September 1, 2015

Trayvon Bromell, Rachel Johnson stellar at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Baylor Track and Field sophomore Trayvon Bromell earned All-America honors in both the 100- and 200-meter events and senior Rachel Johnson earned All-America honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., in June.

With Bromell's second place finish in the 100-meter dash and third-place finish in the 200 meters, the Baylor men finished the meet tied for 13th. It is the Baylor men's 38th straight year to score at the meet and the 19th time the Bears have been in the top 15. Bromell became the first Baylor male athlete to earn All-America honors in two individual events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships since Bill Martineson did so in the 100- and 220-yard dashes in 1946 and 1947.

Bromell finished second in the 100 meters behind USC's Andre DeGrasse, who ran the second-fastest time in NCAA history (9.75 seconds), but Bromell's finish (9.88) beat his previous school record of 9.90, which he set earlier this year. He was third in the 200-meters after being out-leaned at the tape.

Senior Rachel Johnson earned All-America honors in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the second straight year, running a season-best time of 9:42.93. Her performance set the pace for the Baylor women, who finished 51st in the nation.

In the triple jump, Brianna Richardson carded a leap of 42 feet, 9.75 inches on her first attempt, but came up limping after landing the jump. A hamstring injury forced Richardson to pass on her next two attempts. The BU junior, who earned All-America honors in the event a season ago, landed in 10th at the end of the third round of jumps--one spot outside the event finals.

Baylor Impressive in NCAA Tennis Championships

Baylor University, the Baylor tennis programs and Waco were in the national spotlight May 14-25 for the NCAA Tennis Championships. The event marked the first time that NCAA national champions were crowned on the Baylor campus.

The longtime success of the tennis programs combined with two of the nation's finest tennis facilities contributed to Baylor hosting the Championships.

The Baylor men's and women's tennis teams made deep tournament runs, although both fell short of the ultimate prize.

In the Championships, the men's tennis team advanced to the national semifinals before falling 4-2 to No. 3 Virginia; the men finished the season with a No. 3 national ranking and a final record of 25-6. The Baylor women reached the quarterfinals before bowing out after a 4-1 loss to the then-No.1 ranked USC to finish the season ranked eighth overall with a 28-7 record. Baylor is one of five schools to have both the men's and women's tennis teams finish in the top 10.

In the NCAA doubles championships, the duo of senior Diego Galeano and junior Julian Lenz reached the doubles semifinals; they finished the season ranked No. 1 in the final Oracle/ITA doubles rankings of the 2015 season. Galeano and Lenz ended the season with a 23-2 record in dual-match play and a 26-3 mark overall. They were the first Baylor pairing to make the semifinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship and the first BU tandem to end the season at No. 1. Their 26 wins tied for the second-most in program history for a single season.

Baylor's debut as the host of the Tennis Championships saw Virginia crowned as the men's national champions and Vanderbilt winning the women's national championship.

Thousands of fans enjoyed the Hurd Tennis Center and Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center where dozens of matches were played over the nearly two-week event. Baylor was praised by numerous NCAA administrators and visiting coaches for the facilities and hospitality. With the inaugural event on campus now complete, Baylor plans to bid on hosting the NCAA Tennis Championships again in the future.

Petty, Hager join growing list of Baylor NFL draftees

Quarterback Bryce Petty and linebacker Bryce Hager, key members of Baylor's 2013 and 2014 Big 12 Conference championship teams, were selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. The New York Jets selected Petty in the fourth round, while the St. Louis Rams selected Hager in the seventh round.

Additionally, receivers Antwan Goodley (Dallas Cowboys) and Levi Norwood (Chicago Bears), and punter Spencer Roth (Buffalo Bills) all signed undrafted free-agent contracts.

The selections of Petty and Hager give Baylor 16 NFL draftees since 2011, outpacing Texas (15), Texas A&M (15) and TCU (12) as the most of any Texas school in that time span. The Bears have produced 21 NFL draftees during head coach Art Briles’ seven-year tenure, including first-round selections Jason Smith (2009), Phil Taylor (2011), Danny Watkins (2011), Robert Griffin III (2012) and Kendall Wright (2012).

Petty, a two-time All-American, continued Baylor's line of highly successful quarterbacks during the Briles era. He amassed 8,195 passing yards, 62 passing touchdowns and 21 rushing touchdowns in 36 career games, starting each of his final two seasons (25 games). Petty finished seventh in Heisman Trophy balloting in 2013 and 10th in 2014. He was 2013 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and 2013-2014 Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year.

Hager was a 2014 All-American and three-time All-Big 12 honoree. He finished his career (48 games, 32 starts) with 322 tackles and 26 quarterback hurries. Hager, whose father played for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, tallied 202 career solo tackles, a mark that ranks sixth all-time at Baylor.