WACO — Already a Big 12 Champion and Baylor indoor school record holder in the pole vault, KC Lightfoot can add Big 12 Outstanding Freshman of the Year to his resumé after the conference office announced its indoor postseason awards Friday afternoon.
“It is a great honor for an outstanding young man,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “Congratulations to KC on this well-deserved award.”
Lightfoot is the third Baylor track & field student-athlete in four years to be named the conference’s top male freshman, and the seventh overall since the league first competed in 1997.
“It’s an honor to win the award and join the six other Baylor athletes that have gotten it,” Lightfoot said. “It’s not an easy award to earn, so it’s definitely a privilege.”
A product of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Lightfoot put the stamp on his historic freshman indoor campaign by defeating defending indoor National Champion Hussain Al Hizam of Kansas to win the Big 12 Championship this past weekend in Lubbock. He tied his own Baylor school record in the process, matching the mark of 18-7.5 (5.68m) that he set the previous week at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier.
The school record that had stood for 28 years has now been eclipsed twice by Lightfoot, who earned Big 12 Athlete of the Week honors on Feb. 20 after initially breaking the record.
“I knew he was bound for great things,” assistant coach and pole vault coach Brandon Richards said. “It was just a matter of time. So, it doesn’t really surprise me. KC being the vaulter that he is, it’s always been inside of him. We just had to take the time to get it out. He’s going to jump a lot higher. I think this is all just part of the plan.”
In addition to winning the pole vault at the Big 12 Championships and Texas Tech Matador Qualifier, Lightfoot also posted victories at the Texas Tech Classic (18-3.25, 5.57m) and Larry Wieczorek Invitational, where he was named the Larry "Wiz" Wieczorek Invitational Outstanding Male Field Event Athlete after posting 17-10.5 (5.45m). Lightfoot also cleared 18’ in his collegiate debut, recording a jump of 18-1.75 (5.53m) to finish as the runner-up at the Ted Nelson Invitational.
“I’m glad practice and results are showing and the jumps are feeling good,” Lightfoot said. “Hopefully I can carry this over to outdoor season and next weekend in Alabama.”
Lightfoot is ranked No. 6 in the nation heading into the NCAA Championships, which will take place March 8-9 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. He and the nation’s top men’s pole vaulters will take the stage Friday (March 8) at 5:30 p.m. CT.
“I just want him to compete well,” Richards said. “This is his first indoor nationals. KC is no stranger to big meets. I feel like he’s going to do really well. By the same token, I don’t want to put any extra pressure on him. Just have fun, jump your technique, stick with the process, and it’ll all work out.”
For more information on the 2019 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the City of Birmingham, visit https://www.bhamfasttrack.com/ [bhamfasttrack.com].
For continued updates on the Baylor Track & Field team, follow the team's social media accounts all season long: @BaylorTrack.