BHS boys hoping for nine straight titles
With another season underway, the Baldwin High School boys' cross country team is once again preparing for a monstrous campaign.
Just as in year's past, Baldwin is the team with a huge target on its back, because it is looking to defend the Class 4A state title for the ninth year in a row. The Bulldogs are the team that is every other team's goal to beat. The runners know this but it only makes them a stronger team.
Losing three of the varsity runners from last year, it will be time for new ones to step up. Coach Mike Spielman still has high expectations for the team, even with the lack of experience.
"I think we are going to have a real strong season," Spielman said. "We will not be quite as experienced, but we will get up there and do fine."
The returning varsity runners from state last year are seniors Nathan Dick, who placed 60th, Chris Elniff (third), Caj Kueffer (59th) and junior Aaron Karlin (32nd).
This year there are not as many runners out as before, but the competition level is still stiff. Senior Paul Minor is still confident that the team will do well even though there is not quite as much competition within the team as in the past. Minor is excited for the season because he has worked hard over the summer and is ready for all his work to pay off.
"I did some extensive training over the summer months which helped prepare me for this cross country season," Minor said.
Karlin already feels the pressure of defending the state championship.
"I feel some pressure," Karlin said. "You don't really sense it in school yet, but during practices I'm beginning to feel the pressure more."
Karlin's main goals are for the team and everyone on the team to improve throughout the season.
Dick is thrilled with how the season has started, but is also anxious for the running to come to an end.
"Our season is looking quite good," Dick said. "Our team is doing really well, although I'm ready to get this season over with."
For sophomore Blake Shields, he has high expectations for himself but with all his tough training, his goal should not be too hard to reach.
"I want to earn a spot in the top seven to be on the varsity squad at least once throughout the season," Shields said.
With high standards set for the boys' cross country team, it will all do what is necessary to reach its goal --- defending their state title.
The Bulldogs begin at 4 p.m. today at the Anderson County Invitational in Garnett. The freshman boys run first, followed by junior varsity girls, JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys.