Boys defend track championship
Going into the state track meet at Wichita State University, the Baldwin High School boys knew they had a job to do. If the Bulldogs continued to work as they had all season that job would result in a repeat as the Class 4A State Champions.
By Saturday night the boys turned in their time cards to see if the work had paid off. The resume for the weekend included the following: 18 state medals; five first-place finishes; two new school records; and several other "firsts" for Baldwin High track. The completed work tallied a total of 73 points, 33 ahead of the nearest competitor.
"It went even better than expected," said coach Mike Spielman, who had predicted that team would score 69 points. "The seniors did the things they needed to do. It was a great way for them to go out."
All of the individual scoring for the Bulldogs was accomplished by seniors. Eric Brown and Hugh Murphy as well as Eric Black and Matt Noonan went one-two in the javelin and 800-meter run, respectively. Noonan also finished his career with his third straight 1,600-3,200 double win. Glen Stansberry and Hans Broers did their part to help the Bulldogs have all three relay teams place at state for the first time in school history. Finally, the pride of the purple on Saturday was Tyler Inzer who anchored the 400-meter relay team to its first ever state championship and a new school record.
"Inzer had a great leg to close in on everybody in the 4x100," said Spielman. "He gave it everything he had, including a fall at the finish to just clip the second place team."
Black and Noonan became the first track athletes to each bring home four state medals. Black was the relay extraordinaire at Cessna Stadium as he held the baton three times on Saturday as well as running to a new school record in the 800 of 1:56.89.
"Five of my six races couldn't have gone much better," said Black. "I was really tired up on the awards stand, but I was happy because we had accomplished what we wanted."
Noonan's medals came from the aforementioned 800, 1,600 and 3,200, as well as in the 1,600 relay team.
"I was glad to do what was expected of me," said Noonan. "A lot of different things can happen at state and going in as a heavy favorite both individually and as a team doesn't make things any easier."
After the season was completed and the team sat down to enjoy its annual BETO Junction meal on the way home, the only thing left to do was to put 2002 under track on the state championship board and begin the major facelift on the BHS track record board.
New plates will need to be made for individual events in the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and the "international" javelin (the javelin was changed this year to match the college and Olympic javelin). The local engraver will also carve out new names for the 400, 3,200, distance medley and four-by-mile relay teams.
Spielman also gave credit to Hugh Murphy who just missed all three throwing records.
"Hugh was probably one of the best all-around throwers we've ever had," he said. "The school records in the disc and shot were just barely out of reach for him."
When asked for final thoughts about their high school career, sentiments were similar among the soon-to-be BHS legends.
"I get to continue competing in college so it wasn't too sad," said Black. "There is no question I'll miss these guys, but on the awards stand I looked around and thought 'it was time.'"
"We've all got good heads on our shoulders and I think that us four that are going on have a chance to be All-Americans in college," said Noonan. "It's been a pleasure training and living with these guys and I wish them all well."