Chloe Baynes track

Submitted / The Tribune Chloe Baynes grabbed two medals at Saturday’s AHSAA Indoor State Championships in Birmingham.

As softball season nears, the speed of Tallassee’s Chloe Baynes is about to be showcased several times each week but Baynes did not want to wait until she hit the diamond to show it off. Despite already preparing for softball to begin, Baynes continued to work on a few other skills and she put that work to good use as she grabbed two medals at the AHSAA Class 4A-5A Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend.

Baynes shook off what she called a poor run in the 60 hurdles prelims and shaved off more than two-tenths of a second to take second place in finals while also surprising herself with a new personal best to take third in the triple jump. Baynes is the Elmore County Player of the Week.

“It means a lot to me to know that I can do more than one sport,” Baynes said. “I enjoyed everything about it. It can be tough to work track in especially since I am more of a softball girl. The coaches really help me out to allow me to run track and practice softball.”

While her speed certainly helps her in both sports, Baynes showed off more than that as her athleticism was in the spotlight during the triple jump. Baynes said she did not expect to place in the event as she was not ranked in the top three entering the weekend but she proved herself wrong.

In her third attempt, Baynes recorded a distance of 33-2.5, setting a new personal best as it helped her claim bronze.

“I have mainly focused on hurdles so I actually didn’t expect that,” Baynes said. “At Tallassee, we don’t have a pit to practice that so I just do it in the weight room. After I did it and they said 33, I just looked over at my dad and we were both smiling from ear to ear.”

In the hurdles event, Baynes posted a time of 10.27 to finish third in the prelims and qualify for the final. However, Baynes knew she could do better and wanted to push for second.

“I just came over from the triple jump when they called for the first race so I didn’t get to warm up that much,” Baynes said. “I really wanted to place second and I was confident but hurdles can be nerve wracking because you never know if you’re going to fall on one of them.”

Baynes’ confidence helped her get past those nerves and she had a clean run, finishing the race in 10.05 to take second place.

Tallassee starts its softball season on Thursday and Baynes is looking to use her speed even more this season. She posted a .669 batting average as a freshman last year and stole 82 bases but she said she is ready for more and she believes track has helped her.

“This definitely helps me with my speed,” Baynes said. “I run a lot and do all the sprints. I have high expectations for myself and I want to get even higher this year, even if it’s just a couple of points.”

Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.