Bakenhaster signs with Rio track & field

Adena High's David Bakenhaster, front center, signs
to run at Rio Grande as his parents and RedStorm
coaches look on.

FRANKFORT, Ohio - University of Rio Grande track & field head coach Bob Willey has announced the signing of Adena High School's David Bakenhaster for the 2014 season.

The 6-foot-2, 150-pound Bakenhaster was a middle distance runner and jumper for head coach Jerry Smith's Warriors.

A three-time All-Scioto Valley Conference and three-time All-Southeast District selection, Bankenhaster competed primarily in the 400-meter dash and the long jump this spring, setting a new personal record in the 400 with a time of 53.22 at the SVC championship meet in May.

"Competing in college has been a goal of mine since I first started high school," he said. "I'm very excited that I'm able to continue my track career at the University of Rio Grande and I'm looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead."

Bakenhaster also participated in the 800- and 5,000-meter runs during his prep career. His PR in the long jump of 17-10.25 came in district competition in May 2011, while his top time of 2:17.38 in the 800 came as a freshman at the district meet in May 2010.

Bankenhaster's best finish in the 5,000 was 18:57 at the Unioto Invitational in October 2012.

He chose Rio after also garnering attention from Cedarville University.

"I felt Rio Grande gave me the best opportunity to continue my career," he said.

Willey pointed to Bankenhaster's versatility as the biggest factor in making him an attractive signee.

"David's a very versatile athlete, but I think we'll try to concentrate on him in the 400 and 800 and see where it goes," Willey said. "I think he'll be able to come right in help us, not only in the open events but in our relays as well."

Bakenhaster also cited his versatility as to why he could have an immediate impact on the RedStorm program.

"I think I'm a person who has many different skills and can contribute to the team in many different ways," he said. "I know I need to become stronger, but my goal is to reach my maximum potential as an athlete and to help my team to the best of my ability.

Bakenhaster, who has yet to decide on a field of study, is the son of Duane and Marilyn Bakenhaster of Frankfort.