Senior Olivia Bakker sets Blue Valley West record at BVNW Spring Classic

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Olivia Bakker hadn’t competed in nearly six months, but she sent out a a big statement to the rest of Class 6 in Kansas.

The Blue Valley West senior was competing in her second track and field meet of the season Friday night at the Blue Valley Northwest Spring Classic when she set a new personal record in the 1,600-meter run. 

Bakker dominated the final two laps of the mile run before sprinting down the homestretch all by herself. Her winning time was 5:03.31 – a PR by two seconds for the Iowa State University commit.

“I’m really excited,” Bakker said. “It’s a PR, so very excited. It’s also the school record.

“I’ve been out for three months, so coming off of injury I didn’t know what to expect. I definitely came in here looking to run a fast time in good weather. I was ready to run fast.”

Blue Valley West senior Olivia Bakker won the girls 1,600-meter run in a time of 5:03.31 on Friday at the Blue Valley Northwest Spring Classic. The time was a personal record for Bakker and a BV West school record. (Photo by Jimmy Gillispie)

Bakker was having a great senior cross country season until an injury ended her season. Bakker was on pace to earn her first state cross country medal, as she finished in the top four at each of the four meets she competed in this fall.

Her last cross country race this year was the KC XC Classic on Oct. 2. Bakker placed fourth behind the Kansas 5A and 6A state champs and a third-place finisher at the Missouri Class 5 state race.

However, Bakker was unable to continue competing as a stress fracture derailed her season. It was tough to endure, but Bakker battled through it in hopes of coming back for her final track season as a Jaguar.

“It was hard at first,” Bakker said. “You definitely have to be patient. It was hard, but I’m slowly coming back. This was my first week doing two hard workouts. Hopefully I can keep improving the more workouts I do.”

On March  25, Bakker returned to competition at the BV West Triangular. Her lone race was the 1,600 run, but she returned to form quite nicely. 

Bakker won the race in a time of 5:11.67, winning by 13 seconds. It was only six seconds slower than the time she ran at state last May, where she placed third.

One week later, at the BVNW Spring Classic, Bakker ran just a single race again as she works herself back into the season in hopes of remaining healthy. She stuck right behind Olathe North senior Kaylee Tobaben, whom Bakker will be competing with and living with next year at ISU, for first two laps.

Then, Bakker made her surge and left her future roommate behind as she raced toward a PR. Seconds after Tobaben finished, she walked up to Bakker, looked at the winning time on the scoreboard and back at Bakker with a smile and look of shock.

“I wanted to kick it the third lap,” Bakker said. “It’s the hardest lap, so I wanted to take it out hard and go from there.”

The two future Cyclones shared a brief conversation about Bakker’s time, which is likely the state’s best this early in the season. It was definitely a race Bakker won’t forget.

“I didn’t expect to go that fast,” Bakker said. “I’m very excited to see what the future holds.”

– story by Jimmy Gillispie

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