By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Baylor track and field finished with multiple gold medals capped of by the men’s 4×400 landing a top eight national finish at the Rod McCravy Memorial in Lexington, Ky.
Sophomore sprinter Ackera Nugent once again found herself in the finals for the women’s 60-meter hurdles. The Big-12 Co-Women’s Athlete of the Week edged out her opponents for another gold medal with a time of 7.96 seconds.
Similar to Nugent, freshman jumper Johnny Brackins and senior pole vaulter Tuesdi Tidwell also recaptured gold following the three winning Most Outstanding in their last meet. Tidwell won gold in the women’s pole vault after clearing 13-9¾. Big-12 Men’s Athlete of the Week Brackins set a new personal best in the men’s long jump, 25-8, to win his second straight gold medal in the event.
In the women’s long jump, senior jumper Alex Madlock made some Baylor history of her own. Madlock moved into the No. 2 slot at Baylor both as a performer and by performance on her way to win gold in the event with a jump of 20-08.50. Following her were senior jumper Ciara Pettway and junior jumper Koi Johnson. The pair finished in third and fourth, respectively. In the women’s triple jump event Johnson took silver and Madlock took bronze, with Johnson setting a new PR with a length of 41-9¼.
In the women’s 60-meter finals, senior sprinter Sydney Washington took fourth place after a photo-finish with Pettway who took fifth as both finished with times of 7.4 seconds.
Senior sprinter Isaiah Cunningham was the only Bear to qualify for the men’s 60-meter dash finals, where he placed fifth with a time of 6.75 seconds.
In the men’s 400 meters, senior sprinter Howard Fields III set a new PR in his gold medal win with a race of 46.32 seconds. Sprinters senior Matthew Moorer (3rd) and sophomore sprinter Dillon Bedell (5th) also finished in the top five of the event.
The three were joined by senior hurdler Jayson Baldridge in the 4×400 relay where they finished with the eighth fastest time in the nation, 3:06.23, as of Saturday.
In the women’s 4×400 relay, sophomore sprinter Kavia Francis, junior sprinter Mariah Ayers, senior middle distance runner Aaliyah Miller and freshmen sprinter Imaobong Uko placed second with a time of 3:36.04.
In the women’s 400, Uko (53.47) finished fourth with Francis (53.51) close behind in fifth place.
Ford said he was pleased with the team’s overall performance and they are focused on competing in every meet.
“I was really impressed with the 400 group today,” Ford said. “For the men and women to go out and run season-bests or PRs, that was one of the reasons that we wanted to come to Kentucky; we wanted to run on a bigger track. I am also proud of the team overall. We’ve had a three-week stretch of traveling and competing at a high level. We’ll rest some up for the A&M meet and get ready to take others to the meet. Overall, I am pleased with the team and happy with the direction that we’re going.”
Next, Baylor track and field is headed to College Station to compete in the Charlie Thomas Invitational next Friday and Saturday.