BHS boys win eighth straight title
WAMEGO -- A slow start to Saturday's race couldn't stop the Baldwin High School boys' cross country team from winning its eighth straight Class 4A State Championship here.
"With it being a little later in the day, it was warmer. We talked about getting out toward the front, but we didn't want to get out too fast," coach Mike Spielman said. "It really benefited us as we moved up in the end."
The Bulldogs kept their streak, which dates back to 1998, alive by scoring 51 points, only 12 ahead of Abilene, with 63 points.
Spielman said the Bulldogs were behind Abilene for much of the race, but passed those runners when it counted.
"We were kind of behind Abilene's packs at times, but by the end we had four guys in front of their No. 2 guy," Spielman said. "It just took us a while to get up through there."
"When I watched the race I felt pretty comfortable," Spielman said. "I got our score and we had 51 and I thought we were in pretty good shape. I talked to the Abilene coach and he said they had 63, I was surprised it was that close."
The Bulldogs were just happy to keep the streak of state titles going.
"The streak we've got going now is really rare and special," junior Chris Elniff said. "I hope to continue it next year."
Elniff led Baldwin with a third-place finish in a time of 16:38. Senior Keith Cowart was the next Bulldog to cross the finish line as he placed seventh in 16:53.
Cowart thought the team ran the way it needed to win the meet.
"We ran fairly well and good enough to take state," Cowart said. "That's all we needed."
Seniors Grant Catloth and Spencer Wilson were the other Bulldogs to medal. Catloth placed 18th while Wilson finished 20th.
Sophomore Aaron Karlin, 32nd, junior Caj Kueffer, 59th, and junior Nathan Dick, 60th, rounded out the team.
Spielman was proud of how the entire team ran, but a few runners ran great races.
"Chris Elniff had a really big race," Spielman said. "Anytime you get third in state, it's a really big race. Spencer Wilson went from never really being able to run at state to being 20th and all-state. One of the big ones was Aaron Karlin in the fifth spot."
Elniff said the entire team ran well Saturday.
"The team came together really well today," Elniff said. "Our back pack stepped it up a lot and we got some good personal records today."
The Bulldogs lose three seniors from this team for next year.
Cowart said he will miss the program next year and what it has meant to him.
"I'm going to look back n all of the years I ran at state," Cowart said. "It's sad to know I will be moving on and leaving the program and friends behind."
3. Chris Elniff, 16:38
7. Keith Cowart, 16:53
18. Grant Catloth, 17:14
20. Spencer Wilson, 17:19
32. Aaron Karlin, 17:39
59. Caj Kueffer, 18:16
60. Nathan Dick, 18:17