Top sprinters usually come in fairly uniform packages. Most of them are relatively short and remarkably muscular, with each muscle fiber trained to get them to the finishing line as fast as possible.
Once you see Shorecrest (Wash.) High hurdler Dillon Baker, as you can in the clip above, it's clear that he doesn't fit that mold. Unlike any of the other racers he competes against, Baker is most often confused for a starting center on his school's boys basketball team. In case you're still wondering who he is in the video, just look for the guy who is much, much taller -- and faster -- than everyone else.
In fact, at 6-foot-6 and a lanky 200 pounds, Baker is almost certainly the tallest 110-meter high hurdles state champion in the country. Making his rise to state track prominence more impressive is the way in which Baker improved his technique after less than a full season competing in the hurdles as a junior. According to the Seattle Times, the senior watched tons of sprint video clips of high hurdlers on YouTube.
"I did a lot of work in the offseason working on my form just by myself and watching YouTube videos," Baker told the Times. "So that helped me. That came back to this season."
As a result, he cruised to the Washington 110-meter high hurdles title at the Class 3A state championship meet, crossing the finish line in an impressive 15.14 seconds. The time was only an eyelash slower than the 15.10 mark he recorded at the Northwest District 1 Class 3A Finals, which is shown in the video above.
Regardless of time, Baker is still getting used to the concept that he's a champion hurdler.
"It feels pretty good because I didn't start hurdling until midway through last season," Baker told the Times.
It stands to reason that if he keeps improving that speed in college, he might end up as an odd-looking champion hurdler at that level, too.