BHS boys bring home BIT championship
WELLSVILLE -- Led by six first-place finishes and runners-up, the Baldwin High School boys' track team started its season off strong as it won the Baldwin Invitational here Friday night.
The Bulldogs scored 145 points, which was enough to hold off Pittsburg (127) and crush the rest of the field which only had two of 12 teams score 50 points or more.
"I can't remember in my 16 years here us having as good of a first meet as we did the other night," coach Mike Spielman said. "Through and through, the performances were really good."
Baldwin is once again strong in the relay races, as it won two and took second in the third relay.
The 1,600-meter relay team of seniors John Brown, Aaron Hannon, Jeremy
Wright and Spencer Wilson won their race in a time of 3:32.63. The 3,200-meter relay team of senior Grant Catloth, juniors Chris Elniff and Caj Kueffer and Wilson, blew away the competition by 16 seconds in the first race of finals.
Both relays lost 2005 BHS graduated Zac Towns from their state-placing teams a year ago. Spielman was happy with the replacements this year.
"Grant Catloth did a great job and Aaron Hannon did more than fill in for us," Spielman said. "He (Hannon) ran a high 51-split, which is really good this early in the year. I thought all three relays ran really well."
The one relay that took second was the 400-meter relay, which lost by 0.08 seconds, despite some poor baton exchanges.
"We had worked on them, but we kind of tinkered with the order from last year," Spielman said. "We will be ready by the end of the year and that's when it's important. I am not worried about it at all."
The Bulldogs also scored many points in the rest of the races, as they placed in every race, except the 200-meter dash.
"On the track, we scored in every event but the 200," Spielman said. "We scored in a lot of events. That was really good for us."
Baldwin won four individual events.
Kueffer won the 800-meter run in 2:05.80, while senior Keith Cowart won the 1,600-meter run in 4:41.85. Cowart also placed second in the 3,200-meter run.
Junior Aaron Mills won the long jump with a leap of 21-1 Â¼. Mills was followed by Wright, who jumped 20-9 Â¼ for second place.
"Aaron Mills had a big jump of 21 feet already," Spielman said. "Jeremy (Wright) was up there in the high 20s. James Hightree placing in the shot and discus was good for us, too."
Senior James Hightree placed third in the discus and fifth in the shot put in his first track meet for BHS.
Hannon won the 110-meter hurdle race in 15.48, before placing second in the 300-meter hurdles.
"A couple kids really stood out as far as the few events we asked them to do," Spielman said. "Spencer Wilson ran an 800, the open 400 and then ran the 4x400 and held off Pittsburg at the end. Aaron Hannon had some good races in the hurdles and the 4x400."
Wilson finished third in the 400-meter dash in a time of 53.14. Other top finishes came from Mills and Wright, who took second and third, respectively, in the 100-meter dash. Senior Matt James placed third in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the 100 hurdles.
"I was really happy," Spielman said. "I thought we had some tremendous performances. We had people run times they were running at the end of the year last year. I am really excited about where we can head this year."
Hannon likes how the team is able to score in many events, making it a solid all-around squad.
"This track season should be full of excitement, considering we have high expectations for this year," Hannon said. "Our team has great senior leadership and also equal talent and strength between sprinters and long distance runners."
Wilson hopes the Bulldogs' success Friday will carry over to the rest of the season.
"I knew that we had a lot of talent on the team, but I was unsure of how things would play for the first meet," Wilson said. "Fortunately, we ran really well. I feel that if everyone keeps working hard, we will have a very successful season."
Baldwin's next meet is the KT Woodman Invitational on April 14 in Wichita.
Spielman said the time between meets is great for the team.
"We've got a chance now to kind of get ourselves in shape," Spielman said. "I really like the way the schedule is set up. We had a chance to do a meet, get some confidence and figure out where we are at. Now we have two weeks to really get after it and get in great shape. Once the two weeks are over, we pretty much have one or two meets a week, so we won't get a lot of practice in."