Runners bring home honors
Awards continue to pile up for the Baldwin High School cross country teams. The boys became the most successful Class 4A team in history when the Bulldogs came home from Wamego Oct. 27 with their four-straight team title. The girls surprised the experts and finished third.
For those efforts and those all season long, five members of the team were named to the Lawrence Journal-World's All-Area Cross Country team Sunday. Seniors Matt Noonan, Eric Black and Glen Stansberry made the boys team, while junior Kayla Pringle and sophomore Erica Ogle were named to the second team.
"Like any award at the end of the year, it's based on you having a good year," said coach Mike Spielman, who also walked away with his fourth straight Coach of the Year award. "When you do well at state, you get a lot of awards."
And, especially for the boys, that's been going on for awhile. Noonan who won his third consecutive individual 4A title and Black have been members of the all-area team four years in a row. Ogle made the team last year as a freshman.
The four-peat wasn't lost on Black.
"That's pretty cool," Black said. "Actually, it was pretty nice. We drove up there and they fed us pizza and showed us around the new building. They took our picture for the first time, too."
The treatment wasn't lost on Ogle, either.
"It was nice to be honored like that," said Ogle. "They made a lot bigger deal about it this year. It's nice."
Another item that isn't lost is Noonan, Black and Stansberry having run on all four title teams. That's a rarity.
"All three of them have been on the team from the start with the titles," said Spielman. "Things can happen injuries and other stuff during that time. It's a pretty neat deal that they've made it all four years together."
Things have changed over that time, though. Black recalled that he would have said "you're crazy if you would have told me I'd run cross country." He also remembered he wasn't all that faithful with workouts his freshman year, taking the short cuts and walking when Spielman wasn't looking. That all changed.
"After we won state my freshman year, I said we've still got a shot. After my sophomore year, I said we've still got a shot," he said. "As the years progressed, my training has improved. It's been a fun four years, but it's over."
Stansberry agrees about the run being over. But, he is happy to have made the all-area team as a senior and knows where the credit goes.
"It's over, but I will always have those memories," said Stansberry. "It is pretty sweet to be selected. It was quite an honor. I didn't think I would make it.
"It's something I'd always wanted to do," he said of the selection. "I really couldn't have done it without coach Spielman. I think I speak for Matt and Eric when I say we couldn't have done it without him. It's an honor."