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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

May 15, 2023
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A new cornerback addition via the portal, the XFL leads to NFL opportunities, and baseball limps to the finish line as multiple other postseasons rage on. 

Here's a look at The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from the past week in Baylor Athletics. 


THE GOOD 

New Commit — Make it two former Utah State defenders coming home to Texas to join the green and gold fold, as cornerback Ajani Carter announced he's transferring to Baylor next season. Carter, a former North Shore standout, chose the Bears over BYU and Indiana and joined Byron Vaughns as key personnel adds this offseason from the (Utah State) Aggies program. The corners made good progress this spring, as styles changed under new DC Matt Powledge, but there's still plenty of room for improvement, and that's where Carter comes into focus as an essential addition, equipped with experience. 

Big 12 Champs — On Saturday in Norman, the men's 4x400 meter relay team took home the conference title at the Big 12 Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Elsewhere, sophomore Chinecherem Prosper Nnamdi made program history by going back-to-back with another Big 12 title in the men's javelin. The women's 4x100 team took home silver, while the men's 4x100 relay grabbed bronze. Annamaria Kostarellis also struck silver in the 5,000 meters. Overall, the women's team finished in sixth place, and the men in seventh. Both teams will now wait to see who qualifies for the NCAA Championships in Sacramento later this month. 

Women's Golf — The Bears finished fourth at the Pullman regional, earning the program a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships, which begin later this week in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Softball Assignment — The Bears' odds of hosting a regional were damaged by their quick exit in the Big 12 Tournament. However, the team is still bound for a coveted postseason spot after missing the NCAAs a year ago. There was no snub this time, and rightfully so, as this team earned the opportunity with their play throughout the year. They got a ticket, so that's a start. 

NIT Season-Tip Off — Scott Drew and the Bears joined Florida, Pitt, and Oregon State in the announced field for the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, next November—another cool trip with intriguing opponents for this squad and the fanbase to look forward to next season. 

All-XFL Duo — RB Abram Smith led the XFL in rushing, and LB Jordan Williams led the league in tackles. And both former Bears were named to the All-XFL team for their efforts, as voted by the league's coaches and/or personnel directors. 

NFL Opportunities — For Williams, the good news kept rolling in, as his showing this season led to a minicamp invite with the Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, after spending this season with the Vegas Vipers, former QB Jalan McClendon received a minicamp invite from the Bills. 

Abram Smith — As of publishing time, there's nothing to report on Smith and the NFL, but it'd be shocking if he doesn't receive multiple opportunities this summer. In Saturday's XFL Championship game, he ran 13 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 28 yards. One of those running scores was this 52-yarder on 4th down. 


THE BAD 

D.C. Downer — Unfortunately, the fun stats above didn't tell the whole story. Smith and the Defenders entered the XFL Championship game at 9-1 on the season but ultimately fell to the once lowly 4-5 Arlington Renegades in a brutal upset. 

From OKC to SLC — Unfortunately, there wasn't any carryover from last weekend's softball sweep of Texas when it came to the Big 12 Tourney. The Bears went one and done in Oklahoma City, falling to Iowa State 8-1 on Thursday. The Bears lost a shot at hosting a regional, thanks partly to No. 15 Utah upsetting No. 2 UCLA to win the Pac-12 tourney. As a result, the Bears will hit the road for the Salt Lake City regional, where they'll face Ole Miss in the opening round on Thursday. Survive and advance; win or go home. 


THE UGLY 

Brutal Ball — Baseball went 0-5 last week, dropping midweek contests against Grand Canyon and Lamar before TCU brought out the brooms in DFW and officially eliminated the Bears from the Big 12 Tournament. It's been a tough first year for Mitch Thompson's program, and now the end is in sight. This week will formally wrap the '23 campaign as the Bears take on Tarleton in Stephenville on Tuesday and host CSU-Bakersfield for a three-game weekend series to close the schedule.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly from Baylor's Week of Sports

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