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Baylor track team continues to rise in national rankings

Jan. 23, 2004

By Jacob Ford, reporter

The Baylor track and field teams are off to a winning start this spring season after taking both the men's and women's titles at the Oklahoma Indoor Classic Jan. 17 at Mosier Facility in Norman, Okla.

Jeremy Wariner, a Grand Prairie sophomore, grasped the attention of the competition when he broke the meet record by running the 400-meter dash in 46.8 seconds. The time was good enough to be considered an NCAA provisional qualifying time.

An NCAA provisional qualifying time means that if all the automatic spots aren't filled for the 400, Wariner would qualify for the NCAA meet.

Wariner is also a member of the 1,600-meter relay team that's ranked second in the nation behind Lousiana State University. Jamen Sazuri, a Waco sophomore, Darold Williamson, a San Antonio junior, and Mark Teter, a San Antonio freshman, are the other members of the relay team.

'My goal is to make it to the finals of the NCAA indoor tournament,' Wariner said. 'Second place doesn't mean anything right now.'

Warner said the relay team's performance in the Oklahoma Indoor Classic didn't meet his expectations.

'I know we could've done a lot better than we did,' Wariner said. 'We had a couple of problems last week.'

Track and field head Coach Clyde Hart is beginning his 41st season as the coach of the Bears. The men's and women's teams currently are ranked 17th and 14th, respectively, in the nation. Last season alone Hart had eight All-Americans on his team.

'We were excited that it was the first meet of the year, and we defeated four other universities,' Hart said.

Hart also said the Bears did a good job of running on an indoor track as opposed to the outdoor facility on which the Bears practice.

'For us to go up there and defeat a school like the University of Oklahoma who has [an indoor] facility of their own to train on, I thought was remarkable,' Hart said.

The Bears also dominated the men's 200-meter dash. Saziru and Braelon Davis, a Dallas freshman, took the first and second place in the 200.

Even the newcomers to the men's track team helped contribute to the Baylor win. Kevin Mutai, a Round Rock freshman, sprinted to victory in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.28.

The women's team was equally successful in Oklahoma.

Lakadron Ivery, a Tyler sophomore, won the 200-meter dash and finished second in the 60-meter dash.

April Holliness, a Duncanville junior, won the long jump and finished second behind Ivery in the 200.

'I kind of surprised myself, but I'm happy because it gives me hope for later on in the season,' Holliness said.

Holliness said she wasn't surprised at all at the women's success as a team at the meet.

'We came on pretty strong,' Holliness said. 'It makes me feel good that all the hard work we've been doing is finally paying off.'

Jordan Willmann, a Llano senior, finished fifth in the nation last year in the heptathalon. Last week she competed in a number of events including the 800-meter run where she finished second with a time of 2:21.98.

Willmann ranks second in the nation in the heptathalon.

'If anything, it's just going to give me a little confidence and inspire me to work harder so I can maintain that position or move up,' Willmann said.

The women's team grabbed three of the top four spots in the 600-meter run. Jasmine Opusunju, a Stafford junior, and Mary Pearce, a sophomore from Alaska, finished first and second in the 600. Lindsey Ramey, a Garland junior, placed fourth in the 600.

Kyle King, a Sulphur Springs senior, won the 3,000-meter run and teammate Matt Chance, a Colleyville senior, finished second.

In the women's mile race, Jessa Chance, a Southlake junior, finished third and Brittany McGuire, a Humble freshman, placed fourth. Katherine Duncan, a Roscoe junior, finished second in the 1,000-meter run and teammate Brittany Brockman, a Houston freshman, placed second in the 3,000 meter run.

The Bears compete on Saturday in the Red Raider Classic at the Athletic Training Center in Lubbock.