Baidy Ba’s trophy shelf is getting crowded.
After helping lead Oakland Mills to the MPSSAA Class 3A boys track championship in June, the senior runner on Tuesday was named the 2020-21 Gatorade Maryland Track and Field Player of the Year.
The award, which recognizes both outstanding athletic performance and academic achievement, distinguishes Ba as Maryland’s best track and field athlete this year. He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Track and Field Player of the Year award to be announced later this month.
“I’m beyond proud of Baidy,” said Oakland Mills coach Chris Brewington. “He has worked so hard to get to this point. It’s really great to see him getting the recognition he deserves for all of his achievements.”
The achievement is one of many for Ba this season.
In April, Ba won the Howard County cross country championship and was then named the county’s Runner of the Year. Ba, a Kent State commit, then dominated the outdoor track postseason last month, winning three gold medals at the county championships, three more at regionals and two golds and one silver medal at states.
At the state championships, Ba set the 3A meet record in the 3,200-meter run by breaking the tape in 9:11.32. He then finished first in the 800 with a time of 1:52.33 and ended the meet by running the last leg of the Scorpions’ silver-medal winning 4x400-meter relay.
“This award just piles on to an unreal experience that this season has been,” said Ba. “I would have never imagined myself winning such a prestigious award, and I couldn’t be more honored to accept it. It really means a lot knowing that the work I put on the track and in the classroom every day doesn’t go unnoticed.”
The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner for each sport in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and then awards one National Player of the Year in each sport.
Past winners of the Gatorade Maryland Track and Field Players of the Year award are Bullis School’s Ashton Allen (2019-20) and Andre Turay (2018-19), Bel Air’s Kieran McDermott (2017-18) and Frederick Douglass’ Kollin Smith (2016-17).
Ba now has the opportunity to award a $1,000 grant to a local or national youth sports organization of his choosing. He is also eligible to submit a 30-second video explaining why the organization he chose is deserving of one of 12 $10,000 spotlight grants, which will be announced throughout the year. To date, Gatorade Player of the Year winners’ grants have totaled more than $2.7 million across 1,117 organizations.