By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer
Baylor track and field will be traveling to Lubbock, Texas this weekend to compete in the Big 12 Indoor Championship.
Seniors Wil London and Kiana Horton are contenders for nationals and head coach Todd Harbour said this meet is defining to the teams “high-level” mentality.
“I think we will have a better team at the NCAA meet, but you always want to compete at the Big 12 meet,” Harbour said. “We’re going to be measured so you always want to go into it and try to do as well as you possibly can team-wise. So that’s kind of how we approach it going into this one. We want to perform well at a high level and even though we didn’t win the title here last year, we performed about as well as we could have. That’s what you ask of your athletes; let’s just elevate and be ready to compete at a high level.”
The men’s 4×4 team, which is ranked fourth in the nation and first in the Big 12, consists of sophomores Jayson Baldridge and Trey Fields, freshman Matthew Moore and lone-standing senior London. With one senior on the 4×4 event, Harbour said London acts as a mentor to his younger teammates and that the younger athletes have been stepping forward competitively.
“Matt’s been an incredible young man. We’ve been incredibly fortunate and blessed to get him here because we didn’t have a scholarship to give,” Harbour said. “He’s just a super, super young man and has a great work ethic. He comes at it everyday. He’s on a mission and he couldn’t have a better mentor than Wil London. … I think Matthew is very fortunate to have Wil here for his first year to make sure he knows the ropes.”
In regard to the women’s team, injuries have been an issue. Yet with notable athletes such as Horton, Aaliyah Miller and Alex Madlock, there’s a hopeful atmosphere going into the Big 12 Championship and the NCAA Championships later in the season.
“Last year all we had [go to nationals] on the women’s side was Kiana. … She’s pretty safe right now so if we could get Alex and Aaliyah to go with her, that’d be outstanding,” Harbour said. “We could have a pretty good representation at nationals, unlike last year where we only had two with Will and Kiana. That’s still a part of what we’re going to do this weekend. We just compete hard and hopefully those things will take care of themselves too.”
London said he’s going into the Big 12 indoor meet with winning on his mind.
“I approach all meets the same, you know, just be ready and attack when I’m on the track,” London said. “Whenever I’m on the track I have to be a monster. I have to be the best out there and just have the mentality that I’m the greatest when I step on the track and regardless if there’s a guy three seconds slower than me or a guy three seconds faster, I have to be able to know what I’m capable of doing and executing everything that I practice.”
Madlock said the Big 12 meet will feature plenty of high-level athletes.
“I try to think that [who I compete against is] an Olympian because they can be,” Madlock said. “They’re here for a reason. We’re all here for a reason. We’ve all worked hard to get to this place and so going into the Big 12’s I’m focused on the process, not so much trying to get the big jump, but what it takes to get the big jump.”