LUBBOCK, Texas – Wil London and Kiana Horton broke prestigious Baylor school records in the 400 meters en route to individual Big 12 titles, and both 4x400-meter relay teams won conference titles as the men’s and women’s teams finished sixth Saturday at the Big 12 Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Texas Tech Sports Performance Center.
“It was a big day for some individuals,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “Just incredible performances by Kiana and Wil in the quarter. Two school records. Those are two pretty special school records both of those guys took down. Wil breaking Jeremy (Wariner)’s school record, that was a big one. The 4x4s closed it out on a great note. We think maybe our ladies got in (to NCAAs) so we’re hopeful there. That was a great way to end it.”
London, who came into the meet ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 8 in the NCAA, made it look easy as he cruised to his first Big 12 indoor title in a Baylor-record time of 45.19. The record had stood for 15 years since Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner set the standard of 45.39 at the 2004 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
“The school record was held by one of the greatest to ever do it,” London said. “The fact that I broke it just shows what the future holds for me. My first indoor Big 12 400 title was bittersweet. I’m glad it’s coming home where it belongs.”
London beat runner-up Ashton Hicks of Oklahoma State by .41, while Baylor teammate and freshman Matthew Moorer took third at 46.57. Howard Fields III placed fifth with a time of 46.64 to give the Bears three of the top-eight finishers.
In the women’s 400 meters, Horton took down Yulanda Nelson’s 20-year-old school record that was set at the 1999 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. Horton clocked a time of 52.18 to best Nelson by .21.
“Having this record means the world to me,” Horton said. “Being able to leave my footprints in the Baylor history book is incredible, and being able to set a higher standard for future girls to come shows the intensity of our program.”
Horton defeated runner-up Sara Limp (Texas Tech) by .42 to win her second consecutive Big 12 Championship in the 400. Baylor teammate Victoria Powell placed fourth with a time of 53.08.
London and Horton weren’t finished, as both anchored their respective 4x400-meter relay teams to Big 12 Championships to close the meet.
Horton alongside Powell, Aaliyah Miller and Sydney Washington recorded a time of 3:33.92 to defeat runner-up Kansas (3:34.49) and position the Bears for a possible top-12 NCAA ranking that would send them to nationals in two weeks.
The Baylor men’s squad of London, Matthew Moorer, Fields III and Jayson Baldridge clocked in at 3:05.58 to defeat TCU for the title.
In all, the Bears finished the meet with five Big 12 Championships (including KC Lightfoot’s pole vault title Friday). The men’s team finished in sixth place with 68 points (1.5 points behind Texas for fifth place), while the women’s team placed sixth as well with 68 points (1 point behind Oklahoma State for fifth).
Several Baylor student-athletes contributed to the scoring on Saturday to earn All-Big 12 accolades.
Maxwell Willis ran a personal-best time of 6.64 to place third in the 60 meters, while Isaiah Cunningham took sixth at 6.76. Willis added a third-place finish in the 200 meters (20.96), while Ian Braxton finished his storybook weekend with an eighth-place finish (21.46) after being ranked 24th in the conference coming into the meet.
Horton brought home her third medal of the day in the 200 meters, running a personal-best time of 23.25 to take third. Sydney Washington (24.09) placed seventh.
In the women’s 800 meters, Aaliyah Miller (2:06.73) and Leti De Souza (2:06.86) finished third and fourth, respectively, to earn All-Big 12.
Capping off a successful first conference meet, freshman Alyssa Miller took fourth in the women’s high jump (5-9.25) to earn All-Big 12 honors.
Kennedy Bailey clocked in at 8.31 to place fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, Danny Leland finished sixth in the 800 meters (1:54.12), and Sydney Washington took sixth in the 60 meters (7.39) to complete the scoring for the Bears.
“We had some more people score,” Harbour said. “A lot of our young athletes stepped up, and we’re really proud of all them.”
With the Big 12 meet complete, the Bears now shift focus to the NCAA Indoor Championships March 8-9 in Birmingham, Ala.
“In the middle of it, we battled,” Harbour said. “We just came up short with a couple breaks that didn’t go our way. People getting knocked down. That was tough, but we ended up with 68 points. Both teams were sixth, one point out of fifth, so we were really close. It was a great weekend. Our athletes fought really hard and I’m really proud of them across the board. We always want to finish higher than that as a team, but that’s about all we could have squeezed out of them today. We have one week, and then NCAAs. So we’ll get ready, turn around quickly and get after it.”
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