Former Baylor track and field student-athlete Trayvon Bromell won a gold medal at the 2016 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in March at the Portland Convention Center.
The New Balance professional electrified a sold-out crowd by becoming the first U.S. athlete to claim the men's world indoor 60-meter title in six years with a personal best of 6.47.
Bromell was the first man out of the blocks in lane three and maintained his lead throughout to prevail over Jamaica's Asafa Powell (6.50) and Ramon Gittens of Barbados (6.51). The medal is Bromell's second individual one on the world stage as he placed third in the 100-meter dash at the 2015 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Beijing.
Bromell ran collegiately at Baylor for two years before turning pro in October with a goal of competing for Team USA in the 2016 Olympic Games. He continues to train in Waco under Baylor sprints coach Michael Ford while also working toward his degree. In his highly decorated Baylor career, Bromell won two NCAA individual titles and five Big 12 titles with four NCAA All-America performances and 10 All-Big 12 accolades.
At its February meeting, Baylor's Board of Regents approved plans for renovations within the Simpson Athletics and Academic Center. Among the improvements will be a new student-athlete performance center to be named in honor of the Ratliff family, who provided the lead gift for the project. The Weldon and Margaret Ratliff Performance Center will include technologies used to monitor athletes' performance on and off the field, flooring and weight room equipment, video technologies, and lobby enhancements.
Longtime Baylor Athletic Communications staff member Julie Bennett will retire this summer after more than three decades in college sports. Bennett, who is Baylor's primary media liaison for women's basketball and acrobatics and tumbling, is in her 23rd year with Baylor. She was named director of athletic communications in 2010 and promoted to assistant director of athletics for communications in 2013.
"Julie is fiercely loyal and devoted to Baylor Athletics and her teams," Executive Associate AD for External Relations Nick Joos said. "She established strong relationships with media through her service-oriented approach and kind disposition. Julie leaves a wonderful legacy of excellence in athletic communications and has played a key role in building Baylor's national brand over the past 23 years. We wish her much happiness during retirement."
Bennett, who joined Baylor's staff in 1995 from the University of Hawaii, has worked with six teams that claimed national titles, including four with Baylor (2005, 2012 women's basketball; 2004 men's tennis; 2015 acrobatics and tumbling). She has earned numerous citations for excellence in publications, and she was the recipient of the 2014 Arch Ward Award, which is presented annually by the College Sports Information Directors of America for dignity and outstanding contributions to the profession. In June, Bennett was honored with the CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the organization's hall of fame.
A Porterville, Calif., native, Bennett earned a bachelor's degree from Fresno State University and a master's degree from the University of Central Missouri. She and her husband, Bruce, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, have four daughters, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Now in his eighth year as Baylor's athletic chaplain and leading mission trips "“to the ends of the Earth," Wes Yeary still sees the "newness" in every trip. This summer, Yeary led a 38-person mission trip to Maceió and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, site of the 2016 Summer Olympics. This is the second consecutive year Yeary has led a mission team to Brazil after six years of mission trips to Africa.
"It's new students every year," Yeary said. "We're making an impact, getting to be a part of God's work in the lives of new people every year."
Associate AD for Athletic Performance Kaz Kazadi and his wife, Monique, are among six Baylor Athletics staff members who joined Yeary on the trip. Other Baylor entities represented were football (11 members), women's basketball (four), acrobatics and tumbling (four), volleyball (two), track and field (one), spirit teams (one), club soccer (one), general student body (one), training staff (five) and nutrition staff (one).
Yeary and the ministry team covet prayers and additional funding for future trips. There are several options to financially support the mission trips, including Baylor's online giving system at bbis.baylor.edu/give. Checks also can be sent to Baylor University Sports Ministry, Attn: Wes Yeary, 1500 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706.