GLASGOW – Baylie Chappell likes to savor her wins. And there’s been a lot of them lately.
The Glasgow senior has finished first in the 100-meter dash at every track meet she’s entered in 2018, and claimed Northern B titles in the long jump, 100-, and 200-meter dashes on Saturday in Great Falls leading the Scotties to a divisional championship.
“I never thought I would touch 12-seconds in the 100-meter dash, or 26 seconds in the 200-,” she said. “But I’m definitely peaking at the right time. It’s awesome. I really give all the glory to God because I couldn’t do it without him.”
Chappell is grateful for success this year, because last year she didn’t know if she’d ever step on the track again.
As a junior – Chappell started to feel discomfort in her chest. It continued to get worse and kept her off the track last spring, bringing the bright high school career of a rising track star to a screeching halt.
“I get chest pain and it just comes at random,” recalled Chappell. “We thought I had heart problems.”
Next came the heart scans, the EKG’s, the countless visits to the doctor and of course the uncertainty.
“It was scary because I didn’t know what would happen, and I didn’t know what was going on with my body,” she said. “It was frustrating because I just missed track and I knew I could do well. And I just feel like maybe I missed out a little more.”
Chappell missed her entire junior track season while doctors tried to determine the source of the problem. They couldn’t pin point what was wrong, but they could rule out any issues with her heart. Her ticker was strong. Eventually they cleared her to return to competition, but the chest pains remained.
“I still get chest pains but I just ignore it, and just choose to go on with my life,” she said. “It still bothers me but it’s not scary anymore.”
Now the only people that are scared are Chappell’s Class B competition. The Glasgow senior has dominated the sprinting events in the Northern B and has set PR’s in each of the past two weekends at districts and divisionals. Her team is happy to have her back.
“I think they missed me and I missed them,” Chappell said. “It’s awesome because you create those bonds and they’re some of your best friends here so yeah, it’s awesome to be back. It was pretty nerve wracking (to come back) at first but I just feel good, I just do what I have to do and put my trust in God and just go.”
Next up is the State B meet in Laurel beginning Friday. Chappell placed third in the 100-meter dash as a sophomore, and is excited to try and end her roller coaster of a career on a high note.
“It gives me the chills just thinking about it,” she said. “My main event is the 100, but I just have to pull through and I have to race like I know I can, and I can do it.”
Her best 100-meter time of 12.72 seconds is the second best in Class B behind Shepherd’s Maddisen Marema (12.68). She also faces tough competition in the 200-meter dash with the speedy Bigfork duo of Haile Norred and Jordan Nelson.
“I’m just trying to PR,” Chappell said. “I want to stay in the 12 second range in the 100, and maybe get in the low twelves. But with those other girls who are so close anything can happen, so it’s going to be a really close race.”
But one edge Chappell has over her competition is perspective. She almost had track taken away, so her final meet is an experience she will make the most of. After all, her heart is plenty strong.
“I’m here. It’s good. I’m glad to be back and I want to finish with a bang.”