Maison Baer knew no one expected him to win the 100-meter dash in Tuesday’s Great 8 Invitational.
But Baer, a Blackman High senior, shocked the field by winning the event in 10.95 seconds. It set a personal best by more than a tenth of a second. Baer edged Independence junior Vic Wharton III, a Tennessee football commitment, by .04 for the win.
“I think a lot of people doubt me really,” Baer said. “I think this really proved to a lot of people that I’m faster than people think.”
Rutherford County produced five winners from four different schools in the event held at Vanderbilt University.
Oakland senior Brock Baker, an Oklahoma signee, repeated as the 800 champion. He won in 1:52.85, winning by just under four seconds. Siegel sophomore Nicole Gardner upset Lipscomb Academy’s Barbara Lee Bell with a time of 5:06.29. Bell finished second in 5:09.22.
La Vergne had two winners. Senior Marcus Franklin, an Ole Miss signee, won the discus with a throw of 162-feet-3. Senior teammate Jealyn Todd won the girls discus (114-06).
La Vergne sophomore Aliah Cook also placed second in both the 100 hurdles (15.05) and 300 hurdles (46.11). She was third in the triple jump (35-7 1/2).
Baer was fourth in the 200 (22.32), and La Vergne’s Josh Brame was fifth (22.34). Brentwood Academy’s Jalen Ramsey, a Rutherford County resident, won the 200 (21.87).
Baker was well ahead of a fast 800 field after 400 meters, but pushed himself to beat the meet record, which he just failed to break. The entire 800 field finished in under two minutes. La Vergne’s Jonathan Conley (1:57.19) was third and Oakland teammate and Alabama signee Conner Thompson was seventh (1:58.26).
“I knew coming in here that I was going to have to try and do it all alone,” Baker said. “It was a great field. It was an incredible field. But, I just knew I was probably going to have to do it alone, and that’s what happened.”
Franklin, who is the defending TSSAA state champion in the discus, needed his second-to-last throw to edge Brentwood Academy’s Amos Mason.
“My coach just kept telling me to be calm, be calm,” Franklin said. “So I just told myself that I’m the state champion. I had to walk in and do a a good job. So I just walked in there and threw it. It just happened to be one of the good ones.”
Todd’s best throw came on her final attempt.
“I had to go all out,” Todd said. “For your last throw, you have to go all out. It’s a good feeling knowing I’ve worked all of my high school years to get to this point.”
Gardner, who won the Class AAA state cross country title this past season, outkicked Bell — the Class A/AA cross country champion — in the final 100 meters to hold on for her win.
“She is an amazing runner,” Gardner said. “She really is. Just to race with her was awesome.”