Baker football, BHS wrestler among top stories from past year
Although the Baldwin High School girls’ cross country state championship took the top spot for story of 2009, there were plenty of other headlines from the year.
Baker University and BHS teams won plenty of games and matches during 2009. Some even advanced deep into the postseason or brought home medals or trophies.
Here are the other top 10 stories from the past 12 months in Baldwin City. Some may agree, while others disagree. We hope readers debate what should and should not be in this list. Readers are welcome to debate on the story’s blog online at baldwincity.com.
1. Three straight winning seasons for Baker football program
After advancing to the NAIA playoffs in 2008, Mike Grossner’s team fought its way to its third consecutive winning record this fall. The Wildcats followed their 8-4 playoff year with a 7-3 season.
Baker began the fall 2-3 after losing to the conference’s top three teams, all of which were ranked in the top 15 in the country. The Wildcats rallied to finish the season with five straight wins and place fourth in the conference.
Five Wildcats were named to the first team All-Heart of America Athletic Conference. They were Richie Bryant, Clint Benge, Levi Calhoun, Andrew Patch and Colton Miller.
2. Rick Weaver announces retirement from coaching
Earlier this month, Rick Weaver, Baker University’s men’s basketball coach, announced his plans to retire from coaching at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year.
Weaver is in his 25th year as the coach of the Wildcats. He took over the program in 1985 and has won 352 games as the Wildcats’ coach, which is the most of any Baker coach.
During his tenure at Baker, he guided the Wildcats to the school’s first Heart of America Athletic Conference basketball title in 1989 and a trip to the NAIA national tournament in 1996, when the Wildcats set a school record with 25 victories. He was HAAC coach of the year three times.
3. Alan Callahan finishes career with runner-up at state wrestling
The youngest Callahan brother came one match away from completing the same task his older sibling did in 2008. One more win would have given Alan Callahan a state championship and the state record for career wins.
However, he finished his remarkable career at Baldwin High School with a second-place finish at the state meet. He also tied his brother Kevin Callahan with 171 wins. A. Callahan also placed third and sixth at the state meet as a sophomore and junior at BHS.
4. Mike McCarthy contributes second year of donation to Baker
In June, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and the Packers organization partnered to make a $100,000 donation to Baker University. This was the second year McCarthy and the Packers have made a donation to the university.
The donation to Baker University will continue to aid the football program. McCarthy, now in his fourth season as head coach of the Packers, earned a degree in business administration from Baker. He was an all-conference tight end and senior captain in 1986.
5. Gardner-Edgerton leaving Frontier League
At the end of this spring, the Frontier League’s largest school will be exiting the conference. Gardner-Edgerton, the only Class 5A school in the league, announced last year that it will join the Eastern Kansas League, which consists of the Blue Valley schools, along with Bishop Miege and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
In 2007, the Frontier League, which was13 schools for two years, shrunk to eight schools. The remaining seven schools are all Class 4A.
6. BHS boys’ cross country team ends state title streak
All streaks must come to an end and, unfortunately for the Baldwin High School boys’ cross country team, one did on Oct. 31. The Bulldogs finished fourth as a team at the Class 4A meet.
The Bulldogs’ streak of winning a state trophy ended with that finish. The last time the BHS boys’ team didn’t win a state trophy was 1995.
7. School records fall; second-place finishes at state track for BHS
Baldwin High School’s track teams finished the 2009 spring with a record-breaking state meet. The BHS girls’ team finished runner-up in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays. The 1,600 relay squad also broke the school record by running 4:03.77 and the 3,200 relay came within three seconds of the school record.
On the boys’ side, Connor Wright broke the 800-meter run record. He ran 1:56.45 to narrowly set a new record. Later that day, he helped the 1,600 relay team finish third in a tightly-contested race.
8. Baker track teams earn five All-Americans
Aaron Hannon and Ashlee Miller kicked off the Baker University track team’s postseason success in March. Hannon took third in the decathlon and Miller placed third in the heptathlon at the indoor national meet.
In the outdoor season, Baker had three more All-Americans at the national meet. Kome Okiomah placed third in the 200-meter dash, Brian Korn was fourth in the hammer throw and Chelsey Ornburn finished fourth in the women’s pole vault to round out the Wildcats’ All-Americans.
9. BJHS volleyball teams sweep league tournament
For the first time in recent years, both Baldwin Junior High School varsity volleyball teams avenged previous losses en route to sweeping the Frontier League championships in October.
The seventh grade Bulldogs defeated Ottawa 25-12 and 25-9 in the finals to win the title. The eighth graders avenged their only loss from 2008 when they beat an undefeated Pioneer Ridge in the championship. BJHS won 17-25, 25-15, 15-9 to earn the title.
10. Baker debuts wrestling program
On Nov. 7, Baker University hosted York College in a wrestling dual at Collins Center. It was the first-ever wrestling meet for the inaugural Wildcats’ squad.
Baker defeated York 30-21 in the program’s debut. Six Wildcats won their matches. Jimmy May is in his first season as the coach of the Wildcats.