BHS boys make it six straight
One state championship is good, two is better, at three a dynasty is building, but six is phenomenal.
The Baldwin High School boys cross country team accomplished the unthinkable Saturday at the Class 4A state championships at Wamego, bringing home its sixth straight, seventh overall, state title.
"It's a great feeling," coach Mike Spielman said moments after it was official. "It was a great accomplishment and great for our kids. It's every team's goal (to win) and to be that team, it's really special."
Alternate and freshman Chris Elniff was really excited.
"It really kicked butt to be on the state winning team and I look forward to keeping the tradition for the next four years," he said.
Besides winning the sixth straight title, the Baldwin boys had four All-State runners (top 20), the best in school history.
"I'm very happy. It's a great accomplishment," Spielman said. "It's the first time in school history and I'm proud of them."
Junior Zac Towns agreed.
"I'm proud of everyone of them. It takes a lot," he said.
Season leader and junior Brian Gerstner's time of 16:32.11 earned him a fifth-place and an All-State finish. A few seconds behind him was sophomore Keith Cowart running a 16:37.18. Cowart was one of the All-State runners, placing seventh. Towns placed 12th and was on the All-State team for the first time in his prep running career.
The lone senior on this championship team was Phil Wagner. In his final high school cross country race he ran an 16:53.51 and placed 15th and the last of the Bulldogs on the All-State team.
Junior Sam Hinton rounded out the team points with 35th place and 17:24.57 as his time. Sophomores Grant Catloth and Spencer Wilson went 45th and 54th, respectively, in their first-ever state performance.
"They (Catloth and Wilson) ran great," Spielman said about the first-time runners at state. "It gave them great experience and now they can keep the tradition going."
"It was totally different from any other race I've ever ran," Catloth said about his sate experience. "I wish I could've helped my team more, but it was a lot of fun."
Elniff was the alternate and very excited to be going to state even though he didn't get to run.
"It was neat to have the experience as a freshman to be going to state," he said. "It was sad to not run, but I look forward to running next year."
The Bulldogs have less then a year until practice starts next year, but a lot of the Bulldogs will start running before then in anticipation of the upcoming season and state.