Weather leads to fast times
Light rain and sub-50 degree temperatures didn't hurt the Baldwin High School cross country teams Saturday morning ... instead they helped.
There might have only been eight teams at Saturday's Community America Bank Invitational in Baldwin City, but the competition and weather combined to create fast times for the Bulldogs.
"As far as for the body, it was the best temperature, even with the light rain," coach Mike Spielman said. "The kids' bodies won't have a better day than what we had Saturday to run at their peak performance."
Junior Connor Wright said he enjoyed the weather, because it was fit for running fast.
"It was a good day," Wright said. "We all ran really fast times and it was great weather."
Several runners set new personal records at the meet Saturday. Some were minimal, while others improved more than a minute from their best time.
"All of them set new PRs and it was anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute," Spielman said. "That was really neat for them to go out and race that strong. It was cool enough that they could finish the race hard."
Both BHS teams finished third at the home meet. The competition included six Class 6A schools and one Class 4A team.
"I was really happy with both teams Saturday," Spielman said. "We got third place in both races, which was really good for us. The girls were right in the hunt to try and win it. The guys had a great race."
The BHS girls scored 86 points, behind Free State (61) and Blue Valley (72). The Bulldogs did defeat four Shawnee Mission schools along with Topeka-Hayden.
"There were some really good teams there and some tough competition," senior Heather Garcia said. "We did what we could, so we are happy with third."
The Baldwin boys also placed third with 101 points as the Bulldogs held off Shawnee Mission West and Free State, who tied with 107 points. Shawnee Mission Northwest, 13-time defending 6A state champion, won the meet with 35 points, while Shawnee Mission South (56) finished second.
"We could have dropped a few more points and caught a few more guys, but we still beat Free State and some other bigger schools," Wright said.
Garcia once again won the girls' race. She has now won seven consecutive races dating back to last fall. The only race she lost a year ago was at the Rim Rock Classic, where she finished runner-up.
On Saturday, Garcia crossed the finish line in a time of 14:30.31. She was aiming for a similar time, but wasn't sure she would hit the time after the first mile. Garcia did not set a personal record Saturday, as she set that last year at the state meet when she ran 14:05.
"It was good," Garcia said. "Coach set me on pace for 14:35 and I figured it all out. I tried to hit it, but I was really fast after the first mile, so I didn't worry about it after that. I just ran."
Garcia ran with several runners through the mile marker, before opening a wide lead during the next 800 meters. Spielman said she ran a smart race Saturday.
"She was trying to run a pretty good time," Spielman said. "She went through the mile right about where she needed to and was able to keep pushing it for a nice strong race."
The next five girls finished between 18th and 26th. The pack of Bulldogs helped lower BHS team points, but Spielman said he hopes to get the pack up higher in the standings.
"We are doing a really good job of packing up," Spielman said. "We're going to have to figure out how to move that pack up just a little bit. When we do that, we will be really strong."
The BHS boys also ran in packs Saturday. The lead pack consisted of freshman Tony Weiss, senior Aaron Karlin and Wright. The trio finished 15th, 16th and 17th, all within a span of five seconds.
The second pack ran together most of the race. Freshman Carson Barnes and junior Brad Canterbury paced each other for two-and-a-half miles before Barnes took a slight lead.
"We had a nice split between the two packs," Spielman said. "Carson ran a lot better this week. He went out a lot slower but finished really strong. That was a really neat thing for us to be strong in the middle."
Spielman said all of the varsity boys and many of the varsity girls set new personal records at the meet.
"Every kid was happy about their time and how they felt after the race," Spielman said. "There were a lot of people out there and a lot supporting us. That is neat for the kids, too."
The Bulldogs next compete at the Prairie View Invitational at 4 p.m. today in La Cygne.
"It's a change of pace," Spielman said. "These other meets, like Wamego and Rim Rock next week, have a high level of competition and big schools. This meet is a little bit more low key. This will give the kids a chance to take some pressure off themselves."
Baldwin High School
Varsity boys' results
15. Tony Weiss, 16:47.81
16. Aaron Karlin, 16:48.84
17. Connor Wright, 16:52.79
23. Carson Barnes, 17:32.80
30. Brad Canterbury, 17:58.05
47. Alex Coffey, 19:04.73
50. Blake Shields, 19:24.37
Varsity girls' results
1. Heather Garcia, 14:30.31
18. Corinna Papps, 16:00.41
21. Connor Twombly, 16:10.63
22. Heather Karlin, 16:11.61
24. Calleigh Durr, 16:12.75
26. Julie Hill, 16:16.90
44. Sarah Whaley, 17:12.91
46. Colby Heckathorne, 17:16.07
53. Misty Emery, 17:34.28
JV boys' results
37. Patrick Pinault, 19:46.13
40. Cody Kruger, 19:48.42
41. Jeremy Wilkinson, 19:51.20
43. Braden Phillips, 19:54.74
44. Andy Woods, 19:55.17
57. Tom Taylor, 20:42.15
59. Ethan Horne, 22:38.08
60. Lex Jones, 22:54.01
61. Derek Wallace, 26:18.20
62. Colby Willard, 28:49.00
JV girls' results
28. Kelly Baker, 18:22.21
55. Hannah Sigvaldson, 19:16.53
56. Courtney Harris, 19:23.26
59. Ariel Sanders, 19:50.56