BHS track teams returning solid core
Through seven practices, Mike Spielman and Ted Zuzzio are excited about the upcoming Baldwin High School track season.
Although the 2009 spring sports season is in its infant stages, there is buzz around Liston Stadium about the track season. Numbers are up from a year ago and both BHS squads return most of their state qualifiers.
“I’ve been very happy with how hard everyone has been working,” BHS boys’ coach Spielman said. “I’ve seen lots of promise out there already. With the numbers we have, we are going to be able to do a lot of things. We won’t have to make the kids do three or four events, but instead they can do two events early on in the season. It will give us a chance to see where kids are at.”
The BHS boys’ team has 40 participants out this spring, which is an increase of nearly 10 from a year ago. The Bulldogs have 14 freshmen out this spring, but also a handful of newcomers to the team that should help their depth.
Last spring, the BHS boys’ team won the Class 4A 1,600-meter relay at the state meet and placed in the 3,200-meter relay. Spielman hopes for similar results this year.
“One of our strengths with our numbers is we have a lot of runners,” Spielman said. “We’ll have some other kids helping us in the field events as well. Our relays should be even stronger, because we are going to be a lot deeper in those relays. Last year, we had four kids on the relays and when they were healthy, we did pretty well. This year we have a lot more depth, so it should be competitive to be on the relays.”
One individual star for the boys’ team should be sophomore Tony Weiss. He qualified for state in the 3,200-meter run a year. This fall, he finished runner-up in the 4A cross country meet.
“He’s really looking forward to running a really good mile and two mile,” Spielman said of Weiss. “That’s going to really help us.”
The other returning state qualifiers for the boys’ teams are senior Ryan Kennedy, senior Logan Schiller and sophomore Carson Barnes.
The BHS girls’ squad might not have as many participants, but coach Zuzzio is still expecting a good season. There are 32 Bulldogs out this spring and several of them qualified for state a year ago.
“We’ve got a number of kids that have state experience back this year,” Zuzzio said. “Three girls from our two-mile relay, our two sophomore hurdlers and our sophomore medalist in the discus are back. Those are the leaders of our team right now.”
Returning state qualifiers for the girls’ squad are senior Calleigh Durr, senior Corinna Papps, junior Connor Twombly, junior JaBryanna Wellington, sophomore Ramie Burkhart and sophomore Lyndsey Lober.
Both teams have benefited from warm weather during the early season practices and both coaches have enjoyed the temperatures.
“We’ve had two rough days as far as cold weather,” Zuzzio said. “Other than that, we’ve had five actual nice days to practice. Overall, we are just gradually working our way into shape. We have great numbers. Now we are working on getting in shape, but we will eventually figure out events for kids to be successful in.”
The Bulldogs will begin their season on April 3 with the Baldwin Invitational. It will start at 3:30 p.m.
“It’s exciting that our first meet is at home,” Zuzzio said. “Right now, everybody is just trying to see what events they will be fitting into. We’re excited for the season to begin in two weeks.”
With the first meet still two weeks away, the BHS coaches are excited for more practice time before beginning the competitions.
“It’s nice not to feel so rushed after spring break,” Spielman said. “When we come back, we have a full week of practice, then we have almost a week before our first meet.”
However, the end of the season will be different. The seniors will finish their classes during the week of the Frontier League meet (May 14). The rest of the students will be done with the school year the following week, which means they will compete at regional and state after school is out.
“The kids and the coaches will have the feel of a college atmosphere, where you will go in and practice without being in school,” Spielman said. “We’ll have practice and that will be it.”