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Team members push each other to break records

Feb. 15, 2001

Foursome continues strong BU mile relay tradition with last race

By JEFF PERCELL

Sports Editor

With Baylor athletics claiming three Big 12 Conference Athlete of the Week honors this week, it was difficult to decide on a single Lariat Athlete of the Week. So there are four; seniors Brandon Couts, Bayano Kamani, Floyd Thompson and junior Zsolt Szeglet.

These four members of the men's 4x400-meter relay team were named the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Male Athletes of the Week earlier this week.

They posted the 11th fastest time in the world with a 3 minutes, 4.5 seconds mark in the Tyson Golden Spikes Tour in Fayetteville, Ark., over the weekend.

'The significant thing about it is that we were only 25 hundredths off the collegiate record,' head Coach Clyde Hart said.

The time was the fourth lowest collegiate time, and the other seven times above it were set mostly by national teams.

'My only goal is to win,' Couts said, 'time will come.'

This is not the first season that the team has run together. In fact, some members have been running summer track together since high school.

'There's a lot of pride in that relay,' Hart said. 'They haven't lost many in their lifetime.'

The relay team already has one national championship under its belt -- 2000's title.

'Our goal is not the collegiate record [time], it is just to win the national,' Hart said.

In Arkansas, the competition finished about 30 yards behind the Baylor four.

'For us to run that uncontested is quite significant,' Hart said, 'because if anyone of our kids had been pushed at all we would have been below the collegiate record.'

The team believes that Baylor's track program has such a quality reputation that performance of that caliber is almost expected, and the opposition is well aware of it.

'They [opponents] expect more out of us than we probably expect out of ouselves,' Kamani said. 'By them doing that, they're putting themselves at a disadvantage before they even get on the track.'

With the opponents hoping to catch the Baylor four, the Bears rely on each other to push themselves around the track.

'We basically compete for splits,' said Thompson, who runs the third leg for the team.

On the record-setting afternoon, Kamani set the pace for the team by running a 46.10-second split in the first leg. Szeglet then matched his time in the second leg, and was followed up by Thompson who ran a 46.50 split. Then Couts finished the race with a 45.5 split.

'I can't be in the same category as anybody else,' said Couts about the friendly competition within the team. 'If one of them runs 45.9, I gotta run 44.9.'

Kamani, Szeglet, Thompson, and Couts' next race will be at the Big 12 Indoor Championships on Feb. 23 and 24 in Lincoln, Neb.

'I don't think there's anyone in our conference that can push us,' Hart said.

However, to continue to string together races like this unit has demands health and near-perfect performances from each member of the relay.

'If we have a couple people that don't run up to par than it could be a race,' Hart said.

The relay team will look for a higher level of competition at the USA Indoor Championships and the NCAA Indoor Championships, which will take place March 2-3 and 9-10, respectively.