BHS boys’ track squad ready to begin season with home meet
If the past 12 years aren’t enough of a telltale sign, Mike Spielman will have a highly competitive boys’ track team this spring.
Although the Baldwin High School boys’ track season hasn’t begun, expectations are high, especially in certain events. The Bulldogs are almost annually good in the distance and relay races. This year doesn’t appear to be any different for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve got some kids with some state experience in the distance races, in Tony (Weiss) and Brian (Wright),” said Spielman, the BHS boys’ track coach. “They should help us and they set some really high goals for themselves.
“We have a really strong 400 group this year,” he said. “We can kind of go down to the 200 and up to the 800 with a bunch of guys. We have some kids that can run pretty good quarters, which will help with our relays.”
Junior Weiss and sophomore Wright should lead the Bulldogs in the distance races. Last year, the pair qualified for two races each at the state meet.
“I have some high expectations,” Weiss said. “I want to run faster in all my races by quite a bit, as well as improve my place at state.”
The Bulldogs are usually able to throw together 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams that medal at the state meet. Both teams from a year ago had graduating seniors, but most members return this spring.
Members of the 1,600 relay could include junior Josh Hoffman, junior Carson Barnes, sophomore Shawn Berndt and sophomore Asher Hannon. The 3,200 relay members might be Weiss, Barnes, Wright, junior Joey LaBuda and junior Kyle Garcia.
“We’re kind of young, in that we don’t have a whole lot of seniors, but a lot of those kids got state experience last year,” Spielman said. “So we’re not inexperienced. They just need to keep building on that experience and improving each day.”
The Bulldogs have only five seniors on the 31-member team. Despite the lack of upperclassmen, Spielman believes he has some younger talent that might make an impact this season.
Freshman Austin Kraus won the 100-meter hurdles in seventh grade and was the favorite to win last year, but a false start disqualified him from the finals. Now, he looks to make an impact at BHS.
“We have a high hurdler now and that’s kind of his forte,” Spielman said. “That will be neat. He will also run the 300 hurdles with Carson. Being a freshman, he will have plenty of time to improve.”
Spielman also said the Bulldogs have some young talent in the field events.
“We have about every event covered,” Spielman said. “Our throwers are young, but they had a throw-off the other day and they threw really well. We have a lot of others returning who should help us, too. I’m looking forward to seeing how all of the groups perform.”
There is almost two months until the state meet in Wichita, but the Bulldogs are ready to begin their season. They will start today at the Baldwin Invitational. It will start at 3:30 p.m. at Liston Stadium.
“I think we are all ready to compete Thursday,” Weiss said. “We have had lots of practices and are finally ready to race. It should be fun and hopefully a good start to the season.”
The steeplechase will begin at 4 p.m. with the preliminary races set to start at 4:30 p.m. The finals should begin around 6 p.m.
The Bulldogs are excited about the season, even with high expectations.
“I think the team is looking really strong and we will have a good chance to be able to compete at a high level and possibly even a state trophy,” Weiss said. “There are a few new guys that will help us a lot and everyone has been working hard and has improved since last year.”