Baylor head track and field coach Todd Harbour announced the signing of 10 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday
“Overall this is one of our top signing classes in several years,” Harbour said. “This was no doubt one of our most challenging recruiting seasons ever, but our entire staff worked extremely hard identifying our needs and the end result is an outstanding group of young people who will represent all that is great about Baylor University. Our entire staff is excited to welcome them into the Baylor family.”
The class features seven women and three men, including nine Texas athletes and one from Colorado. The women's class is made up of two sprinters, two hurdlers, a middle distance runner, a distance athlete and a jumper.
The women’s athletes have won a combined eight state titles, including a two-time triple jump champion in Alex Madlock and the reigning 400-meter state title winner in Tonytana Sanders. Meanwhile, Colorado hurdler Sarah Yocum has five state trophies of her own.
Meanwhile the men’s group features a hurdler, a pole vaulter and a jumper. All three athletes captured state titles at their respective event in 2016, while Jayson Baldridge being the nation’s top 300-meter hurdler, Riley Richards owning the country’s second-best pole vault and Jalen Seals being the nation’s top returning long jumper.
FULL LIST OF WOMEN’S SIGNEES
Kennedy Bailey | Houston, Texas | Cypress Woods HS | Hurdles
Boasts personal-best of 8.61 in the 60-meter hurdles and 13.89 in 100-meter hurdles…Finished fourth at 2016 Texas 6A state meet time of 13.97 at 100-meter distance…Competed at Great Southwest Classic in June against nation’s best…Won district 100-meter title with PR of 13.89, which was Texas’ eighth-fastest time at the high school level last season.
Coach Michael Ford Quote: “Kennedy is one of the top 100-meter hurdlers in the state of Texas. She is a great addition to the Baylor track and field program. I believe she will help immediately on the short hurdles for us at the conference level. I am looking forward to developing her, so that she can help us keep our hurdle tradition great.”
Brooke Gilmore | Belton, Texas | Belton HS | Distance
Owns personal-best times of 5:10.88 in 1,600 meters and 11:14.35 in 3,200-meter race…Advanced to regional meet in both 1,600 and 3,200-meter events in three-straight years…In cross country, placed 10th at 2016 Texas 6A state meet…Set 5K PR of 17:49.9, which was state’s 15th-best time, to win Georgetown River Run in Oct. 2016…Three time-district champion in cross country.
Coach Todd Harbour Quote: “Brooke is one of the all-time best female distance runners to come out of Central Texas. I have had the privilege to watch her mature as a runner over the last few years and we feel like she will continue to develop into an outstanding collegiate athlete. Her best years are all in front of her. She is another outstanding young lady and we are extremely excited to welcome her and her parents to the Baylor family.”
Alex Madlock | Brownwood, Texas | Brownwood HS | Jumps
Won 2015 and 2016 Texas 3A state triple jump titles…Finished second (2015) and third (2016) at state meet in long jump…Set personal-best in triple jump of 41-1.25, while winning TTFCA Meet of Champions in May 2015…Produced personal-best of 19-6 in long jump to take fifth at Great Southwest Classic…PR in triple jump was the fourth-best mark in state of Texas in 2016.
Coach Stacey Smith Quote: “I’m happy that Alex will be joining our Baylor family. She will help us in the long and triple jump. She has competed well on the high school level and I know she is ready for great things this season. She will be a great addition to our jumps squad and a great competitor for us on the conference and national levels. Alex has the dedication and work ethic that we look for in recruiting student-athletes. She will definitely be one to watch in the future.”
Tontyana Sanders | Waco, Texas | Connally HS | Sprints
Reigning state 400-meter champion, after winning 2016 Texas 4A state crown in 56.59…Set 400-meter PR of 54.21 in freshman season of 2014, while winning first state title at Texas 3A level in 54.21, which was state’s fastest time for that year…Suffered an injury in sophomore season, before returning to make state meet in three events in junior campaign (400 meters, 4x1, 4x4).
Coach Clyde Hart Quote: “We are excited to Have TT as part of our women’s 400 group. She is the all-time Central Texas leader in the 400 meters and a two-time state champion as well. Not only is she a great 400 prospect, but even more important a person of outstanding character and leadership qualities.”
Morgan Stewart | Houston, Texas | Jersey Village HS | Middle Distance
Placed third in 800 meters at 2016 Texas 6A state meet with time of 2:10.58…Set personal-best mark of 54.30 in 400 meters to take third at 2016 TTFCA Meet of Champions…Tallied 800-meter PR of 2:09.60 in 800-meter event, which was third-best time in Texas for 2016…Won both events at Rice Victor Lopez Classic…Three-time district champion.
Coach Todd Harbour Quote: “Morgan is an outstanding young lady and will be a great addition to our middle distance group. After watching her run a very impressive 400/800 double last year at Rice she came up for an unofficial visit to our Michael Johnson meet. We were so impressed with Morgan and her parents at that time that we made her an offer and to our very pleasant surprise she committed to be a Baylor Bear before she left town.”
Sydney Washington | Round Rock, Texas | Stony Point HS | Sprints
Owns personal bests of 7.64 in 60 meters and 11.73 in 100 meters…Suffered injury in sophomore year, but returned to claim three district titles in junior season…Set wind-aided PRs of 11.53 (100m) and 24.00 (200m) at 2016 Texas 6A region II meet.
Coach Michael Ford Quote: “Sydney will add some depth in the 100 and 200-meter group next season. She is one the top sprinters in the state of Texas Also, she returns this upcoming year in the Top 5 in the state. Sydney is a great additions to this family. I am looking forward to coaching her, because she will help keep our Baylor sprint crew among the best in the nation.”
Sarah Yocum | Arvada, Colo. | Faith Christian Academy | Hurdles
Has won five Colorado state titles in hurdles…Captured 2016 state crowns at 100 (14.57) and 300 (44.15) meter hurdle distances…Owns PR times of 14.43 (100mh) and 1:01.30 (400mh)…Competed at 2016 USATF National Junior Olympic Championships, finishing seventh at shorter hurdle distance and fifth at 400-meter hurdles.
Coach Jon Capron Quote: “We are thrilled to add a great fit for Baylor in Sarah Yocum. She is a strong competitor with multiple Colorado state titles and times that rank her among the best nationally. She will add depth to the hurdles and we are excited to see what she can do when she gets here.”
FULL LIST OF MEN’S SIGNEES
Jayson Baldridge | Richmond, Texas | George Ranch HS | Hurdles
Owns nation’s best 300-meter hurdle time (36.32), which he used to win 2016 Texas 5A state meet…Competed at 2016 New Balance Nationals, finishing 10th in 400-meter hurdles (53.54)…Set personal-best marks of 48.80 (400m) and 14.89 (110mh) in junior campaign…Member of fifth-place 4x1 and 4x4 relay crews at 2016 state meet.
Coach Todd Harbour Quote: “Jayson comes in to Baylor as one of the top all-time 300-meter hurdlers in the state of Texas. He was also one of those early commitments that was made back in April of his junior year and we are proud to now have him and his parents at part of the Baylor family. Jayson will continue to develop into an elite hurdler and will be a very big part of our 4x400 tradition.”
Riley Richards | China Spring, Texas | China Spring HS | Pole Vault
Ranks No. 2 nationally in pole vault with PR of 17-0.75…Won 2016 Texas 6A state pole vault title with mark of 16-0…Captured USATF Southwestern Junior Olympics crown where he set PR…Won 2016 TTFCA Meet of Champions with clearance of 16-8.0…Finished as runner-up at 2015 Texas 4A state meet…Grandson of Olympic Gold medalist Bob Richards.
Coach Danny Brabham Quote: “We are excited to have Riley as an addition to our men’s team. He will be a catalyst for us to get our pole vaulters back to the level we have experienced in the past. We fully expect Riley to be a national-caliber vaulter this year and we expect him to be a great addition to the Baylor family.
Jalen Seals | Fort Worth, Texas | Boswell HS | Jumps
Won 2016 Texas 5A state long jump title with PR of 24-11.50, which is tops among returning high school athletes in the nation…Owns PR of 49-6.50 in triple jump and finished as state runner-up in event in 2016…Finished eighth in both the long and triple jump at 2016 New Balance Nationals…Reached the Texas 5A state meet as a sophomore and finished eighth.
Coach Stacey Smith Quote: “I’m excited for Jalen to join our Baylor family. He is an outstanding young man who will be very valuable to our program. Jalen will also help us in both the long and triple jump. He’s bringing in one of the top long jumps in the country. Jalen has the potential to be a top competitor at the conference and national levels. I’m very excited about the opportunity to coach him and watch what he can do. He’s a bright young man with a bright future.”