BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Baylor track and field freshman Wil London was the higlight for the Bears on the opening day of the NCAA Indoor Championships Friday at Birmingham CrossPlex.
The Waco, Texas native, produced a 400-meter time of 46.50 to be the fourth-fastest. Coming in to the meet with just the 14th-best time in the NCAA, London finished second in the opening heat of the event and then watched as 12 other runners in the remaining three heats tried to better his time. However, only two of London’s competitors were able to beat his mark as he claimed one of the eight spots in Saturday’s 5:10 p.m. CT final.
Baylor’s two other competitors on the first day of action both fell short of Saturday’s finals.
Freshman Taylor Bennett, Baylor’s lone athlete to be in two individual events at the national championship, ran a 23.49 in the 200-meter dash to finish third in her heat and register the 15th-fastest time overall. Earlier in the night, Bennett was also unsuccessful in qualifying for the finals of 60-meter dash. She placed sixth in her heat with a time of 7.40, but a blazing second heat bumped her out of qualifying and down to the 14th-fastest time on the night.
Although Olicia Williams came into the meet with just the 17th-fastest time in the country at the 800-meter distance, the 2015 third-place finisher in the event looked poised to get back to the finals after winning the Big 12 title. However in the opening heat, Williams was fifth after 200 meters and sixth at the halfway point. With 100 meters to go, the senior tried to make her move shooting up the field to third, but was unable to hold that position, finishing fifth in her heat with a time of 2:04.81. That mark ended up being 11th-fastest overall, after a quicker second heat.
• London is Baylor’s 22nd finalist in the 400-meter event at the NCAA Indoor Championships and the first to make it to the finals since LeJerald Betters was eighth in 2009.
TOP QUOTE #1
"Wil had an outstanding day. For a freshman to come here 14th and get into the finals is special. He executed like a veteran. I am super proud of Wil and excited to see him tomorrow. Taylor had a little bad luck with her lane assignment. I know she was disappointed, but she has a lot of time just being a freshman. The one that was probably the toughest was Olicia. She just didn’t get out and execute the game plan." - head coach Todd Harbour on the first day of the meet
Baylor’s second day of action begins with Felix Obi’s participation in the triple jump at 3:30 p.m. Annie Rhodes begins her run in the pole vault at 4 p.m., while Cion Hicks takes part in the shot put at 5 p.m. BU’s participation on the track beings with London running in the 400-meter final at 5:10 p.m.
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COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
60-Meters - Semifinal
14. Taylor Bennett (FR) - 7.40
200 Meters - Semifinal
15. Taylor Bennett (FR) - 23.49
400 Meters - Semifinal
4. Wil London (FR) - 46.50
800 Meters - Semifinal
11. Olicia Williams (SR) - 2:04.81 (fourth-fastest in school history)