BHS runners dominate at Wamego
Heading into the Wamego Invitational Saturday, Baldwin High School cross country coach Mike Spielman knew he would get a good look at how his runners will stack up this year in Class 4A.
Well, the Bulldogs stack up pretty well. The BHS boys easily won their division scoring 55 points to second-place Clearwater's 107. The BHS girls had a closer time of it, but also took first with 74 points to Clay Center's 99.
"I know we ran really well Saturday," said Spielman. I think we definitely put the X on our backs. The kids just had a great running day."
The Wamego meet draws 20-25 of the best Class 4A teams each year. Like all other aspects of cross country over the past decade, BHS has always been at the top of the pack and the last four years have won state titles on the boys' side. It appears this year's version will have a good shot at keeping that streak alive.
And, the Bulldogs are doing it a bit differently. They have a "pack mentality" and had the following finishes: Keith Cowart, sixth (17:33.34); Phil Wagner, 12th (17:47.09); Edd Stansberry, 16th (17:54.28; Jonathan Strong, 17th (17:59.13); Zac Towns, 19th (18:04.50); Sam Hinton, 27th (18:14.79); and Brian Gerstner, 49th (18:57.93).
"Our pack is so close," said Spielman. "There was only 31 seconds between our No. 1 and No. 5 runners. That's hard to beat. For a 5K race, that's not much. They really ran well."
It was similar for the girls, too. Erica Ogle led the way with a third-place showing and a time of 12:22.75. Teammates Denise Orloff (12th, 13:05.51) and Kayla Pringle (13th, 13:08.52) weren't far behind. Other finishes were: Abby Hoffmeier (26th, 13:25.98); Missy Westgate (30th, 13:28.79); Michelle Pressgrove (34th, 13:32.07); and Amy Craig (55th, 13:57.65).
"We ran well," he said. "We've got our pack running there, too. It helps too to have your No. 2 and No. 3 that close to No. 1.
"We kind of knew on the boys' side that our chances were pretty good," said Spielman. "But on the girls' side, El Dorado brought everyone back from last year and they beat us last year and it was the same with Andover. So, we were real pleased with the finish for the girls."
It won't get any easier this weekend for the Bulldogs. They'll be taking part in the University of Kansas meet at Rimrock Saturday. There will be between nine and 12 races and BHS will be in the top one.
"We're going to be in the gold race, so we're going to be running with the big dogs," he said.
That's a good time to be in a pack.