When Bailey Baker graduates from Eaton Rapids High School in June, she will have set a school record that cannot be broken.
After this coming spring season, she will have earned 16 varsity letters, having competed since her freshman year in varsity volleyball, basketball, softball and track.
She will also graduate with academic honors, and with a $1,000 scholarship for being named one of eight recipients from Class B schools of the MHSAA’s Scholar-Athlete Award.
On the field as a junior, Baker earned all-state honorable mention in softball and was an MHSAA finals runner-up in discus in track, and made the Lansing State Journal Dream Team in both sports. She also has earned all-league honors in both volleyball and basketball, and served as a captain of both teams.
Off the field, she is a three-year member of the National Honor Society, served as editor of the yearbook, and has coached youth basketball and volleyball.
Baker said the lessons learned on the field and on the court has translated well to the classroom.
“Being determined, to want to do well, and to be competitive in the classroom,” Baker said.
Competitive in the classroom?
“Just with myself,” she added, “to do better than I did last time on a test or a quiz or anything.”
The constant activity necessary for such extraordinary success has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.
“Growing up I played five sports. I also played soccer, so I learned time management as I grew up,” Baker said. “I’ve just been able to prioritize things. I don’t have a lot of free time, but it’s worth it.”
But make no mistake, that does not mean that she has no social life.
“It really helps that all of my friends are in the same situation I am,” Baker said. “So when we’re at practice, that is at the same time our time to hang out. In between games, at a water break in practice, that’s our time to hang out.
“I have a group of girls that I’ve been with playing every sport since I was 5. Being able to grow up with them and be with them all the time has really been kind of cool.”
So, which of the four varsity sports in which she excels does she like best?
“I don’t think I have a favorite,” she said. “In season, that’s my favorite sport, whatever season I’m in.”
She will attend the University of Michigan, where her multi-sport days will come to an end. Baker will concentrate on track for the Wolverines, and use what will probably feel like mountains of free time to pursue a degree that, naturally, will keep her involved in athletics.
“I’m in the school of kinesiology, but I’m not sure within that what I’m going to do,” she said. “I want to try to stay involved in sports as my job, because it’s been such a big part of my life.”