Baylor Track & Field: Willis Named Big 12 Outstanding Freshman of the Year

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 17:00:55-04

In a unanimous vote of the conference's head coaches, Baylor track and field sprinter Maxwell Willis won the Big 12 Outstanding Freshman Award for the 2017 outdoor season, league officials announced Thursday.
Willis also earned the same accolade during the indoor season to become just the second Bear to sweep the indoor and outdoor freshman honors (Brandon Couts, 1998).

The Upper Marlboro, Md., product is the fourth BU male athlete to capture the outdoor freshman honor, joining Trayvon Bromell (2014), LeJerald Betters (2007) and Couts (1998). 

It is the first time that a Big 12 men’s athlete has won the award during both the indoor and outdoor season since 2009 (German Fernandez, Oklahoma State). Overall, it is the eighth time in conference history that the indoor and outdoor honor has gone to the same men’s athlete.

At last weekend’s Big 12 Championship, Willis captured the 200-meter event crown and was a member of Baylor’s gold-medal winning 4x400-meter relay. He also scored in the 100 meters and was a part of BU’s second-place 4x1 relay. For the meet, Willis contributed 20.5 points to the men’s total of 78, which was more than any other athlete in the field, to earn Big 12 High-Point Scorer honors. He was just the third Baylor men’s athlete to receive that distinction, joining Brandon Couts (1998) and Reggie Witherspoon (2007).

Willis was also the lone Bear to record four All-Big 12 honors. Individually, the freshman Bear captured the 200-meter crown with a time of 20.10 (4.0m/s). Earlier in the day, he had finished third in the 100 meters with a time of 10.05. Willis closed out his night by running the leadoff leg for the title-winning 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:04.60. The freshman Bear opened his day on the track by anchoring the men’s 4x100-meter relay to a second-place finish in 39.75.

Other highlights from Willis’ season include meet titles at the Baylor Invitational (100m) and the Michael Johnson and Red Raider Shootout in the 200 meters. He is slated to compete in all four events at next week’s NCAA West Preliminary Rounds in Austin, Texas.