And when he’s not doing the aforementioned, he’s hitting the books.
His name is Tyler Baker, a three-sport senior at Purnell Swett High School who is apart of the Rams cross country, cheerleading and baseball teams. His achievements in the classroom and on the playing fields earned Baker January’s Mountaire Farms/The Robesonian Scholar Athlete of the Month award.
The ATOM program’s mission is to highlight male and female senior student-athletes within Robeson County who carry a 3.0 GPA or higher. Nominees need to also be recognized by their coaches for outstanding sportsmanship and perform with superior ability in athletic competition.
“He is just the perfect example of a student-athlete,” Swett cross country coach Jim Adams said. “He’s been one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful in cross country the last few years.”
Baker, an all-conference runner the past two years who’s best time finishing time is 18 minutes, 1 second was named the Rams boys cross country MVP this past fall. But it was Baker’s prowess in the classroom that impressed Coach Adams the most.
“There were times when he came up to me in practice with some kind of project or paper due and he’d ask if he could work on it and run when he got time,” Adams said. “He was the kind of athlete that I could trust doing that. I knew Tyler would do what he had to do with his academics and go do his run also.”
Aside from helping Adams and the Rams shape into the area’s top pack of distance runners this past fall — Swett won this season’s Robeson County Championships, Baker also is part of the Rams cheerleading squads during the fall and winter and hits the ball diamond in the spring. Last year, as Swett’s leadoff hitter the centerfielder led the Rams in batting average and touted a .500 on-base-percentage.
All-the-while, Baker, son of Melanie and James Baker, maintains over a 4.0 weighted GPA inside Swett High School’s hallways.
“I pay attention in class and try not to get distracted, and study whenever I can and work hard,” Baker said. “My parents, they give me motivation and they push me.”
Baker also went on to accredit his grandparents, Terry and Joseph Langley. Joseph Langley, who played baseball at East Carolina University, coached Baker on the ballfield through middle school. Baker plans to attend ECU next fall and study physical therapy.
Reach Sports editor Kaleb Roedel at 910-272-6111 or at email@example.com