Ruff day at Rim Rock as BHS’s runners take on the ‘big dogs’
As the horizon was defined by the sun on Saturday morning just north of Lawrence, the Baldwin High School boys cross country team met the sight of rolling hills. They took in deep breaths as they started toward the course, ready to face the challenge.
The team finished 21st out of 54 full school teams. There were more than 2,200 athletes present at the annual and prestigious Rim Rock Invitational. Head coach Mike Spielman said the Bulldogs choose to run against the Class 5-6A teams in the big school division rather than the small school division for the added competition. If the Bulldogs had run in the small school division, they would have finished first.
"There were 150 schools being represented at the race," said junior Matt Noonan. "It jumped up in size a lot. We finished 21st as a team as opposed to last year's placing of 16th, but time wise we ran better this year. So that just goes to show how much competition we had."
Noonan placed eighth at the finish line with a time of 16:21.
The 5 kilometer race was an amazing challenge to every individual runner, as it has been every year. This course is said to be among the most difficult in the nation. However, the competition took that difficulty to a completely new level.
"It was crowded both in the stands and on the course," said sophomore Eric Jorgensen. "When I ran, I was fighting for position the whole race. Down in the narrows, there was a wall of dirt that suffocated you when you ran through it."
Jorgensen placed 186th with a time of 20:45. This was his first race at Rim Rock as he was unable to compete at this meet his freshman year due to a knee injury.
"I thought we ran really well," said Spielman. "We had good pack. Our times for our top five guys were close together. Matt had a really good race."
Boys varsity individual results were: Noonan, eighth, 16:21; junior Eric Black, 92nd, 17:36; junior Glen Stansberry, 147th, 18:01; sophomore Brayton Gladhart, 223rd, 18:28; junior Corey Martinez, 301st, 19:14; freshman Jonathan Strong, 170th, 18:09; and freshman Phil Wagner, 354th, 20:34.
The team competes at Prairie View on Thursday at 4 p.m.
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