Stanford sophomore Olivia Baker was named the West Region's Women's Track Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Baker, who will compete at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene (Ore.) beginning Thursday, has the fastest collegiate outdoor 800-meter time in the country this year, of 2:01.02. It is the sixth-fastest among all American women outdoors in 2016.
In running the time at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 1 at Stanford, Baker dropped three seconds off her lifetime best and vaulted herself into the elite.
At the Pac-12 Championships in Seattle, Baker ran the 400 and clocked 53.20 while rallying to victory in dramatic fashion to win in the final meters. She also is part of Stanford's 4x400 relay that advanced to the NCAA's by running the second-fastest time in school history -- 3:31.13 at the NCAA West Prelims in Lawrence, Kan.
Baker is a native of Maplewood, N.J., and set the state high school 400 record of 52.46 at the 2014 U.S. junior nationals. She went on to win a bronze medal in the 400 at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships and a gold in the 4x400 relay in the same meet.
At Stanford, she is No. 4 on Stanford's all-time outdoor performers' list in the 800 and No. 5 in the 400 (53.17). She is a four-time All-America, having advanced to the NCAA's in the 800 as a freshman, but didn't advance out of the semifinals.
In 2016, Baker won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 800 indoor title and followed with a third place at the NCAA Indoor Championships.