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Track brings home 2 national titles

Aug. 23, 2004

By CATHERINE BROWN, sports editor

Bad weather couldn't stop the Bears track and field team from bringing home two national titles and a seventh-place finish for the men at 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Austin June 9-12.

The men's 4x400-meter relay squad of Wil Fitts, Braelon Davis, Jeremy Wariner and Darold Williamson won with a time of 3:01.03.

Fitts said he didn't run as fast as he would have liked, but he's happy with the title

Williamson said it was a good performance, but they didn't meet their goal.

"We wanted to break the national record, but we didn't," he said. "We're all coming back, so we have time to do better."

He said they are about one second off the record, which is a lot of ground to cover on the track, but thinks if they keep working, they can break it.

Fellow teammate April Holliness said she was proud of the squad's finish.

"It's almost like when they step on the track you know they're going to win," she said. "They train really hard and work hard. They have great attitudes about team. That's really impressive with a group of guys."

Wariner won Baylor's second national title with a time of 44.71 in the 400-meter run.

Williamson finished in sixth place with a time of 45.26.

Wariner said he is proud of his finish and felt like he ran well with the wind and rain that fell during the championship.

Wariner and Williamson have been each other's competition all season, but Wariner and head Coach Clyde Hart think that helps them.

"They're both very good and they push each other, but it's not a jealously thing," Hart said. "If we win, we hope it's one of us. I think it's great."

Wariner said it helps in each race knowing he has someone that can compete at his caliber.

"Winning a race is one thing, but having competition and winning the race is a lot better," he said.

Holliness finished in third place with a mark of 6.55 meters (21-6). She was tied with Nebraska's Ineta Radevica for second, but finished in third because Radevica had one fewer foul.

Holliness said she was a little disappointed with third.

"I tied for second, and she [Radevica] had a better second jump than I did, so I ended up third," she said. "I was pretty disappointed, but every year I'm moving up. I'm blessed. I'm disappointed for a while and then I get over and look at everything I've worked for and done."

Hart said Holliness did great at the championships.

"Anytime you can be an All-American is something to be proud of," he said. "She still has another year, so I think April will continue to get better."

At the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, Holliness broke her own school record and set a new meet mark at 6.66m (21-10 1/4) beating her previous best of 21-4 1/4.

She said the record-breaking jump was a confidence booster because she had been having "an up-and-down season with injuries."

Rounding out the rest of the top finishes at the championships is Kyle King, placing fifth in the men's 5000-meter run with a time of 14:18.38.

"We're very proud of what our kids did," Hart said. "It was a great meet for our kids."

Both the men and women's teams earned sixth-place finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional in May.

Wariner and Williamson also garnered other honors for their hard work during the season.

Williamson won the 2003-2004 Big 12 Men's Outdoor Track and Field Male Performer.

Wariner won the 2004 Mondo Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and the Mondo Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year.