Bulldogs survive busy week
Whether they were competing in Eudora, Lawrence or Spring Hill, every member of the Baldwin High School track teams had a chance to shine during the past week.
In a matter of five days, the Bulldogs participated in three meets, including the prestigious Kansas Relays. The BHS coaches enjoyed giving every team member a chance to compete.
"We've been getting off the yellow bus and on to the track," BHS girls' coach Ted Zuzzio said. "That's where we want to be. We are enjoying the opportunities to compete and the weather has been nicer. The competition has been good and I'm proud of how our kids have been competing."
The week began at Eudora last Thursday with the Cardinal Relays. Nearly everyone participated at the meet, except a few who competed the following day in Lawrence.
The girls' team finished second in the team standings, while the boys placed sixth. Boys' coach Mike Spielman was proud of his team, which was missing four distance runners that were resting up for the Kansas Relays.
"I thought we did a really nice job," Spielman said. "We took a few people to KU, so that gave people a chance to step up and fill in at Eudora. They did a really nice job. We had a nice night at Eudora, so they were able to run fast."
The only member of the girls' team that didn't compete was junior Heather Garcia, who was scheduled to run in three races during the weekend. The rest of the team impressed Zuzzio.
"We had some kids get some personal bests over there on the track and in the field," Zuzzio said. "That was exciting. The weather was nice and we did well."
Both BHS teams won several events at the meet. Senior Amanda Vander Tuig won the high jump, junior Courtney Harris won the 400-meter dash and sophomore Corinna Papps won the 300-meter hurdles.
The BHS girls' team also won several relays, including the 3,200-meter, 1,600-meter and the 400-meter throwers relay.
On the boys' side, senior Blake Wieden won the long jump with a leap of 19-feet, 5 inches.
A few runners were able to practice Thursday in anticipation of running at the Kansas Relays over the weekend. The boys' team sent three relay teams to compete at the meet.
The 1,600-, 3,200- and 6,400-meter relay teams ran in Lawrence. The 1,600 relay placed 32nd out of 45 teams with a time of 3:35.91. The result from the 3,200 relay was much the same, as it finished 28th out of 36 and ran 8:41.25.
On Friday morning, the 6,400 relay placed in the middle of the pack. The relay finished 15th of 30 teams with a time 19:40.14.
"We had some guys run right at their PRs," Spielman said of the Kansas Relays. "I thought we had a bunch of kids do a really nice job of getting in there and competing. We were always in the races."
For the BHS girls, only senior Kelsey Verhaeghe and Garcia competed at the prestigious meet. Verhaeghe ran the 800-meter run on Friday evening. She placed 18th out of 32 runners and finished in a time of 2:24.11.
Garcia was scheduled to run the 800 also, but never started the race. Late Friday morning, Garcia collapsed while running the 3,200-meter run.
After six of the eight laps, Garcia was in second place until she stepped off the track and fell to the ground. She was immediately attended to and within a few minutes, she was up walking around again.
"Before the race I didn't feel any different than I would for any other race," Garcia said. "I was a little nervous, but it's the KU Relays. During the race, I felt a little dizzy and then I don't remember much else."
She rested for the remainder of the day and opted out of the 800, but she wasn't going to be done for the weekend. On Saturday, Garcia ran the 1,600-meter run. She finished fifth in a time of 5:08.60 after running what Spielman called a "conservative race." Her school record in the race is 5:03.
"It was nice to run that race," Garcia said. "Coach told me to go out and have fun. I just ran my race and I had a lot left with one lap to go. I was more focused on having fun than what my time or place was going to be."
Garcia then returned for another meet Monday. She traveled with the Bulldogs to the triangular meet in Spring Hill to face the Broncos and Osawatomie.
She won the 800 and 400-meter dash Monday. Other winners on the girls' side included junior Courtney Harris in the javelin, Vander Tuig in the high jump, sophomore Corinna Papps in the 300-meter hurdles, the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.
The BHS girls scored 84 points to win the meet. Osawatomie scored 68 and Spring Hill racked up 39.
"We try to get every kid in at least three events, maybe four," Zuzzio said. "Some kids got to do some different events they haven't done and wanted to try. I think they had fun."
The Baldwin boys' team won six events Monday. Sophomore Clad Kueffer won the high jump, while his older brother, senior Caj Kueffer, won the 1,600-meter run.
Other winners included senior Matt Myers (long jump), junior Beau Elder (shot put), the 400-meter relay team and the 1,600-meter relay team.
Baldwin placed second with 70 points, losing to Osawatomie (78).
"We do some different things and mix it up there for them," Spielman said. "We put some other people in relays. We did some really nice things there."
The Bulldogs will next compete at the Girard Invitational Friday. Then they will head to Wellsville for the Red Bud Relays on May 4. That will be the final meet before the Frontier League, Class 4A regional and state championships.
"We are about a month away from state," Spielman said. "We are two weeks from league and three from regionals. For a lot of kids, that will be the end of their season. We are getting there. We need to put together our best races, jumps and throws at this time."