NORMAN, Okla. — Wil London has been around this block a few times — four, to be exact. But for the Baylor senior, it never gets old.
London captured his fourth consecutive conference title in the 400-meter dash on Sunday’s final day of the Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. London executed a well-designed race plan in sprinting to a winning time of 45.45, just ahead of Texas freshman Jonathan Jones (45.73) and TCU junior Derrick Mokaleng (45.94).
London became just the second men’s quarter-miler in Big 12 history to go 4-for-4 in winning gold in the race, joining fellow Bear Darold Williamson (2002-05).
“I wanted it to be my mom’s Mother’s Day gift,” London said.
London’s teammates Trey Fields (46.00) and Matthew Moorer (46.02) came in fourth and fifth in the race, respectively.
While London knows his way around the top of a Big 12 medal stand, KC Lightfoot is just getting started. But the BU freshman showed that he has a bright future ahead of him, winning the pole vault title by clearing 18-4 1/2. Texas Tech junior Brandon Bray, a former China Spring standout, finished second at 17-10 1/2, while Kansas freshman Zach Bradford also topped 17-10 1/2 but finished third behind Bray due to more total misses.
Lightfoot is the first Baylor men’s vaulter to win a Big 12 outdoor title. He also won the conference title during the indoor season.
London and Lightfoot accounted for 20 of Baylor’s 57 points, a total which finished eighth overall. Texas Tech ran away with its second straight Big 12 outdoor crown with 164 points, followed by Iowa State (126) and Texas (120.5).
The BU women finished seventh with 51.5 points. Dominant Texas won the team title with 172 points, while Kansas State claimed second at 156.5.
Baylor senior Kiana Horton came up short in her quest to repeat as Big 12 outdoor champion in the women’s 400. Horton clocked 52.71 for sixth place. Oklahoma State junior Aaliyah Birmingham won the title with a time of 51.51.
In the 4x400 relays, Baylor didn’t close out the meet like it wanted. The BU women finished third with a time of 3:33.75. The Longhorns won the race at 3:31.16, and Oklahoma was second with a 3:32.61 clocking.
In the men’s 4x400, Baylor figured to be a familiar contender for gold, but that plan went awry when leadoff runner Jayson Baldridge pulled up hurt, and the baton never made it to BU’s second runner Trey Fields. TCU ended up winning the race at 3:04.86.
Baldridge had won a silver medal earlier about an hour-and-a-half earlier in the 400 hurdles. The sophomore zipped to a time of 50.46, behind only Texas Tech’s Norman Grimes, who ran a new national best of 49.11.
BU sophomore Alex Madlock flew to a bronze medal in the women’s triple jump, her first all-conference finish. Madlock jumped 43-1 1/2 on her best leap, behind only the Kansas State duo of Shardia Lawrence (45-0 1/4) and Konstantina Romaiou (43-9). Madlock has gone as far as 45-3 this year, so she clearly has the potential to jump even farther.
Aaliyah Miller also picked up a bronze in the 800 for Baylor. She won the Big 12 title last year, but her 2:06.35 time wasn’t quite enough to surpass champion Sinclaire Johnson of Oklahoma State (2:04.79) or Marleena Eubanks of Kansas (2:05.87).
Baylor’s men finished fourth in the 4x100 relay, clocking in at 39.92, coming in behind winner Texas Tech (38.83), Oklahoma (38.99) and Texas (39.83). BU’s relay foursome consisted of Raleigh Texada, Isaiah Cunningham, Maxwell Willis and anchor leg Mark Milton.
BU’s women came in sixth in their 4x100 race.
Willis finished sixth in the men’s 200, clocking 21.06. Texas Tech senior Andrew Hudson coasted to gold at 20.39.
Baylor’s next action will come at the NCAA West Prelims May 23-25 in Sacramento, Calif., as the Bears look to qualify athletes for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be June 5-8 in Austin.