By Kaitlyn DeHaven | Digital Managing Editor
Baylor track and field is headed to Birmingham, Ala. this weekend to compete at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Seniors Wil London and Kiana Horton have high expectations set for them as they are coming off breaking Baylor school records at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships.
During the championship, London broke a Baylor-record time of 45.19 in the 400 meter race while simultaneously earning his first Big 12 title. The record had been held for 15 years. Horton, on the other hand, beat a 20-year-old Baylor-record time with 52.18 in the women’s 400 meters.
Head coach Todd Harbour said the athletes are hungry for more and are pushing themselves to give all they have at these competitions, since both would like to run post-collegiately.
“Everything you do right now is setting you up for opportunities to compete at the next level,” Harbour said. “It’s a big deal. It’s transition time for them. Wil and Kiana both have great shots in the quarter. I wouldn’t put it past either one of them to win it.”
London said he feels that in order to best prepare himself for the upcoming competition, he must remember to stay relaxed, poised and ready to execute the race. He said that where he’s at right now gives him the confidence he needs to go into this championship and dominate if he gives himself that extra push.
Harbour said London’s talent did not coming as a surprise. He said London ran a 45.8 in the 400 meters right after they opened the new track, and after that moment, they knew he was going to have a great season.
“Nothing’s really surprised us,” Harbour said. “We knew Wil was a special talent, and we knew once he got into this program he would blossom even more. It’s been a blessing to have him.”
While London has been impressive this season, Horton has also made some great strides this season. She said one of her biggest goals going into the indoor season was to beat the record, and in addition to that, she was thankful to win her third Big 12 title.
Horton said going into this weekend, she’s not only excited for the individual events, but the relay as well. She said that she feels as if the team finally pulled it together during their conference championship and now, they’re ready to dominate.
“We know coming in that relay-wise we’re kind of the underdogs, but every year we tend to surprise them,” Horton said. “Hopefully if we take care of our business like we did at conference, we’ll be All-Americans.”
The men are also hoping to go into the relay this weekend and overcome the competition. London said that if they execute the race as they’ve been doing all year, they can win any other heat.
“My expectation is to go out there and win,” London said. “I don’t have anything else that I’m planning on doing besides that. We have the opportunity – we just have to take it.”
Harbour said having more than just two people competing this year has been a great advantage to the team, as it gives them a break from the mental stress the athletes are under. He also said it’s helpful if someone suffers an injury while competing because they have a teammate to step in, which happened last week.
“It was a neat end to our conference season,” Harbour said. “Hopefully we can carry it on and do some big things this weekend.”