By Maleesa Johnson
The Baylor track and field team will compete in the Big 12 Indoor Championships this weekend and hope to both keep titles and reclaim them.
Unlike the previous meets this season, the Big 12 Championship is a team meet. Until now, track and field athletes have been competing for individual scores and ranking. This weekend in Iowa, the team has a chance to pull together and work toward one win as a whole.
“When you go to a conference meet, it’s all about the team,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “It’s all about you performing at your very best so the team has a chance to be measured at the end of the day as high as you possibly can. When they put those team results up at the very end, that’s all that really matters.”
From 1998 until 2009, Baylor’s men’s relay team has held the title for the 4×400-meter at the Big 12 Championships. However, in 2010 A&M stole that title and has held it ever since. This year, with Baylor holding the fastest 4×400-meter relay time in the league at 3:09.89, the team hopes to reclaim the title. Each runner on the relay team is in the Big 12’s top-12 with Blake Heriot ranked 5th (47.25), Richard Gary close behind at 6th (47.45), and Isaiah Duke and Drew Seale tied for 12th with a time of 47.77.
“We feel really great,” Seale said. “We’ve had a great couple weeks of work since our last track meet. We really feel like we’re going to be able to drop a really fast time and make it to nationals in a couple of weeks.”
Harbour is aiming for a time of 3:06 and said he is confident in the ability of his athletes. For both the men’s and the women’s 4×4, there are multiple athletes available to step in. The relay teams for this meet has yet to be finalized, however, and senior sprinter Everett Walker will be placed on the first team for the men.
Walker will be running in the 60-meter and 200-meter in addition to the men’s 4×400-meter relay. He is second in the league in the 60-meter with a career best time of 6.69 and first in the 200-meters event at 20.81, also a career best. According to Walker, he performed better last meet after the team had taken the previous week off. In reference to the Big 12 Championship and having the past week off, Walker is hoping the trend will continue and result in a good performance.
“I feel confident, but I don’t want to feel too overconfident.” Walker said.
Also holding a dominant place in the Big 12 Championship record book, junior sprinter Tiffani McReynolds is returning in hopes of keeping her name on the list. She is ranked first in the Big 12 for the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.02 seconds. McReynolds also has the second-fastest league time in the 60-meter dash, running the event at 7.38 seconds, and the fifth-best 200-meter mark with a time of 23.82.
“The plan is to go ahead and win the 60 hurdles to defend my title,” McReynolds said. “Since I’m ranked No. 2 in the open 60. I’m going to try to win that too.”
The meet will be delayed one day due to the snowstorm in the Midwest.