LAWRENCE, Kan. - The Baylor track and field team will have 11 student-athletes representing it with nine entries into the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships, after qualifying four more entries on the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary Championships at Rock Chalk Park Saturday.
Over the course of three days of competition, Baylor got two relay teams and seven individual entries through to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 8-11.
Baylor ended the meet on a high note as both the women’s and men’s 4x400-meter relays advanced.
The women’s quartet of Taylor Bennett, Kiana Hawn, Ashley Fields and Olicia Williams placed fifth in their heat with a time of 3:34.43. That mark ended up being the 11th-fastest overall and the women’s quartermile relay earned a spot in Eugene, after not making it to the preliminary rounds in 2015.
The Bears got strong legs from Hawn (52.8) and Williams (52.3) as both of those athletes will also be in an individual event at the national meet with Hawn in the 400-meter hurdles and Williams in the 800-meter run.
On the men’s side, BU’s 4x400-meter relay advanced to the national meet for the 37th-straight year with Caleb Dickson, Wil London, Brandon Moore and George Caddick auto-qualifying by placing second in their heat with a time of 3:04.34. That mark was the second-fastest overall at the meet.
BU got its best splits from London (44.5) and Caddick (45.1), who will also represent the Bears in the open 400 meters at the NCAA event. The freshman took the Bears from the middle of the pack on his leg to the lead and then Caddick moved up from third to second over the final 400 meters.
In the field events, Felix Obi used the second-best triple jump in school history to qualify for the national outdoor meet for a second-straight season. The senior Bear carded a mark of 53-3.5 [16.24m] on his second attempt to move to second in the competition. That distance ended up being the fourth-best of the day.
After a 17th-place finish in the discus, Cion Hicks rebounded to advance in the shot put with a top heave of 54-4.5 [16.57m]. Hicks earned her second-straight trip to Eugene in the event by tallying her best throw on her second attempt and placing 11th.
BU also had several near misses on the day, but the closest to qualifying was Desmine Hilliard, who placed 13th in the discus with a best throw of 183-1 [55.81m]. That mark was just one inch shy of tying for the 12th and final qualifying spot, which would have put the senior Bear into the national meet for the first time since 2013 as his second-best mark was better than the 12th-place finisher’s second mark.
The full list of Baylor's qualifiers includes 11 athletes, who earned nine entries: Taylor Bennett (4x400), Caleb Dickson (4x400), George Caddick (400m, 4x400), Ashley Fields (4x400), Kiana Hawn (400 hurdles, 4x400), Cion Hicks (shot put), Wil London (400m, 4x400), Brandon Moore (4x400), Felix Obi (triple jump), Annie Rhodes (pole vault) and Olicia Williams (800m,4x400).
• Baylor has had its men's 4x400-meter squad at the NCAA Championships every year since 1980.
• Baylor is one of just four schools to get both men’s and women’s 4x400-meter relays to Eugene.
• Rhys Phillips carded a 17th-place finish in the 110-hurdles with a time of 13.97.
• Cion Hicks placed 17th in the discus with a throw of 167-0 [50.90m].
• Taylor Bennett (17th, 23.39) and Justise Dayries (39th, 24.15) both missed on qualifying in the 200 meters.
• Chelsea Orr finished 20th in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:24.83.
• Malik Wilson took 39th in the 200 meters with a time of 21.57.
• Maggie Montoya ran near the lead of the pack in 5,000 meters, but just under halfway through the race she dropped out with an injury.
TOP QUOTE #1
"We got a lot of people out and it was great to end it on a high note with both 4x4s getting out. Now hopefully we can have some very solid performances up in Eugene and finish strong. We had to overcome a lot of stuff this weekend with the weather, so it was just good to end on a good note.” - head coach Todd Harbour on the meet
Baylor's nine qualified entries will continue their season at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., at Hayward Field on June 8-11.
To stay current on all things Baylor Track, follow the team on Twitter: @BaylorTrack.