Vayle-Rae Baker Wins Her 5th National Wrestling Title

A lot's changed since Newswatch 16 last checked in with Vayle-Rae Baker in 2016.

"I've had so many opportunities since then and so many people that have walked into my life and just given me new chances," Baker said. "I think I've grown a lot as an athlete and as a person."

She was two-time national champion then, already a trailblazer locally for girls in wrestling. Now 18 years old, Baker is the number two-ranked girl in the nation at 117 pounds and after last week's Marine Corps Junior National Championships in North Dakota, she's now a five-time national champion.

"It was exciting," Baker said. "It always is. I always say it's like having Christmas again."

It may feel like opening a present, but it's all earned.

"When most people are eating, she's training," Vayle-Rae's father, Wes Baker said. "So, it's very refreshing to have kids that are willing to work that hard. They all make me proud."

Baker grew up training here at the Slaughterhouse in Orangeville, but last year, the Benton-native transferred to Wyoming Seminary to join the inaugural season of women's wrestling. There, she's one of nine nationally ranked wrestlers.

"Benton is amazing and it's built me into the wrestler (I am), gave me so much character, but Sem opened up that opportunity and I would have all girl teammates and so I felt that that was best for my future," Vayle-Rae said.

A bright one, at that. Wrestling has already taken Baker around the world, impressing even her Army veteran of a father.

"I was probably 30 and still traveling, but getting out of the Military and now my daughter's 18 and got me whooped every which way," Wes Baker said.

"I've been to Greece, Bosnia, Peru, Mexico," Vayle-Rae Baker explained. "It's allowed me to travel to ten different countries and soon it's going to be eleven."

Number eleven is Brazil. That's where she'll compete in the Pan Am Games in August, but Baker has her eye on an even bigger international competition.

"I want to be an Olympic champion," Baker said. "So that's my biggest goal."

With her success so far, don't count here out.