By Maleesa Johnson
After a successful meet at the Texas Relays last weekend, the No. 23 men’s and No 14 women’s track and field teams turn their attention to the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla.; home of the relay teams that bettered the Bears twice last weekend. This will be the team’s first Florida Relay.
“Relay meets are always a chance to have a little fun,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
The Gators host the event at the Percy Beard Track. Both the Gator’s men’s and women’s teams earned titles in the 4×400 meter relay in Austin last weekend, although the 4×4 is historically known to be an event dominated by the Bears.
“It’s a good group and we’re excited about the opportunity,” Harbour said. “It’s the first time we’ve ever been to the Florida Relays, so we need to do well, represent well, and hopefully it will be a great experience. We’re on good upswing right now with a lot of our athletes recovering from a long indoor season.”
The women’s team advanced to the finals at Texas Relays and placed seventh. The team of junior Idia Omogiate, freshman Ashley Fields, senior Brittany Ogunmokun and sophomore Raena Rhone posted a time of 3:32.12, the best time for Baylor in this event since 2011. Omogiate said the team competed well and is excited for this weekend. She will compete in the 4×100 and the 4×400.
“I’ve never been to the Florida Relays, so I’m really excited,” Omogiate said. “I’m really excited to go run the relays, especially since, like Coach Harbour said, one day it’s individual events and the next day you only have to worry about the relays.”
The men’s team, composed of junior Blake Heriot, seniors Joe Barb and Drew Seale and freshman Gary Richard, placed third at the Texas Relays. They were the first team to handoff the baton, but dropped to third coming out of the second leg’s opening turn. The time posted was 3:03.90, the Bears’ best time of the season.
“We had a taste of what the Florida Gators can do and we respect them,” Barb said. “But we feel like we’ve put in enough work here that we’re going to win it all. And nationals are going to be even more interesting.”
The NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. are one month away. With each meet, the team strives to better their times and prepare for nationals.
“We have high hopes for nationals,” Barb said. “We feel like we’ve put in enough work that it’s our time to shine and bring the Baylor tradition back of winning the 4×4… Each one of us try to get better individually so we can each drop a second and hit that mark.”