Baldwin High takes home first state title
Add track title town to Baldwin City. It finally happened.
The Baldwin High School boys track team mopped up the field Friday and Saturday in Wichita. The Bulldogs scored 64 points, a full 18 ahead of second-place Clay Center, to claim the Class 4A title in the State Track and Field Championship in Wichita.
"It's the first ever," said Mike Spielman, BHS head boys track coach. "We know that. That's special."
Special indeed. The state track meet has been running for 30-plus years. Never has a Baldwin High team, boys or girls, finished atop the heap. The Bulldogs have come close two second-place finishes by the girls and one by the boys but never top dogs.
And speaking of top Dawgs, Baldwin High had four of them. Actually five if Matt Noonan's double is counted twice. That's right, BHS had four state individual champions Noonan in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, Eric Black in the 800-meter run, Eric Brown in the javelin and his sister, Emily Brown, in the girls high jump.
But let's not stop there. Out of all the boys finishes, the Bulldogs finished either first or second in the medal scoring in all of their events. Noonan was second to Black in the 800. Hugh Murphy was second to Brown in the javelin. That's how track titles are won. Just ask Ted Zuzzio, BHS girls track coach, who has been involved with Baldwin track both as a competitor and coach for more years than he'd like to admit.
"It was a pretty wonderful weekend," said Zuzzio. "We had five individual state champs. That's pretty rare. What the boys did in the javelin and the 800 was a rare feat.
"It's our first state title," said Zuzzio. "It's major big."
In his typical understated fashion, Spielman realizes the double-doubles were big. But, he also admits that's what turned the tide for BHS.
"Yeh, that was 36 of our points," said Spielman. "Those two big deals kind of took care of it. All of the boys medals were first or second. The only way we could have done better was to beat ourselves. That couldn't happen. Only the relay didn't have a Baldwin kid ahead of them."
BHS's 4x800-meter relay team of Black, Glen Stansberry, Hans Broers and Jonathan Strong turned in that only non-Baldwin first-place showing when they finished second. Black did a great deal of that work, too, taking over the baton for his anchor kick with BHS in fifth place.
But it was just one of those kinds of meets. It started early with the 1-2 finish in javelin on Friday. Brown tossed the spear 215-10, the best throw in the state this year, to win it. Murphy threw a personal-best 196-0 for second.
"Our two guys in the javelin started the fireworks," said Zuzzio.
And, if you listen to Noonan, that was contagious.
"It's just kind of like a disease, it spreads," Noonan said of the javelin jump start. "I fed off everyone doing well. I told Hugh and Eric I wish I could have run Friday because I was so pumped."
That feeling didn't go away, though. Noonan and the rest of the running crew took care of business Saturday and came up with their own 1-2 finish. All of the finishes brought relief for Spielman, who knew well his Bulldogs were favored for the title.
"They went down there and did what they should have done," said Spielman. "What was really scary was we should score 64 points and we did. A lot of times with track meets, that just doesn't happen. We should have finished 1-2 in the 800 and 1-2 in the javelin, but to actually go down there and do it is pretty crazy. We won't argue it at all.
"There was a lot of pressure, but I don't think the kids felt it," he said. "But I did."
The team title means a great deal to the Bulldogs, too. That was their goal from the start of the season and to bring home the hardware is priceless.
"That probably means the most of anything," Noonan said of the team title. "It means a lot more when you can share it with friends you've had a long time."