Track & field wins eight invitational titles

Baylor track and field highlighted the Michael Johnson Invitational with several honorary ceremonies and eight event titles this weekend at Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium.

A total of 27 seniors were honored during the Senior Day ceremony, as athletes were escorted by their families to receive a framed action photo of themselves in uniform during an event.

Among these seniors were four All-Americans, including 400-meter sprinters Isaiah Duke and Richard Gary, thrower and Baylor football player Desmine Hilliard and 800-meter runner Olicia Williams.

“It’s an outstanding group of seniors, and they’ve meant a lot to the program,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “They’re going out with some great accolades and we’re going to definitely miss them.”

As a tradition, Baylor “B” Association honors one former track athlete during the Baylor Legends Ceremony. During the afternoon session, She She Crawford, a four-time All-American from 1991-94 and four-time school record holder in the 100 and 200-meter dash, was honored.

Athletes wore white shirts with pink outlining to honor her fight against breast cancer.

A crowd of 2,786 people gathered at the stadium to witness Baylor win,while also watching Olympians such as American gold medalist Jeremy Wariner and Jamaican gold medalist Asafa Powell take the track.

“[The crowd] likes to see great individual performances,” Harbour said. “When you get to bring great athletes out like that, it helps bring the people out to watch it.”

For the women’s side, junior Maggie Montoya captured the first title of the day in the 1,500-meters with a time of 4:20.79, while teammate junior Chelsea Orr placed second with a time of 4:21.82.

The evening session of the meet lit up as the women won three more titles. Freshman Kiana Horton had a personal-best time of 23.02 in the 200-meters, currently No. 18 in the NCAA. Sophomore Kiana Hawn took the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.81 while Peyton Thomas joined them with a stadium record time of 16.43 in the 5,000-meters.

The women also managed to gather second-place finishes for recognition.

The 4×1 relay of Horton, Taylor Bennett, Juanita Mainoo and Justise Dayries were inched passed by Texas which A&M who won them over 43.65 to 43.69.

Freshmen Taylor Bennett, came in second during the 100-meters with a time if 11.33.

In the field events, junior Annie Rhodes took the pole vault title for the fourth time in five meets this outdoor season with a clearance of 14-1 and seventh-best in school history.

On the men’s side, Wil London slipped past Texas Tech’s Kyle Collins in an intense 400-meter dash, falling to the ground to win with a time of 45.28. This time currently ranks fifth-best in the nation.

“I’m very competitive, and I don’t like to lose.” London said. “Anything I have to do to win, I’ll do it.”

Continuing for the men’s side, senior JR Hardy, honored earlier in the day, captured the 5,000-meter title a personal-best of 14.42.24 while another senior, Desmine Hilliard, won discus with a throw of 183-2, which is the sixth-best in school history. Hilliard also had a career-best throw in the shot put, 54-6, to place fifth.

The night ended with fireworks over the Brazos River. The team will conclude its regular season at Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, from Wednesday to Sunday.