Baylor’s Rhodes Crowned Big 12 Pole Vault Champion

Posted at 2:42 PM, May 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-15 15:42:50-04

FORT WORTH, Texas - Baylor track and field junior Annie Rhodes won the pole vault title on the second day of the Big 12 Outdoor Championship Saturday at Lowdon Track and Field Complex.

The BU junior, who finished second last season and third in her freshman campaign in the event, finally got to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time in her career by clearing 14-5.25 [4.41m].

However, Rhodes’ run to be the first BU female athlete to ever win a conference pole vault crown was not without drama. She entered the competition at 13-7.5 [4.06m] and cleared that and the next bar on her first attempts.

With three competitors remaining in the event, the Waco, Texas, native missed on her first two attempts at 14-1.75 [4.31m], but cleared the bar on her last attempt to be just one of two athletes to make it to the 14-3.5 [4.36m] height. After Texas’ Kally Long missed on her first attempt at that bar, Rhodes cleared it to put the pressure on Long. The UT sophomore passed to the next height of 14-5.5 [4.41m] and missed her next two attempts, while Rhodes cleared that title-winning bar on her third try.

The Bears also had four other competitors claim All-Big 12 honors on the second day of the meet.

In the shot put, Cion Hicks placed fifth with a personal-best throw of 56-1 [17.09m]. The BU junior opened the competition with a then-PR of 54-10.75 [16.73m] and then promptly uncorked the second-best throw in school history on her second attempt. The Copperas Cove, Texas, product fouled on her next four attempts, but still claimed the third-straight All-Big 12 shot put honor of her career.

To open the day, Hunter Powell and Chase Hood both recorded points for the Bears in the decathlon. Powell, who entered the day in sixth, moved up to finish fifth with 6,636 points. The sophomore Bear recorded personal-bests in all five events Saturday, highlighted by the third-best discus throw at 117-0 [35.67m]. Meanwhile, Hood had the top pole vault (16-0.75 [4.90m]) and javelin marks in the competition (173-2 [52.79m)] to hold his eight-place standing and tally 6,563 points.

On the final day of the heptathlon competition, Carly Grandcolas entered the day in ninth-place and worked her way up to seventh to earn the second-straight all-conference accolade of her career. Grandcolas recorded the third-best long jump of the day (17-10.75 [5.45m] and also set a PR in the javelin (89-10 [27.38m], which allowed her to finish with a 4,016 point total for the two days of competition.

In the preliminary round of the running events, the Bears had 11 athletes earn 12 entries in to Sunday finals.

Kiana Horton was the lone Bear to qualify in two events as she had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 100 meters with a time of 11.45 and then closed out the night by finishing second in her heat of the 200-meter dash in 23.39.

On the men’s side, Baylor had two events in which two athletes qualified. In the 400 meters, freshman Wil London won his heat and recorded the second-fastest qualifying time in 46.18, while junior George Caddick qualified on time with a mark of 46.44 in his first quarter mile race of the 2016 outdoor season. Meanwhile, Antwuan Musgrove (53.69) and Robert Dutton (54.21) each will be in the 400-meter hurdle final on Sunday. On the women’s side in that event, Kiana Hawn placed second in her heat to make the final with a mark of 1:00.21.

In the women’s middle distances, Olicia Williams ran her first outdoor 800 meters of the season and auto-advanced by placing second in her heat with a time of 2:06.25. Maggie Montoya opened BU’s running on day two by auto-advancing in the 1,500 meters with a third-place finish in her heat with a time of 4:22.36.

The Bears also had two athletes that just slipped into the finals. First in the 100-meter dash, Malik Wilson recovered from a slow start and ran a personal-best time of 10.41, which tied him with two other runners for the final qualify spot. When each athlete’s time was expanded to the thousandths of a second, Wilson advanced by .002 (10.401 to 10.403).

Meanwhile in the 800 meters, Brandon Moore has a chance to go for a third-straight All-Big 12 honor Sunday after he had the eighth-best time in that race at 1:50.53.

Rhys Phillips got an automatic entry into the finals of the 110-meter hurdles, after only eight competitors entered the event.

• With the bulk of Baylor's point projected to come on Sunday, the Baylor women are currently seventh with 16 points, while the men are ninth with five points.
• By comparison, Baylor's 11 athletes, who qualified on Saturday are one less than last year. 
• Chelsea Orr was one spot out of qualifying in the 1,500 meters. Her time of 4:29.99 was just over a second out of the finals (4:23.98).