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Baylor Track & Field: Three Big 12 Champions Highlight Final Day

May 17, 2021
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Deshaun Jones, Aaliyah Miller and Howard Fields III captured Big 12 titles to lead the way for Baylor track & field Sunday on the rainy final day of the outdoor conference championships.

“It was definitely one for the ages to go along with the season we’ve been through,” head coach Todd Harbour said. “We had unbelievable weather yesterday and today was kind of crazy and chaotic. We got through it healthy, and that was the biggest concern. We had some great individual performances, but we needed a few more to affect the team standings. We got some more qualified for nationals, so we can look forward to the remaining part of the season.”

Jones got things started in the men’s 110-meter hurdles final, running away with the victory in a personal-best time of 13.70 to win by .34 seconds. The sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, is now a two-time Big 12 Champion as he won this season’s indoor crown in the 60-meter hurdles.

“That’s the second one Deshaun has won now,” Harbour said. “That’s outstanding for him. He looked so good. Big things lie ahead of him down the road as we continue to move forward.”

Roughly 20 minutes after Jones won the title, Fields III followed up with a championship performance of his own in the men’s 400 meters. The senior from Manvel, Texas, took home the title with a time of 45.72, becoming Baylor’s sixth-consecutive outdoor 400-meter champion and 22nd all-time.

“Trey was the sixth that we’ve won consecutively in the 400, so that’s a pretty big deal,” Harbour said. “That was good for him to uphold that legacy. He ran a great, smart race. He executed very well. It was a good win for him.”

Miller completed the trifecta with her seventh-career Big 12 Championship, winning the 800 meters wire-to-wire in a time of 2:04.42.

“What can you say about Aaliyah?” Harbour said. “She broke her old meet record yesterday, so that was a nice weekend for her.”

Kavia Francis scored in three events for the Bears, placing fourth in both the 200 meters and 400 meters before running the fastest split of the 4x400-meter relay to help the Bears to a runner-up finish. The freshman from Clarendon, Jamaica, clocked in at 52.96 in the 400 and 23.40 in the 200.

“Kavia was just a warrior,” Harbour said. “To run the 400-200 double and then come back and run our fastest split on the 4x4, that was pretty impressive. It was a big weekend for her.”

Arria Minor, Miller and Mariah Ayers joined Francis on the 4x4 to record a season-best time of 3:31.34 and place second.

Ackera Nugent made it to the podium twice, finishing as the runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.07 and taking seventh in the 100 meters with a time of 11.50.

The women’s 4x100-meter relay squad of Minor, Nugent, Sydney Washington and Ayers started the day in the pouring rain with a runner-up finish, clocking in at 44.82.

The men’s 4x4 of Hasani Barr, Elijah Gifford, Dillon Bedell and Fields III finished the day with a third-place finish, recording a time of 3:03.80.

Ayers scored for the Bears in the women’s 200 meters with a fifth-place finish, running a time of 23.44.

Minor earned a podium spot in the women’s 400 meters with a sixth-place finish, running a time of 53.30.

Jayson Baldridge finished seventh in the 400-meter hurdles to earn a medal with a time of 52.98, and Kamden Jackson took eighth in the 100 meters to make the podium with a time of 10.41.

Jackson, Isaiah Cunningham, Ryan Croson and Baldridge finished fourth in the men’s 4x100-meter relay in a time of 40.13.

Ben Conacher (men’s pole vault) and Alyssa Miller (women’s high jump) competed indoors due to the weather and placed sixth and fifth, respectively. Conacher recorded a mark of 16-7.25 (5.06m), while Miller jumped 5-5.25 (1.66m).

“I’m proud of all of them,” Harbour said. “Our freshmen stepped up big today. We had a bunch of them that scored and were all-conference. They did a good job getting their first taste. It was a great conference meet. We wanted to finish a little higher, but we’ll hopefully improve upon that in the weeks to come at the NCAA meet.”

For continued updates on the Baylor Track & Field team, follow the team's social media accounts all season long: @BaylorTrack.

QUOTES

WOMEN’S 800 METERS CHAMPION

AALIYAH MILLER, BAYLOR

On today’s race... 

“Yeah it felt pretty good. I wanted to come out and finish really strong.”

On the difference between running the prelims yesterday to the finals today…

“Yeah, yesterday was a different plan. We had nice weather, so I wanted to come out and try to break two (minutes), but It didn’t happen.”

On the victory… 

“For sure, I was really excited. I just hope it’s an inspiration for people. Just make sure for people to, no matter what happens, stay focused and you can always come back.”

MEN’S 400 METERS CHAMPION

HOWARD FIELDS III, BAYLOR

On his performance today…

“It feels good. I’ve been working. All I really thought about was just winning. I really wasn’t going for a time. Just get out, run my race, and get the win.”

On the weather conditions...

“Pretty normal. At that point when it rains, it’s cold, windy. It is what it is.”

On looking forward to regionals and nationals…

“Win. That’s always on my mind.”

MEN’S 110-METER HURDLES CHAMPION

DESHAUN JONES, BAYLOR

On his performance…

“Yesterday, after the prelims coming in second, I wouldn’t say that I was nervous, but I knew what I had in the tank coming out here today. And then it wasn't a false start, but with the double gun and coming back, I just had to lock in. And at that point, I knew whoever had the best focus was going to win. Today, I showed that through adversity, I won’t fold.”

On if dealing with the weather and multiple starts and stops makes the win mean even more...

“Everything that I do on this track this year means a little bit more to me. Dealing with everything I had to deal with at the beginning of the season and getting to this point, it means a lot. I’m grateful.”  

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Baylor Track & Field: Three Big 12 Champions Highlight Final Day

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