Baker reflects on State Championship performance

May 13—Tahlequah Tiger track and field athlete Trae Baker had an up-and-down four-year career for the Tigers, according to the State Champion.

"It was kind of like a roller coaster. Some years I missed [a lot of the season] and some races you don't run well. But I feel like I ended it on a good note," Baker said. "God has done a lot for me and he has done a lot of blessings for me this season; I am just very blessed."

Baker experienced plenty of success with the Tigers, winning State Titles in both cross country and track during his senior season. After a strong weekend at the State Championship, Baker finished with State titles in the two-mile and 800-meter, while picking up a runner-up title in the mile.

Although Baker walks away a multi-time State Champion, school record holder and various meet record holder, after his final event, he admitted he didn't do everything he wanted to do in Edmond.

Baker missed out on his third State Championship of the weekend, losing the mile by less than a 10th of a second to cut short a finish line standoff.

Baker isn't one to make excuses — and bluntly said so after the mile race — but the factors weren't in his favor after winning the 800-meter and setting a new school record in the process. Baker had a little over an hour to recover from a race that he started in sixth gear and never looked back. By the time he was back on the track for the mile race, his legs weren't exactly where he wanted them to be.

"The recovery from the 800-mile wasn't what I wanted. I tried to recover from the 800, but there is only so much I could do," Baker said.

Despite not being fully recovered, Baker still put on an impressive performance. He took a stride or two lead early and kept it up for the first three laps of the mile. During the final stretch, Baker was eventually caught by a millisecond.

After the race, Baker reflected on what he had needed to do differently.

"Just a little bit more time. I gave it all I had in the 800 and then to come back to the mile, it is hard to be 100%," Baker said.

Even though the regular season is over for Baker, he is still expecting an invite to the Meet of Champions and a National meet.

In the fall, he heads off to the University of Central Arkansas to start his college career in cross country and track.

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