By DJ Ramirez | Sports Writer
Baylor track and field heads north to compete in the Larry Wieczorek Invitational Friday and Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa, after a strong start to the season in the Ted Nelson Invitational.
After bringing home six wins from College Station last weekend, head coach Todd Harbour said the Bears are excited to face an unfamiliar field in the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.
“We’ll see a little different folks than we normally see every weekend, but I think Arizona may be there. I think there’s just a couple of us coming from outside that region,” Harbour said. “Minnesota, Purdue, Iowa State will be there, a lot of Big 10 schools will be there, so it will be a good meet.”
Coming back from a difficult transition into her freshman campaign, sophomore Kennedy Bailey began the season with a personal-best win in the 60-meter hurdles in the Ted Nelson Invitational. She said she looks forward to remaining focused and perhaps completing another personal record in the Iowa meet.
“It was really different because last year wasn’t a good year for me,” Bailey said. “I had a lot of ups and downs and so coming this year I really made sure that I had to focus on fixing all the small details to help me this year.”
Baylor also picked up wins in five other events. Junior Maxwell Willis achieved his first win since 2017 in the men’s 60-meter sprints and senior Danny Leland took the win in the men’s 800-meter race. Harbour said Willis and Leland were impressive in the season-opening meet.
“Maxwell looked like he’s back from where he was his freshman year. He looked really, really good,” Harbour said. “I was proud of Danny Leland in the 800. I think that was his first big collegiate win, so that was nice to get him that.”
Sophomore Morgan Stewart, the 2018 Big 12 Indoor Champion in the 600 yard race, was the victor in the women’s 800-meter race with a time of 2:10.15. Sophomores Sarah Antrich and Connor Laktasic both took first in the long-distance events.
Two freshmen made an impact at the Ted Nelson Invitational by moving up in the Baylor record books with second-place finishes. Alyssa Miller earned the No.7 spot with a 1.69-meter jump in the women’s high jump, finishing behind the NCAA Outdoor Champion Alexus Henry from UTSA.
Freshman KC Lightfoot had an almost record-breaking performance in the indoor pole vault competition. He was the runner-up with an 18-1 3/4 jump in the Ted Nelson Invitational, becoming the No. 2 pole vaulter in Baylor history after Bill Payne, who took the No.1 spot in 1991.
The men’s team finished second overall and the women’s team finished third. Harbour said he hopes the team remains healthy going into the meet in Iowa as some of the athletes have been out due to “little things.” Juniors Alison Andrews-Paul and Aaliyah Miller will be back to compete in the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.
The Baylor track and field team will travel to Lubbock for the Texas Tech Invitational on Jan. 25 and Jan. 26 after competing in the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.