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2 state titles for Mazama freshman Sydney Baker: ‘It’s still a shock’

Does this performance put more pressure on her entering her sophomore year? “I guess a little bit. But I’m going to keep working hard.”

By René Ferrán 

EUGENE — Sydney Baker didn’t get much of a chance to warm up for her first race Saturday afternoon at the OSAA track and field state championships. 

The Mazama freshman was competing in the Class 4A long jump at Hayward Field when she had to race over to the track for the 100-meter hurdles final.

The abbreviated warmup didn’t faze Baker in the least. She ran a personal-best 15.33 seconds to win the title, then came back a few hours later (this time, with a proper warmup) to win the 300 hurdles in 47.08.

Sydney Baker Mazama Rene Ferran

Oh, and she managed to finish fourth in the long jump behind Philomath sophomore Janice Hellesto — going a personal-best 16 feet, 10¾ inches.

“It’s still a surprise to be here,” Baker said. “It’s still a shock.”

Of her four events Saturday, the 300 hurdles was the one which made her the most nervous.

“I’m not a huge fan of distance races, just getting the tired part,” she said. “The highs, most of it is just sprinting through all the hurdles, the whole time thinking, ‘Don’t hit the hurdle. Don’t fall.’ Just working on your technique. But I’m glad I got to have some competition this meet.”

After entering the state meet without big expectations, she knows all eyes will be on her next spring. Does that put any more pressure on her?

“I guess a little bit,” she said. “But I’m going to keep working hard.”