BHS girls run away with regionals, boys finish second
If Saturday's regional meet is any sign for this weekend's state meet, the Baldwin High School girls' cross country team is ready to capture gold.
After a more-than-convincing victory in Ottawa Saturday, the Bulldogs are hoping to carry momentum and confidence into this Saturday's Class 4A state race.
"It's given them quite a bit of confidence and momentum," coach Mike Spielman said. "They know if they go out and run a good race and follow their strategy that the results will follow."
A year ago, De Soto captured the 4A state title and has beaten Baldwin on many occasions this season. Baldwin hopes to avenge the defeat from last year after crushing the Wildcats last weekend.
The Bulldogs scored 22 points to win the meet as De Soto finished runner-up with 44 points.
"It was really exciting to finally beat them," junior Corinna Papps said. "Especially right before state, it boosts our confidence a lot."
Spielman said the Bulldogs adjusted to the hilly course well on Saturday, which was part of the reason for their success.
"I think our kids were a little more ready for the course and didn't make as big of a deal about it," Spielman said. "They did their race strategy. They started out nice and easy and then moved up through it. I think it helped to feel good near the end where the course got hilly."
Senior Heather Garcia once again cruised to victory as she finished the 4-kilometer course in a time of 15:47. Her nearest competitor was 44 seconds behind her.
"She just took it easy this meet and rested up to try and run a good time at state," Spielman said. "She wants to be ready to go there."
Four other Bulldogs placed in the top 10, which was good enough for a regional medal. Junior Calleigh Durr (third, 16:42), sophomore Connor Twombly (fourth, 16:44), Papps (fifth, 16:47) and freshman Heather Karlin (ninth, 17:00) all medaled at the meet.
Sophomore Julie Hill (18th, 17:38) was the other BHS finisher at the meet.
"They only medaled 10 at the meet and we had five that medaled," Spielman said. "It was a really good deal for the girls."
The BHS boys' team may not have had the same success Saturday, but their second-place finish was nothing to complain about for Bulldog fans. BHS scored 58 points as De Soto won with a team score of 40.
Baldwin even did that without its usual No. 3 runner, junior Connor Wright, dropping out of the race with an injury.
"We ran really good," senior Aaron Karlin said. "We had a strong showing from our fourth and fifth guys. Since Connor didn't finish, we needed them to step up."
Freshman Tony Weiss led the way as he won the 4A regional meet in a time of 17:40. Karlin (17:48) was close behind as he finished third.
Freshman Carson Barnes (17th, 18:59), junior Brad Canterbury (19th, 19:04), senior Alex Coffey (21st, 19:17) and junior Blake Shields (40th, 20:34) rounded out the BHS runners.
"All of the guys ran really well and we did run a good team race," Spielman said. "Tony and Aaron had huge days. To get first and third at regionals is really good. Brad and Carson had good races. Alex Coffey had a big race and he was right behind those guys. He stepped up with Carson going down."
Now both BHS teams are preparing for this Saturday's state meet. Spielman said both teams will be ready and hope to carry some momentum from regionals into state.
"The important thing is that we qualify and get some momentum going into state," Spielman said. "The girls have a lot of momentum. They ran really, really well. The guys ran well, but we just didn't have everyone finish. But, overall everyone ran really well Saturday."
He said the girls' championship battle should be between Baldwin and De Soto. The BHS girls have either placed first or second at state the last five years.
The BHS boys ended their eight-year hold on the state title a year ago when El Dorado won the championship. This year, BHS, De Soto, Wamego, El Dorado and Mulvane could win, according to Spielman.
"I think it's going to be a battle," Spielman said. "Mulvane is going to be the team everyone is chasing. There is De Soto, Wamego, El Dorado and us. There is going to be quite a few teams that will be battling. You know how state is, anything can happen. We are going to go out and run the best we can and hopefully it will be good for us."
The 4A girls' race begins at 11 a.m. with the 4A boys' race at noon. The meet is held at the Wamego Country Club.