Brock Baker won all three distance races at state. / HELEN COMER/DNJ

 

The recent Oakland High graduate garnered the state’s Gatorade Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year. It was the second straight year that Baker, an Oklahoma signee, has received the honor.

“There are a lot of deserving athletes with a lot of great talent in the state,” Baker said. “It’s an honor to be in a pool with all of those guys. To be picked is even greater.”

Baker was named The Daily News Journal’s Boys Track and Field 2013 Runner of the Year last month.

Baker made Rutherford County history this past track and field season when he became the county’s first athlete to win the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the TSSAA State Track and Field Championships in the same year. He is the state’s first repeat winner of the award since Brentwood Academy’s Andrew Bumbalough won it in 2004 and 2005.

The award recognizes athletic achievement high academic achievement and exemplary character. Baker now is a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year award.

Baker helped Oakland finish state runner-up in the Class AAA state meet.

Baker finished with a 4.0 GPA at Oakland High and helped found the non-profit Sustaining a Village Everyday, which raised $29,000 to provide food and clean water to a village in Haiti. He has volunteered locally at a medical clinic and a nursing home.

“I definitely took determination and hard work in athletics and put it in other aspects in my life,” Baker said. “When I got home after practice I worked on projects and then went to sleep early to be ready for tests. Then I also helped volunteering or working with SAVE to make sure those that were not as fortunate than me could have a better life.

“I spent a lot of time when a lot of others were sitting on their butts working on my sport, school and in the community.”

Baker won the 800 in 1:54.36, the 1,600 in 4:18.58 and the 3,200 in 9:01.99. His season-best time of 8:51.75 ranks him 10th nationally for 2013 times. He also ranked in the top-10 nationally in the mile (4:06.77).

His 1,600 time is a state record.

“Brock’s performance by winning three state titles in less than 12 hours was truly remarkable,” said Phil Young, Siegel cross country coach and assistant track and field coach, in a press release. “Despite Brock’s success he has always been able to look in the mirror and recognize that changes are necessary from within in order to continue or regain his success.”

Baker took a two-week break from running after the state track and field championships to allow his body to recover. He heads to college in Aug. 14.

“My body, mind and spirit was ready for a break,” Baker said. “I took a two-week break, which is standard procedure. I did not go to nationals this year. I decided to do other things, like play tennis, playbasketball and sleep in.”

Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or tkreager@dnj.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.