The No. 11 Longhorns venture to nearby Waco to compete in the Michael Johnson Classic on Saturday but must be careful not to overlook this regional meet as they look forward to next week’s Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track competition in the United States.
After dropping two spots and out of the top 10 in the most recent U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll, Texas will be looking to shore up its weaknesses as it prepares for the final meets of the season.
“I think, as a team, we need to start believing in ourselves,” said sophomore thrower Hayden Baillio. “Our coaches and the fans definitely believe in us, but it’s a matter of getting the Texas swagger back. But that will come as we get more experience under our belt.”
That growth depends heavily on sophomore sprinter and jumper Marquise Goodwin.
“Marquise has really stepped up as that guy,” Baillio said. “Being a leader is about being reliable on and off the field and being confident. I hope to be that one day, but I back him up 100 percent.”
The one-day meet on the campus of Baylor will be a litmus test of the team’s readiness for the Penn Relays.
“Right now, we just want a good performance,” Baillio said. “This meet is another stepping stone along the way to the ultimate goal, the Big 12 and NCAA [outdoor] championship.”
Baillio posted a personal best in the shot put at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 16 and was the top collegiate finisher.
“It’s just a matter of showing up and getting it done. This is not like the BCS where if you are a No. 1 seed, you are in the championship,” Baillio said. “Show up and perform, simple as that.”