By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Baylor track and field will head north for the Big 12 Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday. Both the men’s and women’s squads finished sixth in the conference last season.
The Bears won six out of the 38 events at last year’s championships, and they return eight athletes from those wins. Head coach Todd Harbour said they have tempered expectations heading into this weekend.
“We don’t have enough firepower to go up there and really realistically say we can try to win this thing, but we can still go up there and have a great meet,” Harbour said. “We’ve got some athletes that are ranked high in the Big 12, come back with a few Big 12 titles, and still try to get a few qualified for the NCAA meet.”
Some of those individual events where the Bears will be competitive are men’s and women’s pole vault, as well as the men’s 4×400 relay. Junior sprinter Tre Fields said he feels ready going into his meet this weekend.
“I’m feeling good. I ran two 400s this year so far in Indoor,” Fields said. “So coming in this meet, I’m just really confident in making sure I get the top-five time in the NCAA 400-meter.”
The Big 12 Indoor Championships are one of the biggest meets of the season, and the team recognizes that as they prepare to compete against the rest of the conference. Baylor won the women’s 4×400 last season, and junior sprinter Sidney Washington said that’s something this squad is trying to follow up on.
“The women that won last year set a really good tone for us that we all try to follow, and we’re all trying to live up to that expectation,” Washington said. “But at the end of the day, we can only focus on one thing at a time and just focus on your heat and focus on the people you’re competing with.”
Even though this is a championship, it’s only halfway through the track and field season. After Indoors finish up the team will be moving to the Outdoor half, and then after that prepping for Olympic trials. Harbour said that he has to remind his athletes to pace themselves with over three months until the biggest meet of the season.
“This is our midterm,” Harbour said. “That’s kind of how you look at the Indoor season … It’s a very important midterm, but we’re going to be measured, but still man we’ve got all the way to June to go, and this is an Olympic trial year. So for our sport … this is one of those times you want to do your very best. You want to be measured in a good way, but at the same time, we come back and we start Outdoor in two weeks.”
The Big 12 Indoor Championships will begin on Friday and continue into Saturday in Ames, Iowa at the Lied Recreation Center.