Senior seizes future with Stanford scholarship


Josh Reiter, Sports Writer

Senior Caitie Baird towers over her peers in the hallway, but she stays grounded in her roots. Baird, a prolific PMHS athlete, remains humble and modest as a high school student.
Baird took home the gold medal at the 2018 Norceca Continental Championship. Baird is a three-sport athlete at PMHS, participating in track, basketball, and volleyball. Her talent in volleyball culminated in a scholarship to Stanford University.
Over the past summer, Baird participated in a national tournament that took place in Colorado, California, and Mexico. Her play as outside hitter on the team was a reason the team took home gold. When visiting the Olympic facility in Colorado, she saw some of her favorite athletes, such as Olympic swimmers Nathan Adrian, Allison Schmidt, and Conor Dwyer. What she took most from the experience was that she belonged there.
“I was able to meet new people around the country, and it was clear that they had a spot for me on the team,” said Baird.
Baird’s volleyball resumé at PMHS includes being first team all-state three times, second team all state once, all county three times, all conference three times, and all district once, as well. Her track accomplishments for high jump include going to the IHSAA State Finals in 2017 and 2018, winning a sectional championship in 2018, and sharing the regional championship in 2018. Despite such a prolific list of accomplishments, Baird hopes to make her final year the top year to remember.
Baird started later than most who pursue a sport in college athletics. She started to play with her sister, alumana Cassie Baird, in fifth grade. One day, Cassie her sister, alumna Cassie needed someone to warm up with, and Caitie filled the role. Several awards and accolades later, the rest is history.
For most high schoolers, sports and school are tough to balance, and Baird is no exception. Each school day, Baird wakes before the sun is out to attend classes, which include rigorous AP courses. She then participates in basketball practice after school. Following that, she goes to club volleyball practice and every weekend or so, plays in a tournament across different states.
“I try to plan everything out and make schedules, see what is working and not working,” adding, “Whenever there is any free time during school, I try to use my time as efficiently as possible and get all of my homework or studying done.”
This busy schedule has influenced Baird’s volleyball game. She obtained two stress fractures that sidelined her for weeks. The injury was caused by the constant play and practice of volleyball and basketball. Despite these injuries, she has gone through professional training and rehabilitation to get back to her to her true form.
Her final goal as a senior is to win the state championship at Perry. After competing across the country, Baird knows the competition inside and out. She hopes to use all of the knowledge and skills that were picked up over the years and make this season one for the ages.
Baird decided to take her talents to Stanford because of its location, volleyball curriculum, and most important of all, her college degree in biology. Stanford is ranked second nationally, according to USA Today College.
Even though Stanford is 2,308 miles away, Baird is unafraid of the change in environment.
“My mom has a friend that is about 30 minutes away from the university, so if I ever need anything, I can just go see her. I’ve been to the university, so I’ve been accustomed somewhat to it.” She added, “And you can’t beat California weather. I’ll love seeing the change of that versus Indiana.”
Baird’s family has had prolific success in athletics. Her father, John Baird, played baseball at Kent University and then transferred a year later to Walsh University, and her mother, Martha Baird, played basketball at Butler University. Her brother, alumni Dustin Baird, and sister, Cassie, also had the opportunity to play sports in college. Dustin plays baseball at Brown University, and Cassie plays volleyball at the University of Denver. She plans plans on playing professionally in Switzerland.
Despite being one of the best in the country at such a young age, Baird will always be a student first. For Baird, going to school is the top priority over others. At PMHS, Baird is involved in STUVO, basketball, National Honor Society, Link Crew, and Blue Crew. Her favorite of these is being a representative for the class of 2019.
“I enjoy the exchange of students and teachers cooperating to make PMHS a more inviting environment, whether it be spirit week days, the fundraisers, and the class competitions. While on STUVO I have met many new faces that generate fresh ideas for PMHS,” says Baird.
Jacqui Sheehan, STUVO sponsor and English teacher, dispenses praise for Baird and the work she has done for STUVO. Last year, Baird’s class pulled off an upset against the class of 2018 in the canned food drive. Baird provided much support and generated ideas to give her class the narrow win.
“Caitie is one of the most reliable members on STUVO,” says Ms. Sheehan. “She shows up to every meeting and always brings her enthusiasm, along with great suggestions, to make school a more fun and welcoming environment.”
Baird based her decided on Stanford because of the academic advantages that the school has access to.
“I chose Stanford over all of the other ones because of the degree that I can get, human biology and sports management, and to stay involved within volleyball. The degree opens up lots of opportunities and doors for me in the future.”