Badger senior returns to glory

NAVARRE – Taylor Baumiller knew her junior year was a struggle.

It ended with an abrupt halt at the Division III Navarre regional track and field meet.

Last Wednesday, things changed.

The Badger High School senior made state for the first time since she was a sophomore in the girls high jump with a jump of 5 feet, 2 inches.

“Made it to regionals last year. It was harder. I’m excited to make it out this year,” Baumiller said.

A lower back injury kept her out of order.

“Every time I leaned, pain would charge up it. It’s better this year. I haven’t had any problems,” Baumiller said.

Kurt Ward, Badger boys track and field coach and Baumiller’s high jump coach, said her injury hindered her from hitting her high jumps.

“The way it was, we couldn’t get a lot of consistent training in,” Ward said. “The lower jumps took a lot out of her. When we got to the higher jumps, she had a lot of trouble getting off the ground and getting that plant foot down.”

She placed third at regionals.

“I was nervous,” Baumiller said. “I just was. I came in thinking whatever happens, happens. I was happy that I got here.

“When I had a really good shot of making it out, I was really excited.”

Ward’s excited about her progress.

“It’s been incredible,” he said. “It’s been so much fun. The last four years, she’s been such an adamant worker for me. She works in the summer. She works in the winter. She just does all the little things.

“I couldn’t be happier for her to get what I believe what she deserves.”

Baumiller hopes this time at state is better than it was in 2011.

“My goal is to get over starting height,” she said. “I went my sophomore year and I didn’t get over starting height. I want to clear 5-2.”