By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor track and field showed up and showed out at the two-day Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. On the first day Baylor won five events, and on the second day, freshman jumper Johnny Brackins, sophomore sprinter Ackera Nugent, and senior pole vaulter Tuesdi Tidwell were awarded Most Outstanding at the conclusion of the meet.
Head coach Michael Ford said he was happy with the results of the meet but that it’s right back to work for the team to prepare for the next meet.
“I thought the meet today was another solid meet for us,” Ford said. “I thought the relays did well. We were a little short-handed on the ladies’ side, but I thought they competed well and that’s all that we were asking for. Now, we will get back to work on Monday and Tuesday to get ready for Kentucky.”
To kick things off, Baylor’s track and field finished the first day with five wins.
In the women’s weight throw, the Bears had two athletes place. In 8th was junior thrower Hannah Link with a throw of 54 feet and four inches. Right behind her in 9th was senior thrower Samone Turner with a throw of just over 50 feet.
Senior high jumper Moorea Long had herself a day, on her first high jump attempt she cleared 5-5¾ tying her personal best for indoor competition. This was enough to result in her first-ever gold medal.
Baylor had two athletes place in the long jump. Senior long jumper Caira Pettway took home bronze, making a length of 19-4¾ on three attempts. In 10th was freshman jumper Alexandra Rutenis with a length of 17-4¼.
In only his second collegiate indoor meet, Brackins sniffed a Baylor record as he tied for third all-time longest jump as a Bear, taking gold with a length of 25-6¼.
Junior thrower Mikayla Deshazer took fifth place in shot put as she set a new personal-best with a length of 48-10¼.
In the women’s 200-meter, freshman sprinter Michaela Francois took gold with a time of 24.72 seconds. Finishing in fourth was freshman sprinter Summer Sergeant with a time of 24.94 seconds. Sophomore sprinter Bria Bullard (25.19 seconds) took sixth, and right behind her was senior sprinter TT Sanders (25.44 seconds).
Baylor had three athletes place in the top five in the men’s open 200-meter dash. Starting with senior hurdler Jayson Baldridge, who finished with gold after a time of 21.86 seconds. Sophomore sprinter Dillon Bedell followed shortly behind with a time of 22.12 seconds. Not far behind the pair was freshman sprinter Laurenz Colbert at 22.35 seconds.
In the women’s premier 200-meter, sophomore sprinter Kavia Francis (24.22 seconds) took second and hundredths of seconds behind her was junior sprinter Mariah Ayers (24.24 seconds) who finished in third.
Senior sprinter Matthew Moorer grabbed his second gold medal of the season in the premier 200-meter after his 21.22 second run. Senior sprinter Isaiah Cunningham finished in fifth place at 21.76 seconds.
Ford said he was happy with the team’s overall performance on the first day of the meet.
“I was happy with the 200-meter group on the track tonight,” Ford said. “I was glad to see Jayson Baldridge back after missing the first meet to win the 200-meter open division. Overall, I feel we got some work done on the track and in the field, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
On the second day in the 60-meter hurdles finals, Nugent set the track facility and meet record time of 7.9 seconds. Senior hurdler Kennedy Bailey was right behind her in second with a time of 8.3 seconds.
In his first collegiate triple jump event, Brackins finished first with a 51-5¾ jump to land another top three spot on Baylor’s all-time lists.
In the pole vault, Tidwell took home gold with a final height of 14-3¼. Behind her in tenth was sophomore pole vaulter Alex Kubicek, clearing 11-11¾.
Freshman pole vaulter Nate Butler had a career night in the vault, clearing the bar at 4.45, 4.6, 4.75 and 4.9. His new PR earned him a silver medal in only his second meet.
During the women’s premier 400-meter dash, freshman sprinter Imaobong Uko earned a gold medal for her performance of 54.6 seconds.
During the women’s 4×400-meter relay, Baylor took home a silver medal with a time of 3:40.87. For the men, they finished second place as well with a time of 3:15.24 seconds.
Up next, Baylor’s track and field is heading to Lexington, Kentucky for their next meet on Friday and Saturday.