Sports stories shine in 2000
What a year 2000 was for sports in Baldwin City. There were numerous gold medal individuals and plenty of top team finishes. There was history made with more possibilities down the road.
All in all, it was a year to remember.
It's impossible to incapsule everything that went on in a year's time, but in consultation with others a consensus was reached at least on the most notable sporting finishes of the year.
They are listed in no particular order. Each fan can judge for themselves which accomplishment topped another.
But, without fail, all who stopped to ponder the year that was agreed that the Noonan siblings recorded the most amazing year. The brother-sister combination of Matt, a junior at Baldwin High School, and Megan, a BHS senior did it all. They broke records and brought home a string of state gold medals that has never been seen before.
The gold-medal onslaught began at the State Track Meet where they won three golds Matt had two with first-place finishes in both the 3,200- and 1,600-meter runs, while Megan was the Class 4A champion in the 3,200.
They weren't through, however. In the fall, it was onto cross country and they became the first-ever siblings to win state titles in the same year. It was the second cross country championship for both. Megan won her sophomore year and again as a senior. It was back-to-back time for Matt, who won the year before as a sophomore and followed with the 4A title as a junior.
Matt's finish also played into another amazing feat as the BHS boys cross country team won its third Class 4A title in a row at Wamego. While they downplayed the idea of a three-peat going into the year, it happened.
The BHS track team also benefited from Matt's double gold at the state meet. The team finished third, which marked the first time in 20 years that a Baldwin High boys team had brought home a trophy.
Another gold medal that was won this year belonged to BHS tennis player Blake Glover, who won the Class 4A singles title in grand fashion he went undefeated. It marked the fourth state medal for Glover.
Much as the track team's third-place state finish made waves, the Baldwin High boys basketball team did the same in a mad two-week rush at the end of the season that captivated the city.
When the Bulldog boys won the 4A sub-state in Burlington, it marked the first time since 1981 that a BHS boys team had advanced to state. That was the good news. The bad news was as the No. 8 seed, the Bulldogs drew No. 1 seed Jefferson West for the tourney opener. BHS promptly pulled the upset of the year, downing West 68-57.
BHS then dropped the semi-final game to Labette County, but bounced back in the consolation finals to down Scott City 64-56 to lay claim to the third-place trophy. It was the highest-ever finish for a Bulldog boys squad.
There were a couple more third-place state finishes for BHS, too. Luke Lang took the bronze at the Class 4A State Wrestling Tournament at 189 pounds which capped a season where he set four BHS school records. The BHS girls tennis team also finished third at state behind the third-place finish of doubles tandem Suzie Weege and Holly Oakleaf.
But it wasn't all BHS sports news. Baker University got in the act as well. Topping the Wildcat list was the Baker football team's 9-2 record and thrilling 27-23 win in the KWTO Bowl just last month. They ended the year as the No. 17 ranked team in the nation.
Other top Baker stories of the year included the womens golf team qualifying for nationals in just their second season and Liesel Kirk being named an All-American for her many running feats. Kirk excelled in long distance running, both on the track and as a member of the cross country team.
Another notable team finishes showed improvements in programs. The Baldwin High football team went 5-4, marking the first time the Bulldogs put a winning record together since 1993. The BHS wrestling team did likewise, posting its first winning dual record since 1989.
But two of the biggest sports stories in Baldwin during the year 2000 didn't include gold medals or team finishes. History was made when Baldwin High fielded its first-ever girls softball team in the spring. History was also ensured when the school board granted approval for a football program at Baldwin Junior High School.
A little more history was made with the BJHS football program, too. The school board stipulated that supporters of the program would have to raise $15,000 to help fund it. That was taken care of in one fell swoop with the highly successful "Bulldog Bash" the first week in September.