Without the benefit of much recovery time between events, regional meets are a grind for Paige Baird.
But the Almena-Northern Valley track star made her jam-packed schedule look easy during last Friday’s Class 1A regional at Colby, earning three championships with one second-place finish ahead of this weekend’s state track meet at Cessna Stadium in Wichita.
“It went really well,” Baird said. “Regionals are always hard because you don’t have much time between events, but state will be better.”
Baird started regionals by breaking her own school record in the 100 hurdles with a 15.08, eclipsing last season’s time of 15.40. She then won the 400 in 1:01.54 and immediately turned around to take the 300 hurdles in 47.84.
Baird finished the day by placing second in the 200 with a 26.95, finishing behind Golden Plains’ Kaycee Miller, who ran a 26.81.
“I think the 200 is the hardest race after I did all of those events. It’s very tiring. But you just have to try and get top four, do your best and go on and make it to state.”
Baird already has three state championships to her credit. She’s the two-time defending champion in the 400 and also won the 300 meter hurdles last year as a sophomore while placing third in the 200 and fourth in the 100 hurdles.
She’s looking for a similar outing this weekend.
“I’d like to get a couple more championships, like I did last year, ” Baird said. “I feel like I achieved a lot there.
“I think (the regional meet) gave me so much confidence as I go for state.”
Baird will be joined in Wichita by seven other Northern Valley athletes.
On the boys’ side, the Huskies will send freshman Tharen Cox (110 hurdles), junior Jesus Saenz (discus and javelin), junior Caden Bach (high jump and javelin), junior Aidan Baird (pole vault) and junior Nick Stutsman (pole vault).
Bach was the regional champion in the javelin (165 feet, 5 inches) and the high jump (6-6). Stutsman won the pole vault by clearing 12-6 while Aidan Baird was second at 11-6.
Senior Chaylee Lowry will compete in the girls pole vault and 800 for Northern Valley while freshman Jayden Speer qualified in the girls 100 for the Huskies.