BHS girls enjoy home meet
After a 16-day layoff, the Baldwin High School girls' cross country team was back in action at home Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs placed second at the Anderson County Invitational on Sept. 4, but had their trip to Wamego canceled Sept. 13. With two more weeks of practice under their belts, they hosted the Baldwin Invitational.
"We were all really excited to run, because we hadn't raced in so long," junior Julie Hill said. "We were ready to get out there and compete again."
BHS finished third as a team with 67 points. Lawrence Free State won the girls' meet with 49 points, while Shawnee Mission East placed second with 65.
Washburn Rural was fourth (77), while Blue Valley (94) and Shawnee Mission West (128) were the final two schools to field a squad. Topeka-Hayden, Topeka West, Perry-Lecompton an Shawnee Mission South also had girls competing in the race.
"I think we ran pretty well," senior Corinna Papps said. "Two weeks ago, we didn't step it up and run that well. Today, we ran well with a couple freshmen on varsity."
Coach Mike Spielman was confident his girls' team would run well on Saturday, because of how well it had run during practice since the first meet.
"I knew we were going to run well today, because we just had some great practices," Spielman said. "The course was in good shape and the weather got a little warm, but it was a good day."
Papps led the way for the Bulldogs as she narrowly passed fellow senior Calleigh Durr during the final stretch of the 4-kilometer race. Papps placed sixth in a time of 16:08.78. Durr finished eighth, crossing the finish line in 16:10.89.
Hill was the next to cross the line for the Bulldogs. She finished in 12th place in a time of 16:25.93.
"Julie had a great race today," Spielman said. "She did a great job of competing. That's what we need to have. We need them to keep stepping in for each other. When we get them all put together, we are going to do well."
Hill was also pleased with her own performance.
"Yeah, I was really happy with my race," she said. "Last year was an off year for me, so I'm glad I could run this well this early in the year."
Rounding out the Bulldogs' varsity squad was junior Connor Twombly (19th, 16:39.40), sophomore Heather Karlin (30th, 17:00.14), freshman Elizabeth Sigvaldson (38th, 17:20.59) and freshman Abi Hartzell (52nd, 18:17.41). Hartzell fell during the second mile of the race, but stood up and continued her race.
"I thought we ran well on the girls' side," Spielman said. "It wasn't a great race for them, but it was a really good race. They did what they needed to do. Free State is one of the best teams in Kansas. We want to keep getting closer to them in the upcoming meets."
Baldwin had four girls run in the junior varsity race. Junior Misty Emery led the way with a 23rd-place finish and a time of 18:36.53. The other three runners were senior Hannah Sigvaldson (33rd, 19:09.80), freshman Carol Whaley (48th, 19:55.10) and junior JaBryanna Wellington (50th, 20:07.59).
Hill was proud of how the team competed Saturday. She also enjoyed running at the home course.
"I think we ran well as a team," Hill said. "Our top five runners were in the top 30. I think we did really well. We were just two points out of second.
"A lot of our friends were here, which makes it more exciting," she said. "A lot more people cheer you on at home so it was fun to run at home."
Baldwin will run again at home on Oct. 4 at the Community America Invitational. Shawnee Mission Northwest is the host school, but the meet will be held in Baldwin City.
"I don't want to run it twice," Papps said of the home course. "I guess it's nice to know the course better than everyone else. We do have that advantage."
Saturday Baldwin will run at the Rim Rock Classic, just north of Lawrence. The meet will begin at 8:30 a.m., but the Bulldogs won't run until 12:15 p.m.
"We're excited for Rim Rock," Hill said. "It's my favorite course. Then we are back at home again."