FREELAND, Mich. -- Olivet College's Bruce Baker is the recipient of the 2018 Albert L. Deal Scholar-Athlete Award from the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). The award honors the former MIAA commissioner, Albert Deal (1971-91), and is selected from nominees who have excelled in academics and athletics, and who have displayed outstanding leadership qualities.
A native of Charlotte, Mich., and graduate of Charlotte High School, Baker earned four varsity letters in each cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field for the Comets. In cross country, Baker earned All-MIAA Second Team honors in 2016 after placing sixth at the MIAA Championships.
On the track, he capped his career by winning the 10,000-meter run and finishing third in the 5,000-meter run at the 2018 MIAA Field Day to earn All-MIAA honors. Baker holds the school outdoor record in the 3K (8:57.14) and 10K (32:06.51). His indoor track accolades included a runner-up finish in the 5,000-meter run at the 2018 MIAA Championships.
Baker majored in business administration with a marketing concentration and minored in journalism and mass communication. He received the 2017-18 Walter B. Sprandel Male Student-Athlete of the Year and graduated with magna cum laude honors.
Baker was president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and vice president for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the Olivet College choir and Global Citizen's Honors Program. Baker volunteered for the last three summers as a camp counselor at Camp Barkel. He also teaches Sunday School and organized college student ministries at City on a Hill Church in Olivet.
|2004||Tim Avery, Calvin|
|2005||Peter Boumgarden, Calvin|
|2006||Travis Sleight, Olivet|
|2007||Josh Brehm, Alma|
|2008||Dustin Meisner, Olivet|
|2009||Jed Christiansen, Calvin|
|2010||Brandon Luczak, Kalamazoo|
|2011||Eric Watt, Trine|
|2012||Mike Harden, Olivet|
|2013||Cory Schmidt, Hope|
|2014||Mark Ghafari, Kalamazoo|
|2015||Will Guedes, Kalamazoo|
|2016||Boone Marois, Hope|
|2017||Harrison Blackledge, Hope|
|2018||Bruce Baker, Olivet|
Since the inception of the Al Deal Award in 2004, Baker is the fourth Olivet student-athlete to receive the award. The other three honorees were football player Travis Sleight in 2006, swimmer Dustin Meisner in 2008, and swimmer Michael Harden in 2012. Olivet's four selections are the most by any school in the MIAA.
Baker is the son of Brian and Lynne Baker.