Baker poised to break out at Ashland
By BRIAN DZENIS
Lindsay Baker doesn’t need to be a Division I athlete to get everything she wants.
The track and field thrower from East Liverpool completed a redshirt season at Ashland University this year and while that status meant she couldn’t compete for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference or an NCAA Division II title, she’s well set up to do so in the future.
“If I trust the process and do what coach tells me to do, I could have multiple wins under my belt,” Baker said. “I could have multiple national titles in indoor and outdoor. Hopefully I’ll be All-American in more than just shot put and placing in other events as well.
“It’s going to be a good season [next year].”
In the meets that she was able to compete in, she’s put up numbers that would be the envy any thrower. During an April 21 meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium where she won a state title in shot put the previous year, she threw a personal-best 17.11 meters. That throw is currently the fourth-best mark in the world for any female athlete under the age of 20. Had she been eligible, she would have won the D-II national title by a healthy margin and would have been good for seventh place in the D-I NCAA tournament with her personal best.
In July, Baker made her international debut when she competed in the IAAF World Championships in Tampere, Finland. She joined UCLA’s Alyssa Wilson as the two American shot-putters. She ended up taking sixth with her best mark coming in at 15.67. Her PR would have bested New Zealand’s Madison-Lee Wesche’s 17.09, which took first.
“It was my first time flying internationally and it was the first time travelling without my mom,” Baker said. “It was a whole new experience all-around.”
Baker had offers from Dayton and Michigan State while she was at East Liverpool. She saw the distinction between D-I and D-II as meaningless, but she noticed Ashland track coach Jud Logan, a four-time Olympic qualifier in the hammer throw.
“You can’t go somewhere else and get someone like that as a coach for four or five years,” Baker said. “It’s nice to go somewhere where you’re promised the same coach for five years with the same goals as me.”
The environment in Ashland is still very intense, but Baker has thrived on it.
“At practice [Logan is] really serious. He will push you to your worst,” Baker said. “He will make you want to cry in the weight room, but he will make you 100 percent better than you were yesterday.
“He hasn’t [made me cry], but he has screamed in my face. It’s definitely motivational.”
To stay motivated, Baker keeps a few fortunes she got from fortune cookies tucked in her cell phone case.
“I actually have three of them,” Baker said. “One of them says, ‘love one another like I have loved you,’ ‘repetition is the mother of skill’ and ‘judgment will rule in your favor.’”
As things stand so far with her career, she could have a lot ruling in her favor.