WACO, Texas – On the final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Baylor track and field teams used a bevy of runner-up finishes and one Big 12 event title to record a third-place finish in the women's team competition and a seventh-place showing in the men's team race.
On Sunday at the Hart-Patterson Track and Field Complex, the women's squad recorded its highest team finish and its highest point total (93) since taking second in 1999 with 106.5 points. In total, Baylor had 27 competitors earn 41 All-Big 12 honors during the meet with 13 women tallying 23 honors and 13 men taking home 18 accolades.
The highlight of the day for Baylor came from senior Christina Holland, who won Baylor's lone Big 12 event title over the course of the three-day competition with a school-record time of 56.81 in the 400-hurdles. The San Antonio, Texas, native, took home BU's first outdoor title since Tiffani McReynolds won the 100-meter hurdles in 2011. With the win Holland earns her fourth straight All-Big 12 accolade in the event. In three previous Big 12 outdoor meets, Holland had finished third (2012) and fourth twice (2011 and 2010). She bettered her own school-record mark in the event by .06 seconds. She is now ninth nationally with that time.
"I just couldn't lose again," Holland said. "On the last curve, I was running and working the curve when I noticed that we were in the same ballpark. I just went for it. I could hear everybody getting louder and louder."
Outside of Holland's title, Baylor had nine second-place performances, including six on the final day.
"We knew coming in we were short on sticks to fight with, but I thought we fought really hard all weekend," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We ended up having nine-second place finishes and Christina Holland grabbed the Big 12 title. The ladies finishing third exceeded our expectation."
Junior Blake Heriot was the fourth-highest point scorer at the event on the men's side as he finished with two second-place finishes in both the 200 and 400 meters. The junior set personal-bests in both events. To open his day Heriot bettered his previous best in the 400-meters by nearly a second with a time of 45.46. That mark is currently 10th-best in the country. In the 200-meters, Heriot posted a mark of 20.52, which is currently tied for fifth best in the NCAA. He has now earned All-Big 12 honors in both events twice.
Perhaps the most surprising of those second-place finishes came from men's 800-meter runner Gavyn Nero. The senior came into the meet with the seventh-fastest time in the league of 1:51.59, but got out quickly in the race and held the lead through 700-meters. In the final stretch, he came up just short of Texas Tech's Nick Rivera, but still posted a season-best time of 1:50.27. It is the first outdoor All-Big 12 honor for the Trinidad and Tobago product.
On the women's side in that event, Baylor had two All-Big 12 performances as freshman Olicia Williams nabbed another second-place finish with a personal-best time of 2:05.23. That mark is the second-fastest in school history and currently ranked 15th in the NCAA for 2013.
Williams' teammate Mariah Kelly opened the day with a second-place showing in the 1,500 meters in a time of 4:24.09. She followed that effort up with a time of 2:09.61 to earn fifth place in the 800 meters. Those were the first two All-Big 12 outdoor honors for the sophomore.
Senior Skylar White followed up her second-place finish in the shot put on Saturday with a runner-up showing in the discus on Sunday. The Desoto, Texas, native, has now earned All-Big 12 recognition in that event for four straight seasons, after a throw of 176-10 [15.91m].
"It is hard to judge a meet just on one ending, but we are disappointed our guys didn't finish better in the relay. That is not the way you want to end a meet at home.
Freshman Ashley Fields was a double All-Big 12 honoree as she took fourth in the 100-meters with a personal-best time of 11.50 and third in the 200 meters in 23.33.
Baylor's triple jumpers scored big points as Felix Obi and Brianna Richardson both finished third.
Obi's mark of 52-2.5 [15.91m] was a stadium record coming into the weekend, but the freshman Bear was bested by Cameron Parker of TCU and long jump champion Bryce Lamb of Texas Tech. Obi now owns the top-five marks in BU history with Sunday's mark ranking as the second-best.
Richardson produced a leap of 41-9.25 [12.73m] on her second jump of the day to earn third. The freshman was fourth in the event at the indoor meet.
In the men's javelin, BU got a boost as both Blake Mayberry and Richard Hansen both scored. Mayberry saved his best for last as he moved up from seventh to fourth with a throw of 206-9 [63.01m] on his final attempt. Hansen had a personal-best heave of 200-5 [61.09m] on his first attempt of the day to take seventh.
Earlier in the day, Holland took sixth in the 100-hurdles with a mark of 13.64. It is her second-straight All-Big 12 honor in that event. Freshman Bryce Grace was fifth in the 110-hurdles with a mark of 14.10.
Baylor had two score in the 400-meters as Raena Rhone (4th, 53.58) and Idia Omgiate (7th, 54.54) were both All-Big 12 honorees.
In the 4x100-meters, both of BU's teams scored All-Big 12 accolades. The men's squad of Justin Allen, Heriot, Bryce Grace and Reece were fourth in 40.47. The women were seventh in 45.52 with Justine Charbonnet, Fields, Omogiate and Justise Dayries competing.
In the 4x440-yard relay, the BU women were third with Omogiate, Fields, Williams and Rhone running a 3:35.48. On the men's side, Allen, Barb, Seale and Duke tallied a time of 3:09.32 to be fourth.
Rachel Johnson claimed her second-straight All-Big 12 honor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as the sophomore took sixth in 10:38.42. Last season, Johnson was fourth in the event.
Alex Reece was eighth in the 100-meters in 10.62.
Ninth-place finishes Taylor Torres in the javelin, Justine Charbonnet in the triple jump, Taylor Jackson in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase and Jonathan Tijerina in the 1500-meters.
The Bears will now have three weeks off from competition, before competing at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas, May 23-25.
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