Spring sports are heating up
It's beginning to look a lot like spring around Baldwin City and that can mean only one thing -- it's time for spring sports.
Runners, jumpers, ball players, golfers, etc. have donned the practice gear of their respective sports at Baldwin High School and can be found at various locales around town. It's time to get in shape and hone the skills of whatever spring specialty is involved.
Probably heading the list is BHS's lone defending state champion, Rachel Miles. Miles, a senior, won the Class 4A 400-meter dash last year and leads the girls track squad of 34, along with four other seniors -- Leah Clay, Jamie Lawrenz, Erica Ogle and Michelle Pressgrove.
Girls coach Ted Zuzzio is counting on the seniors to spark the kind of performances needed as the Bulldogs chase their third straight Frontier League and regional titles.
"We won seven meets last year and have 10 girls returning with state competition experience and nine of them were medalists," said Zuzzio. "Rachel Miles is the returning 400-meter champion.
"We are excited about this year's team as they like to compete and we should be strong on the track," he said. "My seniors are outstanding leaders and with the sprinkle of our youth, we should be very competitive this season."
Along with those five seniors are seven juniors, 10 sophomore and 12 freshmen.
Mike Spielman has like numbers on the boys side, although they lack the same credentials that the girls have as far as last year's finishes. There are 35 boys out this year.
"We are looking forward to improving each day and being as strong as we can be at the end of the year," said Spielman.
For softball coach Ginny Honomichl, senior leadership is also a big plus, with six returning seniors with varsity experience. They are Angie Bacon, Kari Garrison, Lauren Gilges, Kalie Harris, Haydon Hubbel and Kyla Lewis. There are 20 other players out.
"Our strength and leadership will come from our six varsity experienced seniors," said Honomichl. "We have good numbers out. Right now, several freshmen are looking pretty good. It should be a fun season for both our varsity and junior varsity teams. We will be competitive.
"I think our biggest challenge will be to fill the vacated positions by graduation at second base and first base and the catcher spot with Mandi Daigh's move to Blue Valley West," she said. "I'm sure the potential is there in several of our players and I know the desire is there."
BHS baseball coach Brian Ash has 35 players out this year, with 15 that will play varsity. Ash also has six seniors out, but from there it's a matter of youth.
"We have a young team, but the younger players, especially our sophomores, had a considerable amount of time at the varsity level last year," said Ash. "Hopefully, that experience and the combination of our six seniors and three juniors will give us some depth at all positions.
"All of our players have been working very hard to improve their baseball skills," he said. "We are excited to get the season going."
Troy Webb with the tennis team and David Theis with the golf team also have good numbers out this year. Previews on those sports have already been published.