By Maleesa Johnson
The Bears join athletes from a variety of levels and states this week in Austin for the 86th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, the second-largest track and field meet in the U.S.
The Texas Relays are held at the University of Texas. Events are held at the high school, college, university and invitational levels.
Baylor has a history of solid performances at the Texas Relays, especially with regard to the relay teams. Last year, the men’s team earned the title in one of the sprint medley relays.
Senior thrower Skylar White, a junior at the time, took home first place in the shot put to add to Baylor’s strong showing.
“We’re excited about it,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “It’s always a crazy weekend. Texas Relays is bigger than it needs to be. We’re hoping it all goes smooth.”
White returns to the Texas Relays this week and said she plans to win the title again. Last weekend at the Baylor Quad Invitational, she doubled up with wins in both the shot put with a throw of 52-6 and the discus with a throw of 177-0. These marks are fifth and second in the NCAA, respectively. White will be competing in both events again this week.
“I’m expecting to win,” White said. “Always expecting to win anywhere I go, no matter what, especially at Texas Relays. And since I didn’t get a chance to go when I was in high school, I’m always excited to go now that I’m in college.”
White said her previous performances at Texas Relays are part of what gives her confidence as she looks to compete this year.
Also competing with a successful past weekend under his belt is freshman jumper Felix Obi. Earlier this season, he set the school record in the indoor triple jump three separate times.
He carried this momentum into the outdoor season during his first outdoor meet as a Bear last weekend. Obi set the outdoor record for Baylor in the triple jump with a leap of 50-9.25, a distance that surpassed that of the previous record holder Charles Powell, who jumped 49-3.5 in 1984.
“Honestly, I’m expecting a good performance again,” Obi said. “This season is really just testing me to see where I can be.”
Obi’s triple jump ranks him No. 5 in the NCAA. He also ranks No. 4 in the long jump with a leap of 24-6.25
Senior sprinter Everett Walker returns to the track and field scene for the Texas Relays after being out due to an injury. Walker was injured the week before the NCAA Indoor Championships and had to have an alternate run in the 4×400 relay.
Though relay teams are not finalized until 30 minutes before the events, many of the usual athletes will be going to Austin.
For the men’s team, athletes who have been known to run the 4×400 are going. This includes senior sprinters Drew Seale, Justin Allen and Walker, junior Blake Heriot, and freshmen Isaiah Duke and Richard Gary.
The women’s 4×400 team could consist of senior sprinters Brittany OgunMokun and Christina Holland, junior Michelle Nwachukwa, and sophomore Ashley Fields.
Each of these athletes will go to the meet in addition to the possible alternates, but the final lineup is still being formulated. Decisions will be made after the final practice before the Texas Relays.
The Texas Relays will continue until Saturday.