Distance runners highlight BHS girls’ performances
If the first meet is any sign of the future, the Baldwin High School girls' track team will be relying heavily on its distance runners this spring.
Bulldog distance runners combined to score 66 of the 108 BHS points in the two-day weather delayed first meet. Baldwin's score of 108 fell short of Eudora's 123.5 points. BHS placed second at the Baldwin Invitational Tournament.
"I thought we did really well," senior Kelsey Verhaeghe said. "We didn't win it, but we held our own and were close to Eudora."
Junior Heather Garcia led the Bulldogs. She won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and placed seventh in the long jump. She scored 22 points by herself.
Garcia set the meet record in the 1,600 at 5:20.05. She broke her own record from last year by one second.
"I wasn't really working on times, but more strategy," Garcia said of her mile race. "My strategy was to run with my competitors and see how it played out near the end. On the last lap, I just pushed hard."
She was all alone in the 3,200 as she dominated the field and left it behind early. Garcia won the race in a time of 11:52.90.
"The two mile was all on my own, so I had to push myself," Garcia said. "It was boring, but it wasn't like I didn't try. It was kind of like a hard workout, I guess."
Verhaeghe also contributed points to the Bulldogs' second-place finish. She finished second in the 800-meter run at 2:25.30.
"I was pretty happy with my time," Verhaeghe said. "It was a good start. Hopefully, I can build off that, get faster and do really well at the end of the season."
She also ran on the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams. Both relays finished second to the Cardinals.
"We had some quality times," coach Ted Zuzzio said. "Kelsey Verhaeghe's time in the half mile and her split in the mile relay were pretty nice. Of course, Heather won the mile and two mile and then anchored the mile relay."
Verhaeghe, who usually races in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs, enjoyed the shorter races.
"It was kind of a new experience for me because I didn't have to run the mile or two mile," Verhaeghe said. "It was nice running the shorter distances. I was pretty happy with how it went. It was a good start, I guess."
Baldwin scored 21 points in the 2,000-meter steeplechase Friday. Sophomore Corinna Papps won the race in a time of 8:27.68. Accompanying her in the race were sophomore Calleigh Durr and freshman Julie Hill, who placed third and fourth, respectively.
"I'll tell you who did a good job was Papps in the steeplechase," Zuzzio said. "Our kids that ran the steeplechase did a nice job."
BHS freshman Connor Twombly and Durr scored in the 3,200 run. Twombly placed fourth (13:06.80) while Durr finished fifth (13:22.70).
"We had some underclassmen that worked hard in the distance races," Zuzzio said.
Baldwin placed three girls in the 300-meter hurdles. Papps finished third, while Hill (sixth) and junior Colby Heckathorne (eighth) also placed in the race.
Senior Amanda Vander Tuig finished fourth in the high jump with a leap of 4-10. She also ran on the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
Junior Courtney Harris and Heckathorne also placed in the javelin. Harris finished third and Heckathorne placed fifth.
"I thought we competed well for our first meet," Zuzzio said. "The weather wasn't the most pleasant with the rain and the wind. When the gun was fired, I thought everyone competed to the best of their ability and that's all you can ask for."
The meet began Friday, but was postponed until Monday because of lightning. The BHS team had mixed feelings on the two-day meet.
"The second day didn't feel like a track meet," Zuzzio said. "It felt like an elongated practice, because it was race after race really quickly."
Verhaeghe would prefer to limit the meet to only one day.
"I don't really like it," Verhaeghe said. "It kind of threw me off a bit. I did get to be fresh for the open 800 and 4x400. I would rather just get it all done with in one day."
Results from the Baldwin Invitational can be found at www.usd348.com/bhs/results/track.
Baldwin will next compete at the KT Woodman Invitational April 13 in Wichita.
"We are still figuring out personnel, because we had some kids gone on some trips," Zuzzio said. "Olivia Catloth is our best hurdler and she was in France, so that will help us some."