Baylor T&F records 11 wins in last home meet of the season

The Michael Johnson Invitational on April 22 and 23 was a historic meet for the Baylor track team, setting national records and coming away with 11 wins. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer

Baylor track and field came away with 11 wins and multiple national marks in the Michael Johnson Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Clyde Hart Track and Field Stadium.

Friday night, freshman thrower Chinecherem Prosper Nnamdi lost his top national spot in javelin. However, on Saturday he threw the javelin out of the stadium with a throw of 265-11, smashing his own school record and retaking the top spot in the process. The throw launched him to No. 15 all-time thrower in Division I competition.

“I feel great. I feel blessed because coming into this I thought 80 meters was going to be a tough task to overcome,” Nnamdi said. “Seeing myself throw over 80 meters was great, I just feel blessed.”

On the first day, senior hurdler Jayson Baldridge overtook Baylor teammate freshman hurdler Nathaniel Ezekiel’s top national mark in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. The pair finished in first and second, Baldridge with a time of 49.10 and Ezekiel with a time of 49.35.

“It’s my fifth season out here, it’s my last season,” Baldridge said. “I just want to go out on top, go out as best as I can. As long as God wants me to do it, I’m going to try my best to make it happen.”

In the women’s 400-meter hurdles sophomore hurdler Gontse Morake set a new personal best with a time of 57.80, finishing as the collegiate champion. In third was freshman hurdler Jasmine Gryne with her own personal best of 59.30.

Sophomore sprinter Kavia Francis and freshman sprinter Imaobong Uko finished top two in the women’s 400 meter. Both recorded their Baylor personal best. Francis with a time of 52.54 and Uko with a 52.89.

The pair also competed alongside Morake and junior sprinter Mariah Ayers in the women’s 4×400-meter relay, finishing with a time of 3:30.21, fifth fastest in Baylor history, to take the gold.

The men finished second in the 4×400 relay. The group of senior sprinter Isaiah Cunningham, junior sprinter Hasani Barr, sophomore sprinter Dillon Bedell and Ezekiel put up a time of 3:04.44.

In the 4×100, the men finished with a collegiate-best time of 39.59 with the group of sprinters freshman Laurenz Colbert, Cunningham, junior Kamden Jackson and freshman De’montray Callis.

The women’s 4×100, comprised of redshirt senior Alexis Duncan, senior Caira Pettway, senior Sydney Washington and Francis finished in 44.52 for a silver medal in the event.

Pettway and sophomore sprinter Ackera Nugent finished right next to each other in the women’s 100-meter. Both came within hundredths of seconds of beating the school record currently held by Nugent with times of 11.11 and 11.13. Nugent also found success in the women’s 100-meter hurdle, finishing first with a time of 12.79 seconds.

In the men’s 100, Cunningham finished just shy of his personal best with a time of 10.19 seconds.

In the men’s 110-meter hurdle, junior hurdler Elijah Morris recorded a new PR of 13.65 to win the event and move to No. 5 on Baylor’s all-time list. Freshman jumper Johnny Brackins took bronze with a time of 13.78.

Senior Aaliyah Miller took collegiate-first place in the women’s 800-meter with season-best 2:05.55, only behind Olympic gold medalist Athing Mu.

In the women’s 5000 meters, freshman Hayden Gold took gold with a time of 17:35.98. In second was junior Sophia Leidner in second with a time of 17:42.44.

In the men’s 200 meter, senior sprinter Matthew Moorer took collegiate silver finishing in 20.96-seconds. In the women’s, Ayers took second with a time of 23.44.

“Crazy Michael Johnson Invitational, especially with this being my first one with the alumni and everything else and trying to run it with Lucy (Reed),” head coach Michael Ford said. “But I think overall, we had an awesome track meet. I think we still have to stay healthy because we got a couple people banged-up today. But, I think once we get back healthy and have one more track meet and get a week off before conference, I think we’ll be ready to go.”

Next up, Baylor travels to Baton Rouge, La. to finish the regular season at the LSU Invitational on April 30.