FORKS — Forks’ Cole Baysinger hadn’t run a sprint in years until Lewis-Clark State College told him they’d like him to run a 100-meter dash so they could see his time in the event.
Baysinger mostly specialized in jumping and field events such as discus and javelin. But, he entered the 100-meter dash at the Li’l Norway Invitational in Poulsbo and he stopped jumping the triple jump, which he won several times his junior and senior years.
He ripped off a time of 11.7 in the 100 and finished third, beating a bunch of 2A and 3A runners. In fact, if he had run that time at the state 2A meet, he would have finished third.
As it is, Baysinger did place fifth in the 100 at the state 1A track and field championships, after winning the Evergreen 1A championship and the 1A district championship in the event.
And he ran it a total of eight times in his entire high school career.
“He only took it up six weeks prior to the state meet,” said his coach Pam Gale. She was blown away at the time he put in in his first-ever 100-meter dash in high school. She said it was a “Boom!” moment.
It’s a testament to what a great all-around athlete Baysinger is and why he is the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Boys Track and Field MVP. Baysinger was also picked as the All-Peninsula football MVP earlier this season.
Gale said she had been trying to get Baysinger to run the 100 for some time. She was glad he did midway through his senior year and that was purely on a whim to establish a time for the perusal of Lewis-Clark State, which had offered him a track scholarship.
“I told him to pick two things [Baysinger picked discus and high jump] and do them great, even though I didn’t get the 100 out of him” until late, she said.
Baysinger said in hindsight, he could’ve taken up the 100 a little sooner.
“It definitely would have benefited me,” he said.
Baysinger tacked on an impressive third-place finish in the high jump at state meet, with a personal-best leap of 6 feet, 2 inches. Gale said he came within a whisker of 6-4 which would have won him the state title, but the bar simply wouldn’t stay up.
“He does rise to the occasion,” Gale said.
Baysinger showed an inkling of what he could accomplish at the Forks Lions Club meet in 2017 in which he won every event he entered — the high jump, the shot put, the discus and the triple jump.
That was just the beginning. Baysinger’s performance at state was the culmination of an incredible track season. Look at the tally of his finishes this year: 21 first-place finishes, five second-place finishes and five third-place finishes; top 3 finishes 31 times; Evergreen 1A League championships in the high jump, the discus and the 100; district title in the 100; two top-five finishes at the 1A state meet.
He did all of this in five separate events, events that aren’t even that closely related. Keep in mind, sprinters rarely do well in field events, which value strength over speed.
Baysinger won the 100-meter dash three times, the discus five times, the high jump eight times, the long jump three times and the triple jump twice this season.
And he did that with a shoulder injury from football severe enough that he has to have surgery on it later this month. Imagine what he could accomplish healthy.
Unfortunately for Baysinger, his all-around athleticism would have been perfect for the decathlon, an event that isn’t run at the high school level. Fortunately for Baysinger, Lewis and Clark State was impressed with his versatility to give him a track scholarship to run the decathlon in college.
Baysinger was also an outstanding football player for the Spartans, gaining over 1,000 yards as a running back. He said he still wants to play football and is keeping his options open to returning to football one day after his shoulder is repaired. But, then Lewis and Clark came forward and offered him a track scholarship between basketball and track season.
“It worked out and I get to keep going” playing sports, he said.
The decathlon will be another new event for Baysinger. Obviously, at this point, Baysinger is used to that.
The decathlon includes several events Baysinger has already excelled at — the 100-meter run, the long jump, the shot put, the high jump, the discus and the javelin. It includes several events Baysinger has never or rarely done — the 400-meter run, the 110-meter hurdles, the 1,500-meter run and the pole vault.
Not only has Baysinger never pole-vaulted, he said they don’t even have that event at Forks.
“I’m a little excited to figure out the pole vault,” he said.
Baysinger is dreading a bit the distance events such as the 1,500, another event he has never done.
“That’s … going to be fun,” he said.
All-Peninsula Boys Track and Field Team
MVP — Cole Baysinger, Forks, field and sprint events
Murray Bingham, Sequim, distance events, 21 individual and relay firsts, seventh at state in 800.
Riley Cowan, Sequim, javelin, 11 firsts, fourth at state in the javelin.
Riley Martin, Sequim, hurdles. 16 individual and relay firsts, third in state in the 110-meter hurdles.
Liam Clark, Port Angeles, jumping events, 14 individual firsts, one relay first.
Nathan Cantrell, Port Townsend, distance events, five firsts, first in district in 3,200.
Dylan Tracer, Port Townsend, hurdles, field events, eight firsts, 10th in state in 300-meter hurdles.
Ryan Strid, Clallam Bay, sprint events, 10 first-place finishes.