By Savannah Pullin
Great weather brought great results for the Baylor track and field teams at the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic on Saturday in Waco.
The women led the day bringing home eight of the 10 total wins for the Bears.
“We had a really solid performance,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “Nobody did anything crazy; it was just good across the board.”
The Baylor women’s distance crew took advantage of their lone home meet of the year by claiming victories in three events. In addition, the women’s team claimed a victory in the 100 hurdles with sophomore Tiffani McReynolds, along with four field events and the 4×100-meter relay.
The men added two victories throughout the day with their dominant 4×100-meter relay team and a strong performance by senior Kyle Cash in the high jump.
In her career first 3,000-meter steeplechase, freshman Rachel Johnson started off strong with an early lead.
“I was a little nervous just because I’d never done it before,” Johnson said. “But Coach Harbour has a lot of confidence in me, so that made me feel a lot better.”
Johnson finished the race with a time of 10:56.10, grabbing the victory with more than 20 seconds to spare.
Freshman Erin Hegarty and junior Cate Westenhover brought home the other two distance wins for the women – Hegarty in the 5,000-meter and Westenhover in the 1,500-meter run.
“(Johnson) did a really good job and Cate (Westenhover) looked really good in the 1,500, and Erin ran a really solid 5K and won pretty easily, so they all did a really nice job,” Harbour said.
The four women’s field events were split between three athletes who have been dominant all season – sophomore Erin Atkinson, junior Skylar White, and senior Jessica Ubanyionwu.
Atkinson threw for a new school record in the first event of the day with a hammer throw of 202-10, winning the event by 26 feet. She now ranks No. 11 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the Big 12, only three weeks before the Big 12 Championships.
White claimed two wins on Saturday for the second week in a row with a discuss toss of 177-0 and a shot put throw of 55-3.
“Erin (Atkinson)’s hammer throw was really nice after being hurt and not throwing for two weeks, and Skylar (White) had her typical day,” Harbour said.
Lastly, Ubanyionwu found victory in the triple jump for the second week in a row with a distance of 40-11.50.
“It’s nice to have a balanced track team,” Harbour said about the success the field performers have enjoyed.
Sophomore Tiffani McReynolds found two victories during the day starting with the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.20. She won again after she, along with freshman Alyssa Nichols, sophomore Justine Charbonnet, and senior Brittany Carr, led the women’s 4×100-meter relay team to victory.
Cash took the lone field victory on the men’s side Saturday after clearing a season-best high jump of 6-8.75.
Junior Eric Bostick competed in his career first sprint relay as the leadoff leg of the men’s 4×100-meter team. Sophomore Blake Heriot made his first appearance in a sprint relay since the opening meet of the season as anchor leg. Relay regulars, senior Whitney Prevost and junior Everett Walker, ran the second and third legs of the race.
“Having Woodrow (Randall) and Zwede (Hewitt) out, I’m not saying I had doubts, but I didn’t believe we were going to run that fast,” Walker said. “Bostick came out of nowhere and did what he had to do, and Whitney (Prevost) did his thing, then me getting the stick and giving it to Blake (Heriot), we ran fast. I liked it; it was pretty fun.”
The men’s 4×100-meter relay team ran well with the help of new runners, and claimed the victory in the event with a time of 39.69.
Baylor’s next meet will begin April 26 as they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to participate in the Drake Relays. This will be the team’s final meet before the conference championships.