By Jeffrey Swindoll
The weather cut the party short, but Baylor track and field claimed nine titles at the 2015 Michael Johnson Classic on Saturday at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium before officials canceled the end of the meet.
With 2,655 fans packing the stands at the first MJC hosted at Clyde Hart, it was an entertaining event before inclement weather ruined the fun. IDespite the weather issues, Michael Johnson was there.
“It’s always fun to come back,” the former Baylor sprinter and four-time Olympic gold medalist Johnson said. “Certainly, this year, it’s special with the new facility. The new stadium is just phenomenal. I keep pinching myself going, ‘Is this really a Baylor track?’”
Sophomore Brandon Moore and Junior Olicia Williams helped Baylor sweep the 800-meter event on the men and women’s side. Williams blew away Baylor’s eight-year school-record (Nicole Jones, 2:04.69, 2007) in the 800-meter with a time of 2:03.32, good enough for third best in the NCAA. Moore earned a personal best time of 1:48.53.
Senior long-distance runner Rachel Johnson dominated in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Johnson finished nearly 48 seconds ahead of the competition.
Baylor also swept the 110-meter hurdles on the men and women’s side after senior Tiffani McReynolds and junior Bryce Grace thrilled the home crowd with their performances. McReynolds beat her competition by .26 and finished with 12.93 seconds.
“I feel like I was able to push out of the blocks and go ahead and get a head start over hurdle number one,” McReynolds said. “From there I just carried and built my momentum.”
Junior Bryce Grace surpassed his personal record this season with a 13.70 time on Saturday, ranking him at seventh in the NCAA this year.
“I knew once I got out [at the beginning of the race], I looked into the crowd and everybody was just silent, and that’s when my heart started beating fast,” Grace said. “It shocked me because I don’t usually get out in front. I started picking up speed and I knew once I had a gap, all I had to do was stay clean.”
Sophomore Cion Hicks nearly claimed the shot-put and the discus titles on Saturday. Hicks threw a personal best 16.69-meter throw in the shot-put, winning the event.
Sophomore sprinter Trayvon Bromell continued his winning ways in the 100-meter race. Bromell ran a 10.02, tying the fourth-best time in school history.
“While I feel like I could’ve set it up at the start a little better, I was happy come out with a time and a win,” Bromell said.
Sophomore George Caddick claimed the 400-meter title with a personal best time of 46.10 seconds.
Junior Brianna Richardson had already claimed her title in the women’s triple-jump before sophomore Felix Obi was unable to finish his event. Obi, last year’s triple-jump national champion, was leading the competition before it was stopped with 15.64-meter jump.