Sophomore Bailey continues to stand out as a high flyer for Bearden track and field


Gavin Bailey was selected as the boys track and field MVP for 2023.

Sophomore Gavin Bailey has been one of the outstanding performers this season on the Bearden track team.

He moved from out-of-state last year and has been pole-vaulting since 7th grade. He is ranked twelfth in the nation for sophomore boys, this season being his fourth-year pole vaulting.

As successful as he has already been, he still wants to get better.

“I took off the summer and fall for football,” Bailey said. “Taking this time off delayed my improvement in pole vaulting.

“But this year I’m going to keep practicing through the summer and fall, pole vaulting in the morning and then football practice right after school.”

Bailey’s effort this season has been noticed by many teammates and his coach. He was voted Bearden’s boys track and field MVP for 2023. 

The Bearden track team competes in sectionals at Science Hill on Saturday. Their performances there determine qualifiers for the state meet May 25.

“Gavin has transitioned from being a follower and just a participant in practice into becoming a leader and really taking ownership of his own success at practice,” said Coach Mark Hollis, who coaches Bailey privately outside of school. “He also helps his teammates and competitors to do their very best every day.”

Added senior high jumper Cayden Douglas: “He has become more confident in both his personality and in pole vaulting which is important in his future growth and performance.”

Bailey has placed first in many meets this season and tied for first place in the KIL Championships.  

“This is the first year I have had a real coach who pushes me to be the best I can be,” Bailey said.

Bailey placed first in both Oak Ridge Legends Invite and Spartan Challenge in April jumping over 13 feet and over 14 at Oak Ridge. 

“I push Gavin as a coach to strive to be greater every single day, to not waste a single practice or competition if he wants to be good at something, which takes focus, determination, and hard work,” Coach Hollis said.

Bailey’s passion for pole vaulting has influenced him to think about continuing in college.

“I’m planning to continue pole vaulting in college, but it depends on scholarships and how the next two years go,” he said.

His coach and his teammates see great potential in future achievements from Bailey.

“I have no doubt that Gavin can continue to jump higher, break records, and win state championships if he chooses to stay focused,” Coach Hollis said.