THE WINNER: Olivia Baker
School: Columbia (Maplewood, N.J.)
Athletic achievement: She won three individual state titles at the Meet of Champions this season. Baker won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.05 seconds, 200-meter dash in 23.95 and 400-meter dash in 53.84 in addition to anchoring the 4×400-meter relay quartet that broke the tape in 3:46.86. At the Group IV championships, Baker earned gold in the 100-meter dash (11.64), the 200-meter dash (24.15), the 400-meter dash (54.16) and 800-meter run (2:12.33), leading the Cougars to the team title. She also won the 400-meter dash at the Meet of Champions in 2011 and 2012.
Academic excellence: Baker has maintained a 4.57 weighted GPA.
Exemplary character: Also a tennis standout and violist in her school’s chamber orchestra, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, God’s Love We Deliver and the Jack and Jill of America foundation.
“On the track, Olivia Baker is truly impressive,” said Robert O’Dell, coach of rival Nutley (N.J.). “Winning four gold medals at the New Jersey Meet of Champions speaks for itself, but that comes as part of a career dominating the competition. That she still has one more year to go must be intimidating for her opponents.”
THE FUTURE: Baker will be a senior next year