Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, November 24, 1997

Second leading rusher in state history from Winsted


The Halloween night loss to Lester Prairie for the Section 4 championship marked the end of senior running back Mike Baird's high school football career at Holy Trinity.

It also put him in the record books as having a career total of 5,086 rushing yards, the second best in state history, according to the records kept by the Minnesota State High School League. Mahnomen's Jason Miller is first with 5,395 yards from 1988-91.

Baird said he "feels good," about being in the record book. "I'd like to be first, but I can't complain about being second."

Since ninth grade, Baird, the son of John and Gloria Baird, has scored 452 points including 69 touchdowns (the rest on two-point conversions). His rushing total came on 784 carries. In addition to that, he had 37 pass receptions for 490 more yards.

Defensively, Baird has had 112 tackles, 48 assists, and six interceptions.

Baird has also racked up four varsity letters, three times named to the all-conference team, three times named the team's most valuable player, was the Tri-Valley Conference most valuable player, twice was named Star Tribune Player of the Week, and twice named to the Star Tribune all-metro football team.

"He has good running instincts," said Baird's coach, Jim Brown. "He understands the breakdown of the play and what is supposed to happen." When it doesn't, Brown said Baird is good at "adlibbing."

The 5' 10" 190-pound Baird started playing football with Trinity in seventh grade; it was his sport of choice because "you grow up playing it." The game also gives Baird an opportunity for self improvement.

"Every game gives me a chance to do that," he said.

His favorite game was the first of the season against St. Croix Lutheran. The Trojans beat the Crusaders, and Baird was awarded metro athlete of the week.

The colleges have come courting. North Dakota State, South Dakota State, and West Point Academy have all contacted him. "South Dakota calls most every week," he said.

Baird will meet with the colleges in December and plans to major in business and accounting.

"I've accomplished a lot, so I'm down about (the season being over.) I did good in four years," he said.

Baird will also play basketball at Trinity this winter, and baseball in spring.

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