Russellville student signs with University of Montevallo track, field team

Russellville High School senior Tilmon Baker made his plans for the future known during a signing celebration held on May 18.

After graduating from RHS, Baker will join the University of Montevallo track and field team where he will throw the javelin for the Falcons. Montevallo is a member of the Gulf South Conference in NCAA Division II and is led by head coach Tommy Barksdale. Baker will also receive throwing guidance at Montevallo from assistant coach Micah Clemons. Tilmon is the son of Rodney and Christina Baker.

During his senior season at Russellville High, Baker was no stranger to success. His school year began on the football field where he was a big contributor on head coach John Ritter’s squad that helped win their region and a playoff game.

Then came basketball season and Baker got valuable playing time for head coach Patrick Odom on a team that won the area and advanced to the Northwest Regional at Wallace State. In May, the RHS boys’ track and field team had multiple athletes qualify for the state meet in Gulf Shores, and Baker was one of them. Tilmon finished fifth in AHSAA Class 5A javelin and even set a new personal record at the state meet with a 158’ throw.

“Every kid wants to play sports past high school, and that’s the next step,” Baker said of signing to become a college athlete. “Although I’ve loved football forever, this is what God had planned for me, and it’s under His will. I’m thankful everybody came out to support me and celebrate this day with me. It means a lot to me.”

Baker’s accomplishments while throwing the javelin are even more impressive considering he is still new to the sport. Once a baseball player, he decided to give track and field a try, and his work ethic helped bridge the gap for what he may have lacked in experience.

“It’s the perfect example of what hard work does,” Russellville track and field head coach Brett Voss said.

“You hear the old adage, hard work pays off. You put in the work, you put in the time and it’s just culminated into letting him have the opportunity to compete at the next level. A kid going from three years ago having never picked up a javelin to working hard enough to finish fifth in the state. Then to get the opportunity to throw at the next level, it’s just a testament to the work that he put in.”

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