A raw egg, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and a Ronnie Coleman motivational video are how senior James Baker starts his day. The two year cross country captain prepared himself for a strong start to the 2018 season by running over 500 miles this summer.
The cross country team has started its season strong with a complete team sweep at the Iowa City Invite.
“We have a very strong team this season due to our record numbers in attendance, great workouts, and our positive mentality during runs,” Baker said.
To prepare for meets, Baker thinks about the race and what he needs to do, to be the best he can on race day.
The success of the Baker led cross country team has not been restricted to this year alone. Baker recalls one of his greatest successes in cross country.
“It was last year at a meet in Geneseo. We had a team sweep and won in each category. It was an easy meet, but it was cool to see the team achieve a lot,” Baker said.
When thinking about the difficulties in running cross country, Baker said that the toughest part is the mentality. It is treating both the bad and good days with the same positive mentality.
Baker’s teammates and coaches have seen his great attitude and leadership skills in action.
“JR shows strong leadership qualities. They are on display through organization and general knowledge of wanting to push things in the right direction. He likes to take charge and does so in a way that is purposeful,” assistant coach Chris Adams said.
Adams believes that the cross country team has a big group of leaders, and Baker is at the center of it.
“JR is a charming, compassionate, gritty, dreamy, hard worker with a straight forward attitude. He is someone you want your daughter to date and a possible future son in law. He always goes the extra mile,” sophomore teammate Nick Moore said.
Another teammate of Baker enjoys the inspirational stories that Baker shares before each meet.
“The stories are personal and connect with other runners,” Patrick Markovich said.
Along with cross country, Baker is involved in track and swimming.