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Relay, indoor champ off to nationals

Feb. 6, 2001

Runners meet qualifying mark in Gainesville

BY ROB SINCLAIR

Sports writer

The Baylor track teams competed in the Gator Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., this week, and the men's side posted a pair of NCAA qualifying times.

Brandon Couts started the day with a run of 46.71 seconds in the 400 meters, the fastest time of the year in the event, and it gave him an NCAA ticket by just one one-hundredth of a second.

'It was a good opening for me,' said Couts, the defending 400 indoor national champion and newly-crowned Big 12 Conference Male Track Co-Athlete of the Week. 'I didn't go out in the time I wanted to in the first 200. I have no problem with the time I ran, but I'd like to run faster.'

Teammate Bayano Kamani placed second in the 400 with a time of 47.02 seconds, good for an NCAA provisional mark.

'Bayano had control of the race,' Couts said. 'I knew I had to keep up with him. He ran extremely well.'

Couts and Kamani then joined up with Floyd Thompson and Zsolt Szeglet to burn the field in the 4x400-meter relay. The quartet blistered the track in 3:06.06, more than two seconds below the NCAA automatic qualifying time and more than three seconds faster than second-place Auburn University.

'We didn't expect to run that fast,' Thompson said. 'That was three or four seconds faster than we expected to. Previously we ran a 3:11, but after the first two legs the race was over with.'

Added Kamani: 'We just did what we always do. [Head] Coach [Clyde] Hart talked to us and said everyone had to run 47-flat or better and everyone did that.'

Individually on the men's side, Thompson finished third in the 800 meters, while Ferenc Bekesi finished fourth in the mile. Sherman Harness jumped 2.06 meters [6 feet 9 inches] to take third in the high jump and Jim Autenreith finished second in the pole vault competition with a height of 5.15 meters [16 feet, 10 3/4 inches].

On the women's side, Stephanie Bennett and Cynthia Benson led the Lady Bears with their fifth-place finishes. Bennett was fifth in the mile at 4:58.16 and Benson finished fifth in the high jump at 1.63 meters [5 feet 5 1/4 inches]. Additionally, the 4x400-meter relay team took seventh and Lanie Millar was ninth in the 800.

Baylor's next competition comes up this weekend at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.