LAWRENCE, Kan. – Though Baylor wasn’t able to stuff another team trophy into the overhead compartment, Quarter-Miler U still had its moments at the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
The Baylor women finished third in the team race, failing to add to the conference team championship they won during the indoor season. But the BU women and men combined for five event titles in all, including wins in their signature races, the men’s 400-meter dash and 4x400 relay.
Additionally, the well-balanced women totaled a school-record 123 points. Kansas State won a tenaciously-contested chase for the team trophy with 133 points, the Wildcats’ first since winning the second of back-to-back crowns in 2002. Texas was second with 128.5 points, followed by Baylor and Oklahoma (121).
The Baylor men took fifth in the team standings, accumulating 79 points. Texas cleaned up in a variety of events and won the team title with 153.5 points.
Wil London and George Caddick piled up 18 big points for the Bears in the open 400. London, a sophomore out of Waco High, repeated as conference champion, popping off a stadium-record time of 45.72. Caddick, a senior from Great Britain, came in second at 46.13.
London and Caddick later teamed up to fuel the Bears to a win in the 4x400 relay. Freshman Maxwell Willis, the meet’s high point scorer with 20.5 points, led off before passing the baton to London. He was followed by Chris Platt, BU’s two-sport standout who doubles as a receiver for the football team. Platt gave way to Caddick for the anchor leg, and Caddick held off Texas Tech’s Vincent Crisp for the win.
Baylor clocked in at 3:04.60, while Tech was second at 3:05.40.
Baylor swept the conference titles in the 200. On the men’s side, Willis gave the Bears the program’s fifth all-time championship in the race, as he powered to the gold in a time of 20.10 seconds.
Willis showed plenty of finishing kick, as he held off second-place Aldrich Bailey of Texas by a full two steps. Bailey came in at 20.33, and Kansas State’s Terrell Smith was third at 20.44.
Willis also claimed a bronze medal in the hotly-contested 100-meter dash. He zipped to the line in 10.04 seconds, behind only TCU’s Jalen Miller (10.022) and former Big 12 champion Senoj-Jay Givans (10.025) of Texas.
Meanwhile, in the women’s 200, Baylor junior Taylor Bennett sprinted to the win in a stadium-record time of 22.47. Not only was it Bennett’s first Big 12 outdoor title in the event, but it was the first for the Baylor women’s program.
Baylor junior Leticia de Souza took third in the women’s 400, running 53.42 to finish behind the Texas duo of Chrisann Gordon (51.40) and Zola Golden (52.61).
Whenever gold wasn’t possible, Baylor went mining for silver, finishing with 10 second-place efforts. Maggie Montoya actually doubled up on runner-up finishes, as the stamina-stocked senior was second in both the women’s 5,000 (16:26.17) and the 1,500 (4:36.20). Kiana Hawn placed second the 400 hurdles (57.75) for the BU women, while the men’s team garnered a silver from Rhys Phillips in the 110 hurdles (13.72).
Cion Hicks gathered a silver in the women’s discus to go with the same result she produced in Friday’s shot put. Hicks produced a personal-best throw of 187-61/2, which ranked as the second-best toss in school history.
The BU quartet of Victoria Powell, Hawn, Bennett and De Souza picked up a silver in the 4x400 relay, clocking 3:30.34, just behind Texas’ 3:29.13.
The Baylor men also notched a second-place showing in the 4x100 relay at 39.75 seconds. Malik Wilson, London, Antwauan Musgrove and Willis comprised the squad for the Bears. Willis competed in four events Sunday and medaled in all of them – the 4x100, 100, 200 and 4x400.
Baylor will next compete at the NCAA West Prelims in Austin May 25-27, trying to qualify for the NCAA outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore.