Brock Baker no longer has to worry about trying to win his first state title.
Baker, an Oakland High senior distance runner, won two state titles from the BlueCross Spring Fling held in May at MTSU. However, Baker still has one state title he’s never won — a state cross country title.
Baker, though, enters the season as the favorite to win the Class AAA title. However, he also wants to see the Patriots win.
“Getting that cross country title is important for the team. If I can win, that one point will help our quest,” Baker said.
Baker was en route to winning the cross country state title a year ago when he collapsed with about 800 meters remaining. He was on pace to setting a course record when he fell, and finished 185th — four spots from last. Baker will return to the scene of the incident — the Steeplechase course in Nashville — on Saturday when he runs with his team in the Tennessee Classic.
“That’s a no pressure situation,” Baker said. “And I get to face those demons. Obviously it’s going to go through my head leading up to that race.
“But once I get on the starting line I think I’ll have a calm, cool and collected mind set. I’ll just do what my body is trained to do and just be cool as a cucumber.”
Baker has endured his share of mishap at Steeplechase, adding to the memories. He finished second by two seconds his sophomore year at the state meet, running it in 16:07.87. Those demons only intensified this past season.
Baker was in top shape all season before getting poison oak prior to the state meet. He began taking a steroid to help cure it, but that led to hydration issues and the collapse at state.
But Baker has tried to put those memories behind him. Winning a Class AAA state title in the 1,600 and 3,200 at Spring Fling helped that.
“I’m super happy right now,” Baker said. “I wish I’d put it to rest my sophomore year and won then. “But God’s timing is perfect. It is right on time.”
Baker spent part of the summer running in Colorado with Oakland teammate Conner Thompson, his brother Drew Thomopson and MTSU runner Keith Davis. There they ran together and had time to reflect by themselves. It helped him recharge for his final year of high school running.
“We got some solid training in,” Baker said. “Out there it’s so beautiful. It gave me time to do a lot of good thinking while I was looking over the mountains.”
Some of those thoughts included his college future. Baker is currently weighing his college option. He chose not to comment on what colleges are recruiting him. He’d like to wait until he whittles down some of his options.
“Once I get it narrowed to five and start going to them for official visits I’ll start talking,” he said.
Until then, he’ll stick to just running.