BHS girls fall to Wildcats in repeat attempt
WAMEGO -- An individual title was not enough to help the Baldwin High School girls' cross country repeat as state champions here on Saturday.
It was the second time in three years that the Bulldogs have placed second at the Class 4A meet. In 2002, 2003 and 2005, Baldwin left Wamego with a state title.
"It was kind of a let down at first," junior Madison Shoemaker said of placing second as a team. "All of the girls did their best and that's all you can ask for."
De Soto won the girls' title with 63 points, while Baldwin scored 83 to take runner up.
Coach Mike Spielman said the Wildcats ran a great race, but he was still proud of how his Bulldogs performed.
"De Soto really ran a great race," Spielman said. "We couldn't get ahead of the runners we needed to in order to beat them. It would have taken a huge race for us to beat them. I was happy with the way it turned out."
Junior Heather Garcia once again led Baldwin. She won the individual state title in a time of 14:05.25.
"To get an individual title and to run that kind of time is really neat," Spielman said. "That's one of the fastest times in the country."
Shoemaker was very happy for her friend and fellow classmate.
"That's a big accomplishment for her," Shoemaker said. "She has always wanted that and she finally got it this year."
Garcia loved the mild temperatures and calm weather Saturday.
"The weather was really nice," Garcia said. "I thought it would be a lot colder, but it felt so good running. The weather helped out a lot. It wasn't windy and it was in the morning."
Senior Kelsey Verhaeghe was the other Bulldog medalist at the meet. Verhaehge ran 15:33 to place 18th. Verhaeghe medaled all four years at state and placed as high as fifth last fall.
Shoemaker was the next Bulldog to finish as she came in at 24th. Sophomore Calleigh Durr placed 31st while freshman Julie Hill capped off the scoring runners with a 46th-place finish.
Sophomore Corinna Papps (47th) and freshman Misty Emery (62) rounded out the BHS runners.
Shoemaker was happy that the team ran fast times at the state meet.
"I thought we all ran pretty well," Shoemaker said. "We all PR'd. It was a great day to run and we all competed our best."
After the race was over, Spielman said he was pretty sure De Soto had won the race. Many of the girls were upset at not being able to repeat as champions, but that wore off.
"We got second out of 12 teams and that's really good," Shoemaker said. "It's nothing to be disappointed with."
Spielman said the initial shock wore off and the team realized that taking second at the state meet wasn't a bad thing.
"It's not a bad deal to be second in the state and I think they realized that," Spielman said. "I like the idea that they want to win it, but when it was all done they weren't that disappointed. They knew that they had run well."
The girls ran a 4-kilometer race this year, which is 800 meters longer than the previous distance of two miles. Spielman said many of the teams were affected by the change, because many of the meets adjusted their races.
"The teams that were in the top group at state were going to be there whether it was a two mile or 4K race," Spielman said. "It wasn't like any new teams came out of the woodwork because of it. I don't think it made that much difference at all."
The Bulldogs will return next year without Verhaeghe and fellow senior Amanda Vander Tuig, who battled a stress fracture in her foot all season.
"We've got a great nucleus coming back," Spielman said of the girls' team. "They've got a lot of experience returning."
The runner up this year might fuel the Bulldogs for next year. At least Shoemaker hopes it will.
"We will work just as hard in the off season," Shoemaker said. "My freshman year, we got second and it made us work that much harder to get first. Hopefully, we will do a repeat of what we did two years ago."
BHS girls' results
1. Heather Garcia, 14:05
18. Kelsey Verhaege, 15:33
24. Madison Shoemaker, 15:48
31. Calleigh Durr, 15:54
46. Julie Hill, 16:08
47. Corinna Papps, 16:08
62. Misty Emery, 16:38