Baker becomes newest member of track program at State Fair CC

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville senior Daylynn Baker recently signed a letter of intent in track and field with State Fair Community College in Sedalia. Baker is a four-year letterwinner on the Boonville Lady Pirates track team. Attending the signing ceremony last Tuesday in the media center at Boonville High School were (front row, left to right) Boonville girls track coach Melissa Baker, Daylynn Baker and Gary Baker. (back row, left to right) Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles, Boonville boys track coach Ryan Lyons, Boonville assistant track coach Paul Stevens, and State Fair Athletic Director Darren Pannier.

After signing a track and field letter of intent last Tuesday in the media center at Boonville High School, Boonville senior Daylynn Baker said she chose State Fair Community College in Sedalia because of the location and the idea of being apart of the foundation for a great new program. 

While running track for the last four years at Boonville, Baker finally put pen to paper on Tuesday to become the first member of the Lady Roadrunners track program.

Boonville girls track coach Melissa Baker said Daylynn has been a rock for the program. “Daylynn has been that person I can put in any event, and then I know that she’ll excel in,” Baker said. “She kind of took the hurdles under her wings, but she's a kid that I've never seen finish the way that she can finish a race, and it's because she has heart. I don't know that she's just got the top natural top speed, but she's got the heart, and that’s what makes her a competitor. I'd put her on the line next to anybody to race them just because of her heart and how much she'll push at the end of a race.”

Although injuries have hampered Baker throughout her career at Boonville, the senior standout still holds the school record in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles in 47.17 seconds. That same season, Baker finished fifth at state in the 300 hurdles as a freshman.

Baker said Daylynn also ran the 100 meter hurdles, 4 x 100, 4 x 200, 4 x 400 relays, and than this year competed in the long jump and shot put. 

Just recently, Baker qualified for state along with Jodie Bass, Kylee Turner and Alison Eichelberger in the 4 x 100 meter relay. The foursome broke the school record last week at the Class 3 Sectional Track Meet at Montgomery County High School by placing fourth in 51.60 seconds.

State Fair Community College Athletic Director Darren Pannier said Baker comes very highly recommended and in the collegiate level it’s really hard to find athletic women playing in a collegiate level. “There's always the men who want to keep and continue playing football, track and field, basketball and baseball, but when you find somebody of Daylynn’s caliber and Coach Brad Hagedorn, our new track coach, saw it and gobbled it and we wanted to get her sign as soon as we can, because with her charisma and her athletic ability, hopefully people will start following her to State Fair CC.”

Pannier said Hagedorn, who has coach both the boys and girls track teams at Sedalia Smith-Cotton, hopes to get 20 men and 20 women for the first season and then build to possibly 80 in 2022 and 100 in 2023.

Pannier added that until SFCC can get a track built at the college, the men’s and women’s track teams will compete at Smith-Cotton track.

Another reason that Baker was lured to SFCC was because the A-plus program. She said at first SFCC didn’t have a track program but then recently announced their new athletic addition. “I sent in my information and the coach sent me a recruitment offer shortly thereafter,” Baker said. 

After two years at SFCC, Baker said she will continue her education at the University of Central Missouri and hopefully have the opportunity to run there as well. 

To compete at the next level after SFCC, Baker said she will need to improve on her technique and her event times. She said she would also like to learn to run the 400 meter hurdles and continue her interest in other events. 

However, after a successful career at Boonville, Baker said the highlight was probably going to state every year that they were allowed to participate. “The competition is on a whole new level compared to the rest of the year and the thrill of the win is even better,” Baker said. 

Of course Baker said she will miss running for her mom, and running the relays with Jodie Bass. “My mom is probably my biggest influence in track because she is constantly pushing me to be my best and helping me break through mental barries,” Baker said. 

While earning all-conference, all-district and placing fifth at state as a freshman, Baker also has a chance to put her name in the record books in the 4 x 100 relay Saturday at the Missouri State Track and Field Championships in Jefferson City. 

Although the 4 x 100 relay will be her main focus this weekend, Baker said she still wanted to go further in both the 300 hurdles and long jump this season but fell short due to a hamstring injury. 

Either way, Baker has done more in four short years in track than most runners do in a lifetime and that’s what SFCC is counting on from its newest member.