By Savannah Pullin
Baylor track and field has one more meet in preparation for the Big 12 Championship, and before team members make their mark on the Big 12, they reflected on the season as a whole.
“I say we’ve had a good season, a solid season,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “We’re still trying to put it all together on the men’s side. Hopefully it will be at conference.”
Throughout this season, Harbour has had continuous concerns about the men’s side of the team with one of the biggest issues being keeping his athletes healthy, he said.
Harbour said he has been blessed with other athletes who are able to pick up the slack when one athlete or a group has gone down.
Freshman Rachel Johnson, who is part of a women’s team that has been strong all season, has been one of the athletes who stepped up. She picked up a win last weekend in the first steeplechase of her career at the Michael Johnson Dr Pepper Classic in Waco.
“Everyone on the team can make a difference,” Johnson said. “In high school, I didn’t come from a team that was super great at track, so just coming here and having other people like hurdlers, throwers and jumpers that are just really amazing and can contribute to a team is awesome.”
From a first-year perspective, Johnson said she feels great about her season at Baylor but still has goals to accomplish.
“Coach Harbour is a great coach, and he’s helped me a lot with training,” Johnson said. “I just love how the team is always supportive. I still have goals for next season and for the rest of this season; we’re not done yet, so hopefully I’ll reach those.”
Junior Everett Walker, who transferred from Barton County Community College, said his first year in Division I athletics has been a learning experience.
“Back in junior college, the competition was pretty easy. Coming to Division I has been harder because you have faster athletes and the training is different. It’s harder, but it gets you through,” Walker said.
Looking back on the season, Harbour notes the overall success of the team.
“We’ve set a lot of school records, and we’ve had a lot of athletes perform at high levels all season long,” Harbour said. “Our [multi-event athletes] improve every week and do well; that’s been exciting. Our throwers have carried a big load this year. We’ve had a lot of positives across the board.”
Although school is coming to an end, the Bears acknowledge that championship week is close and there are still goals to be accomplished. It’s a statement that is truer for graduating seniors than other team members.
“This is my last year so I want to go out with a bang,” senior sprinter Whitney Prevost said. “I want to make a difference. I want to hopefully win a national title.”
Harbour claimed there is no secret factor to him team’s success. The key is simple – it’s the athletes.
The Bears are currently in Des Moines, Iowa, competing in the prestigious Drake Relays and will travel to Manhattan, Kan., for the Big 12 Championships the weekend of May 11. The NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held June 6-9 in Des Moines, with the USA Olympic Trials following shortly after.