BHS girls shine over 6A schools at home meet
Saturday was a sweet homecoming for the Baldwin High School cross country teams.
After competing against top Kansas and Missouri schools the previous weekend at the Rim Rock Classic, the Bulldogs returned home for a much-smaller meet. The three other schools that brought a full team were all Class 6A schools, but Baldwin held its own at the Community America Bank Invitational.
“I thought we had a great day,” coach Mike Spielman said. “We had lots of PRs. I thought we did a really nice job in all of the races.”
Baldwin was led by the varsity girls’ team. The Bulldogs cruised to a team victory with 32 points. Shawnee Mission Northwest (52) placed second, while Shawnee Mission West (59) and Shawnee Mission North (95) were the other two teams. Lansing and Ottawa each brought one runner Saturday.
“Team wise, the girls just packed it up,” Spielman said. “We had all seven in the top 15, which is really good against mostly 6A schools. We beat a good Shawnee Mission Northwest team that was ranked in 6A. Beating them by 20 points is really good. They didn’t have one of their runners, but I don’t know if it would have mattered because of how well we ran.”
Senior Calleigh Durr led Baldwin with a runner-up finish. Durr ran 15:55.38 to place second in the race. She was followed by junior Julie Hill, who finished fifth with a time of 16:12.25.
Rounding out the top five Bulldogs were junior Connor Twombly (seventh), sophomore Heather Karlin (ninth) and senior Corinna Papps (13th). Freshmen Elizabeth Sigvaldson (14th) and Abi Hartzell (15th) were right behind Papps to complete Baldwin’s varsity girls’ squad.
“We were excited to have all of our girls in the top 15,” Hill said. “It was a good improvement for us. The two freshmen stepped up and ran well, too. It helped to have a lot of fans there. It’s nice to see a lot more people than normal.”
The Baldwin varsity boys’ team didn’t quite have the success that the girls had, but still ran well, according to Spielman. Baldwin placed third as a team with 61 points. SMNW, the 14-time defending 6A state champion, won the meet with 34 points. SMN placed second as it scored 57.
“The boys ran well, but we still have a little bit of work to do,” Spielman said. “Our four, five and six guys didn’t have great races. They ran OK, but we still have some things to do. Last week was our highest mileage week, so some of them were more tired than others.”
BHS sophomore Carson Barnes was happy with how the team ran, but said competing against SMNW was a bit nerve-racking.
“I thought we ran well,” Barnes said. “It was fun, but tough. It’s a little intimidating to run against Shawnee Mission Northwest. We didn’t really have anything to lose, so we could just go out and run our hardest.”
Fellow sophomore Tony Weiss was Baldwin’s front-runner. He finished third in the race, running 16:20.90. The Wright brothers, senior Connor and freshman Brian, were the next two Bulldogs to finish.
C. Wright placed 10th in a time of 16:52.43 while his younger brother finished in 12th as he ran 16:53.82. B. Wright didn’t finish the Rim Rock race, so Spielman was happy to see him run well Saturday.
“He bounced back and ran OK,” Spielman said. “Connor felt really good and had a good day. Tony didn’t feel that great, but he still ran well.”
Baldwin’s other varsity boys were Barnes (18th) senior Brad Canterbury (23rd), freshman Tosh Mihesuah (27th) and sophomore Joey LaBuda (33rd).
“A lot of us ran our best times of the year,” Barnes said. “It’s a good confidence booster for us as we head into the final three meets of the year.”
Before Baldwin competes in those meets, it has one final tune-up today at the Sabetha Invitational. Sabetha is Spielman’s hometown so the team has a tradition of eating at his parent’s old farm, still owned by his family, after the meet is over.
“We’re all really excited about Sabetha,” Hill said. “We’ve been counting down the days. It’s fun to go to coach’s house and eat Mexican food. It’s just a fun time.”
Spielman is hoping the meet will be a nice change of pace for the Bulldogs.
“It’s going to be fun to go back up,” Spielman said. “It will also be some of our easier competition. Since we didn’t go to Prairie View and we added another home meet, we’ve seen all big schools all of the time. It will be nice to run against some schools our size or smaller for once.”