Brock Baker finally won his first two state titles last month.
Now, the Oakland High rising senior has received even more hardware for his standout track and field season.
Baker was named the Tennessee Gatorade Boys Track Athlete of the Year on Thursday, becoming the first Rutherford County boy to garner the award. Former Riverdale sprinter LeKeshua Scales received the 2002 award on the girls side and is the only other track and field athlete to receive the Gatorade award from Rutherford County.
He is the second Rutherford County athlete to be recognized by Gatorade this year. Riverdale’s Jonathan King received the award for top baseball player.
Baker won the 3,200 and 1,600 Class AAA state titles during the TSSAA BlueCross Spring Fling, winning with the fastest times in any division or classification
He won the 3,200 in 9:18.20 and won the 1,600 in 4:15.10.
Baker was both a New Balance Indoor and Outdoor All-American selection. His two-mile time at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor championships last week ranked sixth in the nation among prep competitors in 2012. Baker is also ranked in the Top 25 nationally with his season-best performances in the mile, 3,000 and 3,200.
Baker’s two state titles came after a disappointing finish to his cross country season. Leading the Class AAA state meet with a state-record pace, Baker collapsed about 800 meters from the finish line due to problems from medication he was taking to get rid of poison oak.
That came after he was edged at the finish line at the state track meet in the 3,200 as a sophomore and after he finished second in the 2010 state cross country meet.
But Baker turned his attention on to track and field in January.
He sought the best competition he could find, running the two-mile in Arcadia, Calif. where he set a personal best. He then won the 800 at the Great 8 at Vanderbilt before winning the mile at Tennessee in the Vol Classic.
“Brock Baker is so determined and focused that he won’t allow boundaries to get in his way to stop him from accomplishing greatness,” said Phil Young, Siegel cross country coach and assistant track and field coach. “He always works to overtake his limitations. He is very talented, however, his work ethic and discipline are nothing short of extraordinary for a 17-year-old.”
Baker has a 4.0 GPA at Oakland. He 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 also volunteered locally with Big Brothers, Big Sisters.