Catholic High seniors Jessica Nix (left) and Camille Baker after competing in the TSSAA state pentathlon at MTSU. Baker took first place in the Class A-AA event.

By Steve Williams

Track and field is often thought of as an “individual” sport, but it has “team” players, too.

Like Camille Baker of Catholic High.

Baker started off Spring Fling week May 19 by winning the TSSAA Class A-AA state girls pentathlon at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

Three days later, the Catholic senior went all out in anchoring the Lady Irish’s 4×800 relay team to a state title and school record, even though she knew her efforts would slow her time in the 100-meter hurdles event that would soon follow.

“Camille ran her personal best time ever and didn’t have enough recovery time for the hurdles,” said Catholic Coach Brandon Harris. “She gave up her own potential glory in the 100 hurdles for her relay team. That says something about her character.

“She could have run a slower time in the 4×800 but didn’t do that.”

Annie Batcheller ran the leadoff leg, followed by Rosa Cinceros, Gabby Prevost and Baker. The foursome combined for a time of 9 minutes, 41.41 seconds. Christian Academy of Knoxville came in second at 9:44.39.

Catholic still got 10 points in the 100 hurdles as sophomore Camille Mancini won the race in 15.30. Baker came in eighth place to pick up one point.

Baker also took fifth in the 300 hurdles and was second in the high jump.

In winning the pentathlon, Baker totaled 3,105 points. Her best event was the 100 hurdles, as she led all pentathletes in that event, clocking a 15.23 for 811 points. Baker also finished first in the 800 (2:27.31 for 727 points) and tied for first in the high jump (5 feet, 1¾ inches for 701 points).

Baker also was fourth in the shot put (15-8¼ ) and eighth in the long jump.

“She had a pretty good day,” said Harris. “She’s worked hard to get where she’s at.”

Baker has signed with Missouri University of Science and Technology, a NCAA Division II school, and plans to compete in the heptathlon, with the addition of the 200 dash and javelin throw in college.

In other girls highlights at the state, CAK eighth grader Rebecca Story won the Class A-AA 3200 run in 11:21.57 and was third in the 1600. Austin-East’s Shenora Rogers prevailed in the shot put (36-0¾ ). CAK’s 4×400 relay team took first in 4:03.10. A-E’s Lexus Hall was second in the 200 and fifth in the 100.

Catholic finished fourth in the Class A-AA girls team scoring, while CAK was fifth.

In Class AAA, Hardin Valley Academy’s Liza El-Ajam, who got took up the shot put event this year after playing softball the past three years, was a surprise winner, edging teammate Tamia Crockett by one-half inch. El-Ajam had a 40-10 mark, while Crockett had a 40-9½ .Farragut sophomore Destiny Carey placed fourth. Crockett, a junior, also placed fourth in the discus event.

Gibbs’ Kelsey DeLapp, a Louisville signee, soared 12-0 to win the pole vault. Farragut’s Mack Swicegood was fourth.

Emma Mashburn of HVA closed out her outstanding prep career by winning the 3200 run in 10:52.35. She was third in the 1600 (5:03.47).

Farragut senior Katie Beuerlein, who was seventh in the Class AAA pentathlon, also was fifth in the high jump.

Hardin Valley’s 4×800 relay placed fourth, while West took fifth in the 4×200.

Maya Barroso of West, a Georgia Tech signee who saw her junior season halted by a knee injury last year, took sixth place in the 300 hurdles.

KIL champion Hardin Valley finished third in the Class AAA team scoring.

In Division II, Peighton Meske of Webb came in second in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600.