The past year was filled with surprises with phenomenal performances by Baylor athletes in their respective sports. The contribution by these players helped guide their teams to quality wins in conference play and beyond. These athletes exceeded expectations during their seasons and brought national attention to the athletic program through their playing ability and shined during several occasions this year.
From blow-out plays to big saves, here are the Lariat’s top Baylor athlete performances in 2014.
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Whitney Canion, Softball Pitcher
Line: 17.1 innings pitched, 305 pitches, 14 hits, 2 earned runs, 19 strikeouts, two walks in NCAA Regional against Tulsa
Whitney Canion is one of the most heralded athletes in Baylor history, and easily the best pitcher to ever play for the softball program. On May 18 in the NCAA Regionals against Tulsa, she put together arguably her finest stretch. Canion threw a scoreless game through 10 innings, but allowed a crushing solo home run in the bottom of the 11th to force a decisive Game Three with a trip to the Super Regionals on the line. Despite throwing 175 pitches in the first game and allowing a run in the first, Canion threw six straight scoreless innings to lead Baylor to a 3-1 win and trip the Super Regionals. In all, Canion threw 305 pitches, while giving up only two earned runs. The performance helped launch Baylor to its second Women’s College World Series in four years, and Canion to becoming the first ever First Team All-American in program history.
RUNNER-UP: Trayvon Bromell, Baylor Track
Line: 100m National Champion, ran a national junior record 9.97 wind-legal sprint in the final
Baylor track star Trayvon Bromell is only a freshman, but don’t remind him of that. In his first collegiate national track meet in Eugene, Ore., Bromell lit the world on fire. The Florida native ran a wind-assisted 9.92 in the semi-final round, but got an opportunity to break the record legally in the final round. With only a 1.8 mile per hour win at his back, Bromell won the national championship with a 9.97, becoming the first junior runner to break the 10 second mark. Bromell also ran a wind-assisted mark of 9.77 in the Big 12 Championship; by the time he graduates from Baylor, don’t be surprised if he is the fastest man alive.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kenny Chery, Men’s Basketball Point Guard
Line: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, three steals in 87-73 win over Kansas State
Baylor basketball was in trouble. The Bears got out to a 2-8 start in conference play, and was down by double-digits at home to Kansas State with only nine minutes left in regulation. From that point on, point guard Kenny Chery took over. Over the last nine minutes of regulation and two overtimes, Chery scored 10 points and dished seven assists. His triple-double was the first ever by a Baylor player in Big 12 play. The win over Kansas State helped ignite a hot streak that saw Baylor win 10 of its final 12 Big 12 games and make the NCAA Sweet 16, the third appearance under head coach Scott Drew.
HONORABLE MENTION: Corey Coleman, Football Wide Receiver
Line: 15 catches for 224 yards, receiving and rushing touchdown in 48-14 win over Oklahoma
As a part of the impressive wide receiver core for Baylor football, sophomore receiver Corey Coleman made big plays during the Bears’ 2014 season. Coleman’s dominant performance during Baylor’s 48-14 win over then-No. 15 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. sealed the deal for the Bears. In only 15 catches, Coleman had 224 receiving yards, more than twice as much as the next receiver for Baylor. He also had one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown to add 12 points on the board for the Bears. He tore apart the Sooners’ secondary in his career and recording breaking performance. The connection between senior quarterback Bryce Petty and Coleman was spot on during the Nov. 8 matchup, and it helped Baylor earn its first ever win in Norman. Coleman made a difference in that Big 12 game, and it was by far one of Baylor’s biggest wins of 2014.
HONORABLE MENTION: Sam Hill, Volleyball Middle Hitter
Line: 11 kills, 10 blocks, four digs, .250 hitting percentage in 3-2 win over Iowa State
Sophomore middle hitter Sam Hill had a rough start to her volleyball career at Baylor. After tearing her ACL her freshman year, Hill was granted a medical redshirt to retain a year of eligibility. Hill was seen on the court where she provided good offense and much-needed defense during the season. However, it was her dominant performance during the team’s 3-2 match win over Iowa State that helped Baylor snap a nine game losing streak to the Cyclones. Hill slammed down 11 kills on 24 attempts for a .250 hitting effort as the Bears fought back from a two-set deficit. She also had 10 blocks at the net as Baylor finished with 16.5 total team blocks that night. Hill made a difference in that game with her vicious attack on offense and attitude of refusing to let the ball get across the net.