Bears hunt for gold in Michael Johnson Invitational

The Michael Johnson Invitation will be hosted from April 24-25 for the last home track meet of the season. Brittany Tankersley | Photo Editor

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Baylor track and field is set to host its last home meet of the outdoor season, the Michael Johnson Invitational. The two-day meet begins at noon on Friday at noon with the women’s hammer throw, and continues at 11:30 a.m. Saturday starting with women’s javelin at Clyde Hart Track & Field Stadium.

“I’m always looking forward to the fans and I always love when we get good weather,” head coach Michael Ford said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the alum. I’m always looking forward to seeing them and their families and us competing because we have one more meet before Big 12, so this is kind of the last one of our last tune-ups.”

After not competing last weekend, both Baylor track teams have dropped slightly in national rankings, with the men falling from No. 6 to No. 12 and the women from No. 9 to No. 20. Ford said he is hoping to climb back up the ladder.

“One thing we’ve been doing really good this year is [remaining] really consistent across the board,” Ford said. “We talked earlier about the rankings and it fluctuates so much with how it’s based on what other teams are doing, and we didn’t run last week. So we go from being top 10 to dropping down to 15. On the ladies side we dropped to 20. It’s because we didn’t compete and other teams did. If we have some better marks this week, then we’ll probably go back up again.”

Baylor has some hungry runners, such as freshman sprinter and Olympian Imaobong Uko who has been making waves since her arrival in Waco. Ford said she is constantly learning every day and genuinely loves competing. Uko even convinced Ford to let her run in an extra event this weekend.

“She wasn’t scheduled to run the 200-meter this week — we were going to run her next week, but she was like, ‘Coach, I really want to run another 200,’” Ford said. “I was like, ‘You know you’re going run the 400 on Saturday?’ and she’s like ‘Yeah, I know,’ so we put her in and she’ll run the 200 tomorrow.”

For Uko, she said her mentality does not change from race to race and she is always gunning for gold whenever she competes.

“Before I go into any race, ready to run, I just say, ‘Everyone has one head,’ and I have one head too, so I could also do it,” Uko said.

Chinecherem “Zaza” Prosper Nnamdi has been making his own waves, as the freshman thrower broke a school record in his first-ever collegiate appearance. However, the record holder said he believes the sky’s the limit.

“The work is not done, that’s just the beginning,” Nnamdi said. “Breaking the school record was to show Baylor that I really appreciate being in this school. I’m just getting started, we’ll see what I can do by the end of the season. I believe I will be winning nationals.”