MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Track and field is often seen as an sport in which team results take a back seat to individual performances.
That's not the way the "Baylor family" sees it.
With one of the largest, and arguably the loudest, group of fans cheering from the stands, the Baylor girls' track team won the tightly contested Division II-AA team runner-up distinction Friday at the Spring Fling at Middle Tennessee State University. The Lady Red Raiders finished just 10 points ahead of Ensworth and 12.5 ahead of Harpeth Hall while Brentwood Academy won the team championship.
The Lady Raiders were led by championship performances from sophomore Makayla Packer in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and senior Kayla Hayes in the 100 hurdles. Hayes also finished second in the 300 hurdles.
"You're running on your own, but your teammates bring your spirits up," Hayes said. "I know it sounds so cliché when everybody says that Baylor is a family, but we really are."
Baylor's softball team even stayed around an extra day to cheer on the track team, something senior Carmen Ross said really meant a lot to them.
"The softball team stayed after winning a state championship just to support us," said Ross — who is also a baserunner on the diamond. "Also, we get along so well during practice that we can joke around with each other when we're not doing well, and even our bad days become productive."
Baylor got a number of other second-place finishes as well, including from Rachel Smith in pole vault.
"We know each other and know how each individual handles things," Smith said. "I can tell when Carmen is in her head in practice or at a meet and can help her get past it."
Also with individual runner-up performances were Ally Craig (high jump) and Janie Pippenger (800). GPS senior Carley Braman finished second in the 1600 meters.
For the boys, if McCallie's Hakim McMorris had been able to enter the championship meet as a team by himself, he would have still finished in sixth place, scoring 38 individual points.
McMorris won the Division II-AA championship last week in the decathlon and added one Friday in the long jump. He narrowly missed a third title in the high jump, where he tied Brentwood Academy's Aaron Lovins at a height of 6 feet, 4 inches but lost because of an extra miss at a lower height.
"Losing the high jump like that definitely fueled me on the long jump," McMorris said. "I felt really good on my last long jump, where I set a new school record. I was the last person to jump and I was ready for it. It was a good environment to PR."
McMorris also placed third in the 100 and fifth in the 400, while teammate Quindarius Dunnigan won the discus (141-7). McCallie's Dre Taylor (discus) and Josh Ryce (400) finished third in their respective events, while Baylor's Wiley Pippenger finished third in the 300 hurdles.
Contact Kevin Llewallyn at firstname.lastname@example.org