Despite cold, track & field burn visiting teams with six event titles

Baylor freshman Morgan Stewart (back) and sophomore Victoria Powell (front) complete side by side in the Women's 400 meter race. Stewart finished second and Powell finished third. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Bailey Brammer | Editor-in-Chief

A sudden drop in weather across Central Texas seemingly had no effect on the Baylor track & field team on Saturday, as the Bears ended their first home invitational of the season with six event titles and even more top-eight finishes.

Baylor hosted 13 other schools on Saturday in the 2018 Baylor Invitational at Clyde Hart Stadium. Despite the temperature dropping below the 40 degree mark, head coach Todd Harbour said the weather was not an excuse to perform poorly, and that his athletes simply had an additional hurdle to overcome.

“Earlier in the week, we were looking at the weather and we could see that it was going to be bad, but we just tried to focus on what we could get done today,” Harbour said. “So, you’ve got to make sure your mind is ready to compete. That’s one of the challenges. That’s by far one of the coldest meets we’ve run on. I compliment the officials, the coaches and everyone who was here. It was such a long, cold day.”

For the women’s team, freshman Kennedy Bailey tied Janelle Mulkey’s record from 2004 as the eighth-best performer in the 100-meter hurdles at 13.86. Bailey took second overall in the event.

Also breaking records in the cold was junior Megan SaxvanderWeyden in javelin. She took seventh-best in Baylor history with her throw 149-6 (45.58m), and took second place in the meet.

The women also took event titles in the sprint races, with freshman Sydney Washington running an 11.86 in the 100 meters and junior Raven Grant recording a 23.93 in the 200 meters.

On the men’s side, the Baylor pole vaulters walked away with first, second and third in the event, which has not occurred since 1991. Junior Greyson Gonzalez beat junior Ryan Womack in a jump-off at a 15-7.25 (4.76m) height, while freshman Riley Richards took third place at a height of 15-1.5 (4.61m).

Also for the men, junior Danny Leland placed first in the 800 meter, clocking 1:56.70.

Both the men’s and women’s 4×400-meter relay teams took first place, ending the meet with a bang. The men, Jayson Baldridge, Wil London, Caleb Dickson and Howard Fields III, finished at 3:12.56, and the women, Morgan Stewart, Taylor Bennett, Kiana Hawn and Kiana Horton, ended at 3:47.05.

In light of the six titles and other top-eight finishes, Harbour said his team did all they could, but they have a lot more to give moving forward.

“I didn’t see anybody that felt sorry for themselves or had a bad attitude,” Harbour said. “They all went into it and tried to get what we could out of it. For that, I’m really pleased. I thought we had a lot of good performances, but we couldn’t get a lot of big marks in today.”

The Baylor track & field team will get a short break before they host their second invitational of the season on April 21 at Clyde Hart Stadium as a part of Green and Gold Weekend. Field events start at 9 a.m. and running events begin at 2 p.m.