Players to watch: Kadecia Baird, Medgar Evers
Kadecia Baird isn’t just the fastest girl in New York. The Medgar Evers rising senior is also the fastest 400-meter runner in two countries.
Running for her native Guyana, Baird won a silver medal in the 400-meter dash at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month.
By doing so, Baird shaved more than a second from her personal best and her time of 51.04 is the fifth fastest in U.S. high school history and fastest in more than a decade.
Baird also broke a PSAL and New York State record set by Brooklyn Tech’s Diane Dixon (51.75) 30 years ago. She finished behind Ashley Spencer from the University of Illinois, the national champion in the 400, who broke a 22-year-old meet record.
No one in Guyana ran a faster time in the 400, but Baird will not represent the country in the London Olympics because of a technicality. Instead, the Guyana Olympic Association chose three-time Olympian Aliann Pompey, who reportedly registered a time of 51.66 in July, 2011.
A month earlier, Baird won the 100, 200 and 400 city titles on one special June afternoon on Randall’s Island, earning MVP of the meet.
In the state championship, Baird placed first in the 100 with a PR of 11.63 and also won the 200.
Baird then ran the fastest time in the country this season, winning the 400 in 52.14 at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina. She also ran the nation’s second best time of 23.26 in the 200 preliminary round.
As for what’s ahead, there’s a slew of major Division I schools, like Texas A&M, LSU, Central Florida, South Carolina and Clemson trying to nab Baird.
Good luck trying to catch her.
Visit MSGVarsity.com each weekday this summer as we unveil the next athlete on our Players to watch list. Click here for the complete list.