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Keshia Baker, SDSU graduate sudent and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team Keshia Baker, SDSU graduate sudent and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team

SDSU Grad Student Wins Olympic Gold

Keshia Baker competed in the 2012 Olympics as part of the 4x400-meter relay pool.

Keshia Baker, running the first leg of the 4X400 relay in 51.66 seconds, helped USA win its heat and advance to the finals. The USA won the medal race and Baker, as part of the team, received a gold medal as well.


keshia baker tweet

Story updated 8 a.m., Aug. 8, 2012. Originally published July 12, 2012.

San Diego State University graduate student Keshia Baker lives life on a fast track. This summer that track will be in London when she joins Team USA to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Baker has been chosen to represent the U.S. as part of the 4x400-meter relay pool.

Baker is currently earning her master’s degree in the joint public health and social work program in SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services.  

During her first year as an Aztec, Baker continued to train and compete while attending classes. In the fall, she was part of the gold medal winning team at the IAAF World Championships and came in sixth in the women’s 400-meter at the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials last month.

Balancing act

Baker is the first to admit it takes a lot of support to manage her strenuous schedule.

Her coach is in Los Angeles and she commutes two hours to school. Susan and David Acosta in Oceanside opened their doors to her as a home away from home. Her father, Anglin Baker, drives her to school so she doesn’t fall asleep driving home late at night. Her mother, Leonie Koprowski, has always been there to guide her and keep her spirits up, telling her, “If you keep your attention on your goal, you will succeed.”

Her older brother, Anglin Baker, Jr., a financial advisor, helped her plan long and short term goals to stay organized and reduce stress. Her boyfriend since high school, Terrell Kirtz, has been tremendously supportive.

“It is hard to study when you are on the other side of the world — the time adjustment is difficult, and he (Kirtz) helps me keep my balance,” Baker said.

A six time All-American at the University of Oregon, Baker credits Heather McClure-Snodgrass, Ph.D., mentor of a summer research internship program at the University of Oregon in helping her decide to go to SDSU. The dual master’s program fit perfectly with Baker’s career plans because of her interest in both fields. 

As a student, Baker completed an internship and worked at Kaiser Permanente in the executive office of Patti Harvey, RN, MPH, CPHQ, senior vice president of quality and risk management, where she learned about patient care services and clinical operations support for Southern California Kaiser Permanente.

From an early age, Baker had always played basketball but fell in love with track her junior year in college.

“It is individual,” she explained. “I put in all the work and don’t have to rely on somebody else. I train, eat right, put in the work and see the results. With track, it starts over every year. Just because you are in the lead one year, doesn’t mean you’ll maintain that lead. The next year a new person can come up. It depends on the day, on the person, on the event. I love all the aspects of competing in this field.”

Community Service

Baker is also co-founder of the organization Save Our Student Athletes (SOSA) that supports after-school athletics in her home town of Fairfield, Calif. and around the country.

“SOSA is constantly looking for ways to give back to the community and create safe environments for students to participate in athletic activities,” Baker said.

For more information, go to

Keeping up with Keshia

Keep up with Baker as she competes in London by following her on Twitter.You can also follow #TeamSaucony on Twitter as Baker is one of several athletes sponsored by Saucony.