Running the Wright way
BJHS track teams nearly sweep league meet
BJHS League Track and Field
The Baldwin Junior High School track and field teams competed at the Frontier League meet May 3 in Gardner. Three of the four BJHS teams won the team championships.
Gardner All four Baldwin Junior High School track teams ended their 2008 seasons in style here Saturday at the 14-team Frontier League Championships.
They combined to win 12 events and three team titles, while breaking two school and a trio of league records. It will go down as one of, if not, the best league meet for BJHS ever.
It might also be one of the greatest seasons in BJHS track history as 16 school records were broken this spring.
"Since I've been coaching, we've never broken that many records," said Angie Spielman, BJHS girls' head coach. "For the eighth grade boys to get all of the relay records was impressive. The seventh grade girls broke all of the relay records except the 4x400, but we just ran out of time to throw together a team to break the record."
Bench Currie, BJHS boys' head coach, was also impressed by the Bulldogs this spring.
"I think there were eight records broken on the boys' side and the girls had quite a few, too," Currie said. "Of course, Brian (Wright) is on the board 11 times with the records that he's broken, counting last year and this year. A lot of those won't get broken for a long time, because those times are unreal."
At the league meet, the seventh grade girls scored 75 points to hold off Louisburg (68.33) to win the team title. The seventh grade boys also totaled 75 points, which tied them for first place with Pioneer Ridge. It was the eighth grade boys who dominated the meet by scoring 114 points, which was good enough to beat second place by 51 points.
"The seventh graders tied for first, but we will take that," Currie said. "I think on the eighth grade side, we had a good idea that we were going to win that. On the seventh graders, we were pretty surprised. I think the kids are pretty excited. We had a lot of success."
The eighth grade girls' team was the only Bulldog squad not to win the team title. However, the Bulldogs did finish third with 70 points, just out of reach of first, which was Wheatridge at 73.
"I'm very happy," Spielman said. "The seventh graders' team goal going into this was trying to win, because we thought we had a good shot to win. A lot of them did very well for their very first big meet experience. It was a very long day.
"Our eighth grade girls were a surprise," she said. "Our goal was to be in the top five. Going into those last two relays, we were only down about seven points. We did the best that we could have done. We scored everywhere we pretty much knew we could score."
In order to have that much team success, the Bulldogs needed to have plenty of individual success and there was plenty of that to go around Saturday. The pair of Bulldogs who swept their events were seventh grader Kaitlyn Barnes and eighth grader Brian Wright.
Barnes began the day by narrowly winning the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 17:03, which was 0.04 off the league record. She went on to easily win the 800-meter and 1,600-meter runs later in the day. She set the league record in the 800 when she ran 2:29.57. Barnes also ran 5:49.63 in the 1,600.
"Kaitlyn had a huge day for us," Spielman said. "She really set the tone as far as starting the finals on the track when she won that hurdle race. That really pumped our girls up."
Wright also swept his events, two of three were the same as Barnes. He won the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 9 inches, the 800 by running 2:07.3 and the 1,600 with a time of 4:48.63. His times in the distance races were good enough to set BJHS and league records.
"It felt wonderful and it was nice to get those records," Wright said. "I felt like I could get them all. My mile turned out a lot better than I thought it would. It was nice to end my junior high career like that."
Apart from Barnes and Wright, the Bulldogs won several other events and scored in many others. Monica Howard won the seventh grade girls high jump with a mark of 4-9. She also finished second in the long jump and fourth in the 400-meter dash.
In the eighth grade girls' competition, Chloe Hay was the lone winner for BJHS. She won the 800 and 1,600 Saturday. Hay ran 2:43.53 in the 800 and 6:21.70 in the 1,600.
"That was really good," Spielman said of Hay's races. "In fact, she was our only gold-medal winner. "Monica did well in the field events. She was sitting third in the long jump, but finished second.
Austin Kraus and Caleb Gaylord were the winners on the seventh grade boys' team. Kraus won the 100 hurdles in a time of 16.29 while Gaylord won the long jump with a leap of 15-1. The final winner for the Bulldogs was Shawn Berndt in the eighth grade boys' 400. He ran 59.8 to win the race.
The full results from the meet can be found on the Signal's Web site at www.baldwincity.com.