BAKER – Emotionally drained, physically exhausted, all energy zapped, Jon Beck’s effort at the 1A state track and field showcase boiled down to a harsh, one-word critique: “Rough.”

It was May, the culmination of a dominant campaign where he became the lone area state qualifier in four events.

Yet, as he jumped back and forth from the high jump, pole vault, long jump and triple jump, his competitive fire waned a bit.

“Just having to go back and forth was the worst part,” he said. “It just wasn’t separated very well. It was supposed to be a few hours in be-tween, but nah, energy-wise it was hard to keep up.”

Considering Beck’s résumé, a collection of lauded accolades that spans three sports, “hard to keep up” were words never before ushered by the lengthy 6-foot-4 playmaker.

He was the starting quarterback for the lauded Gators football program for four years, and he was an integral piece to Baker’s frontcourt on the hardwood.

That athleticism followed him to track and field, where he shined enough to get Division I college offers.

“What can you say? I’m a competitor,” Beck said.

A competitor that walked away from state with two medals – bronze in the high jump and seventh in pole vault, paired with a 10th-place showing in the long jump and a 13th-place finish in the triple jump.

But that doesn’t mean he was content, his standards portending an all-stater on the gridiron.

“I could have easily gone 13-06 in the pole vault and done better in the high jump,” he said.

Even so, when it came time to name the Daily News Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Beck stood tallest – literally and figuratively – out of a lauded list of competitors that included South Walton’s Micah Ryan, Niceville’s Edward Shelikoff and Walton’s Azende Rey.

“It means a lot,” Beck said. “It means all the hard work is paying off.”

Beck remains in Baker, opting for a job with Coca Cola over college. And he hasn’t given up the prospects of one day mentoring or coach-ing future Baker athletes.

“I had thought about it but I hadn’t shared that with anyone,” he said. “Maybe a few years down the line.”





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