Column: Senior class will be missed at BHS
This weekend will be the final high school athletic competition for several Baldwin High School seniors who comprise a very diverse and talented senior class.
This class of seniors graduated from BHS Saturday, but it has definitely left its mark on the school's history.
This class has won several state championships, while collecting numerous other league titles and school records.
Even though I have only known these seniors for a year-and-a-half, I feel like I have known many of them for many years. I have been to many sporting events during the last 18 months and seen many of these seniors represent BHS in a positive manner.
During my 18 months, I have had to speak to these seniors after wins and losses. I know no one likes to talk after a loss, even coaches, but there were several seniors that I know would talk to me in any situation.
But when the Bulldogs were successful in athletics, none of them ever talked like they were above the team. They also understood the concept of the team and everyone was needed to be successful.
There are certain moments that stand out to me as some fun times with these seniors. Most of them always loved seeing me covering their event or seeing me walk in the high school numerous times during the week.
One of the best times I have had covering BHS was this fall. Every Friday night I went to the BHS football game, home or away. I stood on the sidelines taking pictures and notes, but never once did I feel out of place.
There were always some of those seniors there to talk to me briefly or say hi before they went on the field. They loved to share their excitement with me after a big play or ask if I got their picture from the previous play.
I also enjoyed watching the cross country teams bring home two more state championships. The boys' team had a few more seniors, but both teams were a joy to be around. The same can be said for the volleyball, girls' tennis and soccer team.
Each of those teams had seniors that led the team. Katie Beall and Kristin Ferris made it to state in tennis. Kelsey Heckathorne, Charley Jo Schwartz and Annie Parr were quality volleyball players that loved the game.
The soccer team was very young and its older players were injury stricken, but it was still a fun first season.
Then I moved on to the winter season, where seniors led all three teams. The wrestling team had great success, thanks in part to seniors like Josiah Mason, Mark Jehle, Matt James and Keith Cowart.
Both basketball teams were also full of talented seniors. I know the teams fell short of their goals of making it to state, but it wasn't because of lack of leadership and drive to win.
Now we are about to wrap up the spring season. Track is the only sport still competing, as many seniors who play golf, baseball and softball have already finished their careers.
Now the end of this class comes down to two days in Wichita at a track meet. It will be the final competition for several seniors.
If these seniors really want to leave their mark, this is the biggest stage to do it on. There will be no off-season for them, so everything should be left on the track.
Seniors Amy Craig and Heckathorne have a chance to help their team in the 1,600-meter relay, which will be the final event Saturday. I expect them to have nothing left when that race finishes, because there is no reason to hold anything back.
The boys' team has seven seniors that will be competing this weekend. They are Jeremy Wright, John Brown, Aaron Hannon, Spencer Wilson, Grant Catloth, James and Cowart. They will be all over the stadium Friday and Saturday.
This team of Bulldogs has one goal in mind and that is a state championship. It's going to take a lot to do it, but it's possible with this group of seniors.
Motivation shouldn't be needed, since this is their finale and some of their other postseasons have fallen short of goals this year.
I will be down in Wichita this weekend, hoping to see these seniors compete as hard as they can, leaving everything on the track.
I will miss this group of excellent student-athletes that graduated Saturday. But before they go, I get to see them compete one more time.
Seniors, my message is short but sweet.
Go big or go home! The Bulldogs aren't going home just yet, not without one last hurrah this weekend.