May 27, 2008
Over the past two decades, Baylor has earned a reputation in the track world as "Quartermile U.," and with good reason. Under former coach Clyde Hart, BBA '56, and current coach Todd Harbour, BS '81, the Bears' 4x400-meter relay team has broken record after record, producing athletes such as five-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, BBA '90, and 2004 Olympic gold medalists Jeremy Wariner and Darold Williamson.
At this spring's NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, the Bears' 4x400 relay team brought home the national championship for the third straight time. The Baylor men had also won the event at the 2007 indoor and outdoor championships; the Bears are just the fourth team in NCAA history to win three straight. Baylor already holds the NCAA record, having won five straight relay titles between 1990 and 1992.
"Our men know that each time they step on the track, they have all of that tradition behind them," Harbour said. "They also know that if they are not at their best on any given day, there is probably another Baylor Bear ready to take their place. All of this pushes them to be the very best each and every time out."
The winning quartet at the indoor championships was made up of freshman Marcus Boyd, sophomores Trey Harts and LeJerald Betters, and senior Justin Boyd. Their winning time of 3:05.66 was the fastest in the world this year; the Bears also have the fastest outdoor time in the nation so far this year.
All this despite dealing with injuries that have forced Harbour to juggle his relay lineup. Quentin Iglehart-Summers, a junior who ran on last year's pair of championship relays, missed almost two months with a metatarsal stress fracture. J.T. Scheuerman, an outdoor all-American last year as a freshman, only ran in two indoor meets due to illness and injury, and Betters also missed time with injuries. As a result, during the Bears' six indoor meets, Baylor used five different relay combinations.
Beginning with its first 4x400-meter relay national championship in 1985, the Baylor men's team has dominated the event like no other, claiming nine outdoor national championships and eight indoor titles. Baylor's 17 total championships in the 4x400-meter relay rank first in collegiate history; no other school has more than 10. Baylor relays have earned outdoor all-America status for 28 straight seasons.
"[Such success] is a remarkable testimony to Coach Hart and the great tradition that he built over the last four decades," Harbour noted. "As one of the announcers from CBS stated last year before the 4x4 finals, 'There are only three things certain in life, and that is death, taxes and the Baylor 4x4.'"
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