Six All-Americans spearhead men's track and field in 2010Jan. 29, 2010
Fort Worth junior Marcus Boyd sprints during a 4x400-meter relay event in 2009. Boyd is one of six All-Americans returning to the spring 2010 men's track and field squad.
By Daniel Cernero
Anchored by six returning All-Americans, the No. 11-ranked Baylor's men's track and field team aims to use its experience to improve on its successful season from a year ago.
Last year featured an impressive individual performance by sprinter Trey Harts at the 200-meter distance. It was at the NCAA Indoor Championship that Harts became the first Baylor runner since Michael Johnson to win at the 200-meter distance.
The Bears started 2010 on the right foot at the Texas A&M Invitational Jan. 22, where senior Chris Gowell of Newport, Wales, had a record-breaking performance at the 1,000-meter distance with a time of 2 minutes, 22.38 seconds. Gowell broke Baylor's record previously set by Victor Valen in 1988. Head coach Todd Harbour said he was looking forward to seeing what Gowell can accomplish this year.
"(Gowell) is a team captain, and he's got a chance to challenge for a NCAA title this year," Harbour said.
Fort Worth junior Marcus Boyd, a runner at the 400-meter distance and member of the 4x400-meter relay team, said that at this point in the year, having a fast time is not always the focus.
"I just want to come out and run a good technical race," Boyd said. "I really wasn't worried about my time."
Boyd, rehabilitating from an injury suffered last year, said that if he is doing those little things right, he's confident his time will improve as the year goes on.
The 4x400-meter relay put together an incredible streak of 42 straight wins, capturing three NCAA Indoor Championships and two NCAA Outdoor Championships along the way. The relay squad had its streak broken last year at the NCAA Outdoor Championship, finishing in third place, 1.13 seconds off the time set by the Florida State University Seminoles.
"Last year we had so much pressure built up on us because of the streak that it kind of put us on edge at every meet we went to," Boyd said.
After finally losing, he said that it was almost a relief now that the pressure was gone.
This year, the relay squad will look to defend its NCAA Indoor title come the end of February in Fayetteville, Ark.
"We've got a group of guys this year that ran our fastest time faster than what we ran last year with the team that won Indoor Nationals," Harbour said.
The constant success of Baylor's men's track and field team starts at the top with its veteran coaching staff. In addition to Harbour, who is serving his fifth year as head coach, coach Clyde Hart continues to prepare the 4x400-meter relay. Hart, previously the head coach for 42 years before Harbour took over in 2005, was recently named the World Coach of the Year by the International Amateur Athletic Federation.
"All of our coaches are All-Americans, Baylor graduates and Hall of Fame people," Harbour said. "Between the whole coaching staff we've got 100 years of experience here at Baylor, and there's probably no other program in the whole country that has that."
The Bears hit the road Saturday for the Big 12 vs. Pac-10/SEC Challenge in College Station.