself where it most needs to.