Photo courtesy Byron Beers-Tahlequah Daily Press
Words of advice and encouragement ring loud and clear everyday for Tahlequah junior-to-be Trae Baker.
“’Don’t dwell on the past. Become a better person from your mistakes’…my dad’s inspiration is the best I’ve ever received,” replied the Tiger athlete who is mapping out a future of success after setting a winning standard on the track oval this spring.
As a sophomore, Baker won a pair of gold medals during the Class 6A regional meet by placing first in the 800 meter and 1600 meter events to advance to the OSSAA state meet as well as joining seniors Eric Burns, Jaxon Stickels and Jack McKee running the final leg on the Tigers 4×800 meter relay team that advanced to the 6A state meet field of competitors.
“I ran my PR in both events on the track at Jenks including my first-place finish in the 800m at regionals,” Baker said noting his 1:58.78 gold medal time. “Knowing what I can do and not letting a big meet stop me from that is the key reason for my success.”
His coach at Tahlequah compliments the efforts of the distance runner.
“Trae’s work ethic and competitive spirit make him better and simultaneously makes our team better,” said David Spears, coach of the Tigers distance runners. “He hates to lose and wants everyone around him to win as well.”
The coach’s comments further explain Baker’s choice of words when defining his winning passion on and off the track.
“I’m strive to be hard worker, a team player and a bridle because I like keeping people in check,” explained Baker, admitting his passion for running. “I can’t let someone, including myself, not try to be their best. It just doesn’t slide with me.”
It’s a character trait that makes Baker smile when complimenting the influence of family for his love of the sport as well as his approach to life.
“I love it because my family gets to watch me run my races. I am the person I am today thanks to my dad (Jay). His everyday example of hard work and dedication inspires me to always try my best no matter the circumstances.”
Including his favorite math classes, Baker’s classroom success has resulted in a 4.2 GPA.
“It carries over to my athletic achievements because track demands mental focus. Your mental training determines your physical performance. It’s all what you think you’re going to do and then going out and proving it to yourself.”
His desire to improve future performances on the track has resulted in a busy summer schedule of competition for Baker.
“I’m competing with Jenks America this summer. It helps me get out what I didn’t accomplish this year in track,” replied Baker practicing his commitment to not dwell on the past but rather improve his future. “My goals are to get down to 1:56 in the 800 and 4:10 to 4:15 in the 1600.”
It’s another example of how Trae Baker pens his definition of character for life.
“Having good character is being the best leader you can and wanting people to succeed around you. You want what is best for them.”