Bulldogs sweep Wamego cross country meet
Despite missing a few runners, the Baldwin High School cross country teams swept the varsity races Saturday at the Wamego Invitational.
The BHS boys’ team was without seniors Carson Barnes, Kyle Garcia and Nate Growcock, who were taking the ACT exam. Junior Brian Wright also didn’t run on Saturday.
A quartet of Bulldogs filled their spots on the roster and helped the team win the meet and defeat many of the top teams in the state.
“We had an unbelievable day on Saturday,” coach Mike Spielman said. “The kids stepped up and ran really well. We saw some of our major competition and we ran on the state course. It’s great leaving that place with a really good feeling for both teams.”
Baldwin won the boys’ race with 73 points. Wamego finished runner-up with 87 points. Defending state champion Mulvane placed third with a score of 94.
“I think it’s been four or five years since we last won it,” Spielman said of the boys’ team. “Mulvane, Wamego and De Soto have been beating us the past few years. To beat those teams was a really good feeling for the boys.”
On the girls’ side, the Bulldogs scored 47 points to beat second-place Concordia, who scored 85. Wamego placed a distant third with 145 points.
“I’ve experienced winning twice in two weeks,” freshman Katie Jones said. “It’s a lot of fun to win. We all ran really well.”
Jones had one of the best races on the girls’ team. She moved up one roster spot from the first meet, but ran 30 seconds faster on a tougher course. She placed eighth in the 4-kilometer race.
“Katie Jones had a huge day,” Spielman said. “I think she is getting more and more confident with each race. It’s going to make us a lot stronger team as everybody keeps getting better and better.”
Jones was thrilled with her race, but wasn’t sure why she ran so much better Saturday.
“It was a pretty exciting race,” Jones said. “I thought it was going to be harder, but I felt really good during the race, so it turned out pretty good for me. I don’t know why I felt good. It must have been the weather. I didn’t feel tired at the end. I’m not sure why, but I felt better than I did at Anderson County, and Wamego is a harder course.”
Sophomores Sienna Durr and Katelyn Barnes once again were the BHS girls’ top runners at the meet. They finished fourth and sixth, respectively.
Senior Tony Weiss led the BHS boys with a fourth-place finish. Freshman Ethan Hartzell was 14 seconds behind Weiss in fifth place in his second career race at BHS. Junior Tosh Mihesuah placed 11th.
“He is just steady for us,” Spielman said of Hartzell. “That’s been the good thing about him and Tony. They’ve been steady at the front. That made the difference for us as a team. By getting those two low scores, that’s how we beat those other teams.”
It was the middle pack of runners that boosted Baldwin to victory. Seniors Brandon Baltzell (20), Joey LaBuda (35) and Ethan Horne (40) competed in their first varsity race of the season and impressed their coach.
“They really stepped up and ran great times,” Spielman said. “Brandon ran a minute faster than he ran at Anderson County and he placed in the top 20. That’s saying a lot at this meet. It was really great how those guys stepped up.”
In the junior varsity girls’ race, five Bulldogs finished in the top eight. They were junior Carol Whaley (1), freshman Libby Verhaeghe (4), sophomore Jordan Christian (6), freshman Leyena Watson (7) and sophomore Kelsey Dighans (8).
The Bulldogs will compete at home on Saturday at the Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course. The meet will start at 9 a.m. Junior varsity will run first, followed by varsity and c-team. The boys will run first in each division.
“It’s going to be exciting, because the whole community comes out and supports everyone,” Jones said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Spielman said nine teams will be competing, but it should be a talented field of runners.
“There is going to be some good competition,” he said. “Saint Thomas Aquinas is bringing their varsity teams this year. Their teams are ranked second in 5A. Shawnee Mission West girls are ranked first in 6A. Topeka-Hayden and Free State will also be there. It should be a good meet.”
Baldwin High results
Tony Weiss, 16:50.05
Ethan Hartzell, 17:04.36
Tosh Mihesuah, 17:36.84
Brandon Baltzell, 18:11.63
Joey LaBuda, 18:37.09
Ethan Horne, 18:47.52
Cory Stephens, 19:51.17
Sienna Durr, 16:17.06
Katelyn Barnes, 16:26.83
Katie Jones, 16:35.48
Hannah Hutton, 17:00.26
Elizabeth Sigvaldson, 17:01.57
Ashton Temple, 17:15.12
Abi Hartzell, 17:37.46
Tucker Clark, 20:16.71
Colton Horne, 20:30.44
Tim Larson, 20:47.9
Clay Thomas, 21:05.26
Trent Russell, 21:34.64
Acea McFarlane, 23:04.93
Carol Whaley, 17:51.35
Libby Verhaeghe, 17:57.22
Jordan Christian, 18:35.44
Leyena Watson, 18:44.08
Kelsey Dighans, 18:47.12
Brooke Randels, 20:11.61
Ari Mihesuah, 20:29.55
Ally Foye, 20:32.88