On her final throw, Baird comes through in the clutch with a new state record

Congratulations Natalie Baird on setting a new VA state girls discus record at the VHSL Group AA State Championships with a throw of 161'7"!

Photo by Tom Hoerner

On Friday night at the VHSL Group AA State Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Natalie Baird gave her dad who also happens to be her coach a few more gray hairs. Baird waited until her final and sixth attempt to break Jackie Wallace’s 1981 state record in the girls discus throw of 159’9”. The Park View senior started out with a throw of 139 feet and then launched her next four throws over 150 feet. It looked like it would be another typical state meet for returning three-time discus state champion Baird: consistent and dominating. When she stepped into the discus circle for her final attempt in a high school state meet, all eyes were on the red-headed girl to see if she could pull it off in the clutch. She delivered. One hundred-sixty one feet and seven inches and a new Virginia high school state record.

160 feet and Wallace’s state record had stood as a mental barrier for her for over a year when she threw for a state meet record of 159’4” last year at the VHSL Group AA State Meet in Harrisonburg. At the time, Baird and her father and coach Brian Baird thought her mark was the best mark ever by a Virginian prep. Her father then discovered on MileStat.com that in fact one mark was superior to Baird’s 2007 AA State Meet performance. Jackie Wallace of Lafayette did not throw as far as Baird in state meet competition, but had thrown for a 159’9” mark in a another meet in 1981. Baird had the all-time best mark in a National Federation and VHSL sanctioned meet, but Wallace’s mark was the best in any meet regardless of sanction by a high school athlete in Virginia.

For Baird, it was her second state record in one week. She broke the state hammer record on Sunday at a Potomac Valley Track Club All-Comers Meet. What’s next for Baird? Nike Outdoor Nationals in three weeks where she will be competing in all three throwing events with the shot put, discus, and hammer throw.

She still has more work to do in Harrisonburg this weekend with the shot put competition on Saturday at the VHSL Group AA State Meet. A win would not only give her third straight shot put state title and seventh total, but would also help the Park View girls in their pursuit of a straight state title. The discus throw event could not have gone any better for Baird or her teammates as two of her teammates had personal best days to finish second and fourth respectively. Most schools would love to just have one girl throwing over 120 feet in the discus, yet Park View has three. The 23 points earned in the discus helped put her team in the lead after day one events.