Eleven BHS boys qualify for state track, field meet
Basehor Jesse Austin, Carson Barnes, Asher Hannon and Brian Wright survived busy days here Friday as the Class 4A regional track and field meet.
The quartet also helped Baldwin High School boys’ team win the meet. The Bulldogs scored 123 points as they blew away their competition. De Soto finished as the regional runner-up with 77 points.
“We had a really good meet,” coach Mike Spielman said. “We had all of the kids step up again just like they did at league. They all did well in all of their events. We scored in a lot of events, which is good at regionals.”
While winning the meet was nice, Spielman admitted the regional meet is all about qualifying as many participants as possible for the state meet in Wichita this weekend. Baldwin will be sending 11 boys to the state meet. Eight of the Bulldogs will be participating in more than one event.
“That’s the thing we talked about for this meet,” Spielman said. “Yeah, everyone would like to win it, but you’re main job is to get qualified. We did that and almost everyone we planned on qualifying did that. We also had some that were really close because they had a good meet and almost snuck in there.”
The quartet of Austin, Barnes, Hannon and Wright combined to win five individual events. The last three also helped the Bulldogs win the 1,600-metere relay to end the meet.
Barnes, Hannon and Wright qualified for state in four events. They will each be part of two relays and two individual events.
“It was huge qualifying in four events,” Wright said. “Coach Spielman and I have talked about trying to qualify in four events at state for a while and it came true today. I’m so happy.”
Leading the way with two victories was Austin. The BHS senior won the regional shot put and discus. He threw 50 feet, 2 inches in the shot put, which narrowly beat Jacob Powell of Basehor-Linwood by 1.5 inches.
Austin came back in the discus and throws 147-11 to win. He wasn’t the only Bulldog to qualify in those events. Sophomore Dayton Valentine finished third in both events as he threw 47-7 and 142-1. Junior Jake Mindez placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 46-11.5. Mindez also finished fourth in the javelin as he threw 156-10.
“We did a great job in the throws again,” Spielman said. “They have been doing a really good job of starting us off each meet. They are going to have to do that at state this week. They will get us going again on the first day.”
Barnes earned the other state berth in the field events. He won the long jump on his second attempt in the finals. He recorded a mark of 21-3.25 and took the lead by 2.25 inches.
“Carson had a good long jump day,” Spielman said. “He won it in the finals. He’s jumping over 21 feet consistently for us.”
On the track, the Bulldogs excelled in most of their events. Wright cruised into the 1,600-meter run finish in fourth place. He ran 4:43.54 without much effort during the final 200 meters of the race.
Wright came back later and took command of the 800-meter run. He led the race from the beginning and won in a time of 1:59.86.
“I want to win the open 800 the most at state,” Wright said. “I figured I have to go out hard if I want to break the other guys and win it.”
Wright also anchored the 3,200-meter relay team, which finished fourth. He moved them up one spot during the final leg. At the end of the night, he ran on the 1,600-meter relay that won the final race.
“He had a huge night ahead of him and he did just what he needed to do,” Spielman said. “He also got to run the 800 pretty hard. His plan was to cruise the first two and run a hard 800. He was the only guy in the state to break 2:00 at the 4A regional meets.”
The 3,200 relay team, consisting of senior Tony Weiss, junior Tosh Mihesuah and freshman Ethan Hartzell, ran 8:39.49. Barnes, Hannon and Mihesuah joined Wright on the 1,600 relay. They won in a time of 3:26.45.
“My first two races were all about just qualifying,” Wright said. “In the 4x400, you have to crank it. The 4x400 is our event and we don’t want anybody to beat us.”
Earlier in the meet, Hannon won a very-tightly contested 400-meter dash. His winning time was 50.78, but the next four competitors finished within one second of him. Hannon also finished third in the 100-meter dash.
Hannon’s final race was the 400-meter relay. He anchored the BHS team that finished third in a time of 44.41. Other relay members were Barnes, freshman Chad Berg and sophomore Max Combest.
“He had a tremendous meet,” Spielman said of Hannon. “He finished third to two of the top three guys in the state of the 100. Then he won the 400 and anchored both of our sprint relays.”
Other qualifiers for the Bulldogs were Barnes in the 300-meter hurdles and Hartzell and Weiss in the 3,200-meter run. Barnes finished runner-up in the 300 hurdles, while Hartzell and Weiss placed second and fourth.
“At the end of the meet, our two-milers did a great job of running well and qualifying,” Spielman said. “Ethan ran his best race of the season and Tony is battling each race. Then our 4x400 ran another great time. It’s always nice to end the meet on a good note.”
Baldwin will try to use that momentum this weekend at the state meet at Wichita State University. Classes 4A, 5A and 6A will begin participating Friday afternoon. The majority of the finals races will be Saturday.
“I’ve spent three days studying it up,” Spielman said. “If we can make happen what I have drawn up, we are in good shape. We have a chance at a state trophy, which is exciting to be in it, but we need to go take care of business this weekend.”