BHS boys steamroll league competition
PAOLA -- A purple storm blew through here Thursday evening and when the dust settled, there was only one team atop the standings.
The Baldwin High School boys' track team dominated the Frontier League meet by scoring 144.5 points and winning a medal in every running event. Gardner placed second with 96 points, with Spring Hill rounding out the top three with 94.
"I thought it was our best meet of the year," coach Mike Spielman said. "We scored in a lot of different events. Everybody has figured out we are in the championship season. We had a lot of people step up and do really well. It was by far our strongest team effort."
Spielman was shocked at how many points the Bulldogs won the meet by. He was also surprised that they were able to place someone in the top three in every race.
"We knew going in that Gardner and Spring Hill were the two teams that could have a shot at getting to us, but we just scored in so many events," Spielman said. "We got a medal in every track event and in a lot of those, we got a couple medals."
The Bulldogs also broke two school records. Junior Aaron Mills ran the 100-meter dash in 11.00 seconds, which converts to 10.8 seconds hand timed. That broke senior Jeremy Wright's hand-timed record of 10.9. Mills placed second in the race.
Wright got his revenge in the long jump. On his last jump, Mills leaped 22-6 Â¾, breaking Wright's school record of 22-6 Â½. Mills record was short lived as Wright was the next jumper and Mills knew it quickly.
"Right before I got ready to jump, John (Brown) told me to get the record back," Mills said. "I was pumped up and ran down there and got the record. Then I turned around and everybody was going nuts after Jeremy jumped."
Wright flew through the air and landed a mark of 22-8 Â¾ to grab his BHS record back. The jump also set a new Frontier League record by Â¼ inch.
"I didn't realize I had got it, but I just heard the crowd cheering," Wright said. "I had to go pretty far to beat him, but that's what I was shooting for."
Mills said he loves the competition between him and Wright, because it makes them better.
"That's how it has been all year," Mills said. "It has been pretty fun. We love to compete against each other. After one of us gets a good jump, the other tries to beat him. It's always fun."
Wright also loves competing against Mills and hopes they will keep improving as they compete against each other.
"Hopefully, we will keep improving at every meet and maybe finish first and second at state," Wright said. "The competition helps us and, hopefully, will help us improve."
After the long jump, Mills' day wasn't done. He went on to place second in the 200-meter dash in a time of 22.75.
He also anchored the 400-meter relay team that finished second with a time of 44.03. Other team members were seniors John Brown, Aaron Hannon and Wright.
"I thought Aaron Mills had a great meet," Spielman said. "He broke the school record in the 100. His automatic time converts to 10.8 hand time, which is a school record. He ran a 22.6 in the 200. He had a great meet. He ended up with four seconds out of it."
The only other victory from the Bulldogs came in the 3,200-meter relay. They ran 8:31 after substituting Brown for junior Caj Kueffer, who ran the 1,600-meter run. The relay won the race by 12 seconds.
Despite few victories, the Bulldogs did rack up many medals and points in every running event.
Senior Matt James and Hannon each placed in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Hannon placed second in both, running 15.69 and 40.15. James placed fifth in the 110 hurdles (16.35) and third in the 300 hurdles (41.22).
Hannon was leading the 300 hurdles until he stumbled on the third-to-last hurdle, nearly falling to the ground.
"They have been solid for us all year," Spielman said of Hannon and James. "If Aaron doesn't hit that hurdle, he probably runs a huge time in the 300 hurdles."
Wright finished second in the 400-meter dash in a time of 51.02. The Bulldogs also scored many points in the three distance races.
In the 800-meter run, Kueffer and senior Spencer Wilson placed third and fourth, respectively. Kueffer ran 2:01.75, with Wilson right behind him at 2:02.48.
Kueffer also finished third in the 1,600-meter run in a time of 4:40.16. Senior Keith Cowart was fourth, running 4:441.75.
The Bulldogs brought home 13 points in the 3,200-meter run. Cowart, senior Grant Catloth and junior Chris Elniff placed third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Cowart ran 10:18.80, Catloth ran 10:19.38 and Elniff finished in a time of 10:26.53.
"The distance guys were solid," Spielman. "They were in there scoring points and doing their thing."
The 1,600-meter relay team finished second to Ottawa in a close race. The relay ran 3:27.72.
BHS also scored some points in the triple jump and discus. Junior Blake Wieden placed third in the triple jump with a leap of 40-6 Â½. Wieden also finished fourth in the long jump.
Senior James Hightree was third in the discus with a throw of 131-9.
Spielman said the seniors are really leading the team this year.
"We've got a lot of kids that have been around the block and they know what's going on," Spielman said. "They are able to go out there and get their job done. That helps out a bunch."
He was very happy with how his team competed in the first of the big three meets.
"It was the first of the big three and now our goal is to get as many qualified as we can at regionals." Spielman said. "Then we will head on to state."
The Bulldogs next compete at the Class 4A regional meet Friday in Tonganoxie. The field events begin at 3:30 p.m., preliminaries at 4:30 p.m. and finals at 6 p.m.
"We just hope we get lots of people qualified and then get out to state," Spielman said.