Rhodes Vaults to Big 12 Record; Men's Willis Named Big 12's Top Freshman

Annie Rhoades

Baylor senior pole vaulter Annie Rhodes claimed her second straight conference title in the event May 13 at the 2017 Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Lawrence, Kansas. She established a conference record in the process, clearing 14 feet, 9 1/2 inches (4.51 meters). Rhodes then cleared 15-1 1/2 (4.61 meters) on her second attempt to establish the Big 12 benchmark. Rhodes finished well ahead of the field as the only competitor in the Championships to clear 14-3 1/2 (4.36 meters).

On the men’s side, Maxwell Willis was unanimously selected as the 2017 Big 12 Outstanding Freshman for both the indoor and outdoor seasons, becoming the second Bear to sweep both awards, joining Brandon Couts (1998). At the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, Willis won the 200 meters and was a member of Baylor’s gold-medal 4x400-meter relay team. He joins Couts, LeJerald Betters (2007) and Trayvon Bromell (2014) as Big 12 outdoor freshman award winners.

At press time, Baylor Track and Field was preparing for the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with 23 athletes entered in 17 events.