BHS boys place fourth at league track
OTTAWA -- A fourth-place finish at the Frontier League track meet pleased Baldwin High School boys' coach Mike Spielman.
BHS scored 46 points to claim fourth place at the meet here last Thursday. Gardner won the meet with 120 points. Paola totaled 92.5 and Louisburg scored 61.5 points.
"I thought we did some nice things," Spielman said. "We knew going in that Paola and Gardner were really tough. There was a battle for third, fourth, fifth and all the way up to ninth with a lot of teams. Louisburg had a big meet and we couldn't quite catch them. We were able to hold off a few other teams that were within about 10 points of us."
Baldwin held off six other league schools that finished within nine points of the Bulldogs.
BHS senior Chris Elniff was happy with the team results from the meet.
"I was really pleased with how the team results turned out," Elniff said. "We had some big performances from a lot of individuals. A lot of people stepped up and got some key points."
The only league champion event for Baldwin was the 3,200-meter relay. The relay ran a season's best time of 8:19.94 to win the league. Team members were senior Caj Kueffer, sophomore Connor Wright, junior Aaron Karlin and Elniff.
"The victory was really nice for us," Elniff said. "We cut our time down a lot. We broke 8:20, which was a big goal of ours. Connor Wright ran a huge race. Everybody is whittling their times down and if we keep continuing to succeed at the level we are, then we'll have a good shot at state."
The other BHS relay, the 1,600-meter, finished fifth despite dropping the baton. Elniff tried to receive the baton in third place to anchor the relay, but the exchange from Wright was fumbled.
Elniff recovered to pick up the baton and finish fifth. Kueffer and junior Kyle Smith were also on the relay.
"The 4x400 didn't go as we had expected with the baton drop," Elniff said. "Pretty much everybody ran a good split. Kyle Smith was hurting a bit, but he'll be ready for this week. That's when we need to have our times down anyway."
Despite the baton drop, Spielman was still proud of both relays for competing hard.
"Our relays did well," Spielman said. "Dropping the baton in the 4x400 set us back a bit, but we were able to pick it up and get fifth. The 4x800 ran really well, because 8:19 is a good time."
Elniff and Kueffer both placed second and third, respectively, in the 800-meter dash. Elniff ran 2:01.26, while Kueffer finished in a time of 2:02.28.
"Caj and I both ran a really strong race," Elniff said. "It was nice to get two medalists at league in one race. Those were some good team points for us."
Spielman was pleased with both of them, along with the competitors in the field events.
Sophomore Clad Kueffer placed fourth in the high jump as he set a personal record of 5-feet, 10 inches. Sophomore Logan Schiller cleared 11-6 in the pole vault to finish fifth.
Senior Blake Wieden placed in both long jump and triple jump. He jumped 19-4 to place sixth in the long jump and 40-10 Â¼ to finish fifth in the triple jump.
Senior Brandon Reed also set a personal record in the shot put with a throw of 46-4 Â¼. The throw placed him seventh in the league. Rounding out the field events was senior Nick Jackson. He tossed the javelin 150-8 to finish fourth.
Other placers included Smith in the 400-meter dash. Smith ran 52.9 to finish sixth.
"We scored in all of the field events, except the discus, which I thought was great," Spielman said. "That was good for us."
The Bulldogs will next compete at the Class 4A regional meet with the chance of placing in the top four to qualify for the state meet. The meet is being held Friday at Santa Fe Trail High School.
The field events begin at 3:30 p.m. and the preliminary races start at 5 p.m. The finals will start 30 minutes after the prelims finish.
The schools that will be participating in the meet are Abilene, Andover, Andover-Central, Augusta, Baldwin, Carbondale-Santa Fe Trail, Chapman, Council Grove, Douglass, El Dorado, Eudora, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Spring Hill, Topeka-Hayden and Towanda-Circle.
"It's going to be a tough regional," Spielman said. "I think the things we are pretty strong in are the relays and the guys in the 800. The field event guys will really have to step up if they want to try and qualify. That's good, because you need to challenge them at the end of the year."