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The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

The student news site of Brookline High School

The Cypress

Track team welcomes Coach Baker

New assistant track and field coach Elizabeth Baker provides motivation and support to the team. (CONTRIBUTED BY ELIZABETH BAKER)

A motivating coach must encourage athletes through successful and challenging times, energize them every day, rain or shine, and support the team through ups and downs. Elizabeth Baker, the new assistant coach for girls cross country and track, embodies all these qualities.

Baker began coaching the girls cross country and track team this year. She ran track and cross country in high school and at Texas Christian University. She recently ran the Philadelphia marathon in November and is now preparing for the Boston Marathon. She works mainly with the newer athletes and the distance runners.

According to Baker, she uses humor during breaks to lighten the mood. She said that she wants the athletes to work hard but understands the difficulties of balancing school and a sport.

“I try to be relatable and a good support system because I know that, especially after all the work you do in high school, sometimes you’re tired and it’s not your day,” Baker said. “So I feel like I can relate to that, that I understand how much work it is to be a student-athlete.”

Freshman Laila Cowan ran cross country and track for the first time this year. According to Cowan, Baker uses her experiences running marathons to inspire the team.

“I think she’s very motivational because I know that she told us she’s running marathons soon. So I think her motivation kind of inspired me as a runner to just work to my limits,” Cowan said.

Baker also works in Newton as a long-term substitute teacher. Baker said that coaching is her favorite part of the day, and she loves nothing more than an athlete looking for ways to improve.

“The biggest thing I get happy to hear is someone say, ‘Coach, how can I get better? What can I do?’ They want to be there and are doing the work to do so,” Baker said. “It’s really motivating to have athletes really want to contribute and be the best that they can be.”

According to Cowan, Baker was able to act as her friend as well as her coach. Whenever Cowan was having an off day or nervous about a race, she said Baker was always understanding.

“She would always give me the best advice and reassure me even when I thought it wasn’t gonna go well. On the days where I just was feeling under the weather, she’d be like, ‘Oh, you can just go home or you can cross-train.’ And I think even though she pushed us, she let us have breaks, which I think was a good balance,” Cowan said.

Senior and captain Dasha LeFaivre was injured for much of the cross country season and recently returned to racing. During cross country, she helped Baker coach the younger players and said that Baker had been supportive throughout her injury.

“She’s been very helpful, and she always tells me I’m doing great,” LeFaivre said. “For example, I raced for the first time last week, and she came up and congratulated me and was really excited for me.”

LeFaivre said that Baker has been an important addition to the coaching staff as she can bring the varsity and JV teams together and significantly support the younger and newer athletes.

“We need someone to kind of connect those two groups of JV and varsity together, and I think she definitely does that, and helps guide the younger kids especially, which is always helpful in a team with so many kids,” LeFaivre said.

Baker said she believes the team can compete at a high level, which she enjoys witnessing. She also said she wants to aid them in accomplishing their aspirations.

“Some of my goals would be to help athletes reach their goals and see them progress throughout the season,” Baker said. “There’s nothing more exciting than to see someone hit that goal they’re trying to make, and I feel like the coaches, we’re chomping at the bit watching them run, and it’s really exciting.”

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