Sports

Senior Spotlight: Baker was a Program Builder at Hazen Union

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Wildcat Jadon Baker earned Capitol League honors as a starting midfielder for the Hazen Union soccer team the last two seasons.

by Ken Brown

HARDWICK – Jadon Baker finished up his stellar high school career earlier this month as a throwback multi-sport athlete that brought a high level of success to the basketball, baseball, soccer, and golf programs at Hazen Union.

Baker’s last name brought a lot of expectation, with older brother Isaiah’s legendary scoring feats on the hardwood and Father Mike’s invaluable contributions to the basketball program at Hazen with a coaching career that lasted over two decades. He lived up to it and then some, making varsity in all four sports as a sophomore, leading Hazen Union to three state title games, winning a state championship in basketball, and collecting several VBCA and league honors along the way.

“My Dad and my brother were some of my biggest influences growing up, with my Dad keeping me competitive in sports and my brother being my biggest competitor. We played hours and hours of baseball, basketball, and soccer in the backyard growing up and I just remember my Dad asking my brother and I just about every night, ‘hey, wanna go outside and play?’ That is how I became an athlete,” said Baker

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Jadon Baker was the starting center-fielder for a Hazen baseball team that went 42-13 the last three seasons.

Baker became a true example of how small schools in Vermont sustain success in multiple athletic programs with not only his unwavering willingness to participate, but lead as well. As just a sophomore, he was named to the VBCA Dream Team, while playing alongside his brother in his senior season on the basketball court. He also would claim Mountain League honors on the soccer pitch and the baseball diamond for the Wildcats that same season. He helped lead Hazen Union to a Division III state championship in basketball as a junior in 2022 and back to the title game at the Barre Auditorium this past winter. He earned Capital League honors in soccer as a junior and this past spring in baseball as an elite defender in center field, while also batting .360, stealing 15 bases, and scoring 24 times. He was part of a historic senior class that helped rebuild the baseball program at Hazen, winning 42 games the last three seasons, including their first trip back to Centennial Field in the Division III title game in 2022.

“Jadon is the kid who showed up every day with a smile on his face. The ability he displayed on the soccer field, golf course, basketball court, and baseball diamond really showed his competitiveness he brought to every team he played on. He was always working hard to get better and the way he interacted with his teammates and opponents showed his true leadership in every aspect. He’s an amazing athlete and person and though he may not have always got the spotlight, he did all of the little things on his team that took them from good to great. That ability will allow him to continue to lead at his job and in life and he’s someone you just want to be around,” said head baseball coach Spencer Howard.

photo by Vanessa Fournier
Hazen’s Jadon Baker was a starting guard for the Wildcat basketball team the last three seasons, winning a state championship in 2022.

Baker also found time to play varsity golf for Hazen in the fall all four years, culminating in a senior campaign that saw him capture his first Medalist Honors and qualifying for the 2022 State Sectional Tournament.

“I would tell younger kids coming up that playing three or four sports in high school every year isn’t easy. Having practice or games every day of the week throughout the entire school year is a lot of time spent at the field or the gym. My advice to them is to stay competitive and start where you left off the year before. Strive to be better athletes and better people than your opponents and keep it fun,” said Baker.

Baker put a bow on his outstanding high school career last week by being the recipient of Hazen Union’s inaugural Sportsmanship Award. He was nominated by the athletic director, principal, and entire coaching staff of the Hazen Union athletic department for demonstrating exemplary sportsmanship qualities including, respectful, fair, and generous treatment of teammates, opposing players, coaches and officials, and behave in and out of sports with integrity and admirable character that makes the athletic department and community proud. Baker will have his name appear on a plaque outside of the Hazen gymnasium.

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