Bulldogs run well at Wamego Invitational
Baldwin High School's cross country teams battled many of the top Class 4A teams at Wamego Saturday and both squads finished in top four.
Along with their top team finish, many of the BHS runners improved their times from the opening meet at Garnett. Coach Mike Spielman was pleased with the results from the Wamego Invitational.
“I was really happy with the boys and girls,” coach Mike Spielman said. “I thought we had some really good performances from both teams. The weather was a lot nicer compared to the first meet. We had a lot of people take a minute or more off of their time, which is really good to see.”
The BHS girls won their second meet of the season. The Bulldogs scored 67 team points to win. Concordia finished runner-up with 96, while De Soto placed third with 98.
“They call it the Wamego Invitational, but they ought to call it the pre-state meet,” Spielman said. “Anybody that wants to do well at state shows up out there. It's a great chance to get the feel for the state meet with lots of runners on the state course.”
On the boys' side, Baldwin finished fourth in a close race. Wamego easily won the boys' title with 64 points. De Soto (88), Hugoton (95) and Baldwin (100) followed the home team in the team standings.
“Wamego is really tough for anyone to beat,” Spielman said. “They are the best team in the state. After that, it will be close between several teams. We were 12 points from second, so I”m happy how we got in there and competed. I think we have lots of room to improve We are going to keep getting better and better.”
All seven BHS girls finished in the top 31. Sophomore Katie Jones led the team with a seventh-place finish. Jones finished the four-kilometer course in a time of 16:43.81, which was 38 seconds faster than the first meet and on a more challenging course.
Following Jones was junior Sienna Durr (10), senior Carol Whaley (13), junior Kaitlyn Barnes (16), senior Abi Hartzell (26), sophomore Hannah Hutton (29) and junior Elena Watson (31).
“We're doing a really good job of packing up,” Spielman said. “Now all we have to do is take that pack and move it further up. They are all finishing feeling really good right now, so we'll keep improving each time.”
Durr and Hutton each improved their time from the Anderson County Invitational by more than a minute. All seven BHS runners ran faster times Saturday than they did the previous week.
“We are going to have some who feel better than others each week,” Spielman said. “That's the good thing about the girls team is that we have so many up there that they can change places and we don't lose anything.”
Sophomore Ethan Hartzell once again led the boys' squad. He finished runner-up to De Soto's Angel Vasquez, who won the 5-kilometer race in a time of 16:46.52. Hartzell ran 17:00.11, which was 51 seconds faster than the opening meet.
Senior Brian Wright finished fifth in a time of 17:22.19, nearly a minute-and-a-half better than the Garnett meet. Fellow senior Tosh Mihesuah was Baldwin's third runner. Mihesuah placed 10th and ran 17:41.09, which was 20 seconds faster than the first meet.
“Brian had a nice race and improved from the first meet,” Spielman said. “Ethan and Tosh ran well, too. Having Joe helped quite a bit this week.”
Freshman Joe Pierce made his BHS debut. He was the Bulldogs fourth runner and he placed 28th in the 120-person race. Sophomore Tucker Clark (60), junior Colton Horne (77) and freshman Brock Randels (117) rounded out the varsity.
“For his first race, he ran unbelievable,” Spielman said of Pierce. “To finish in the top 30 is really good. He did a great job of moving up as the race went along.”
Baldwin's junior varsity girls won the team standings with 17 points. Sophomore Libby Verhaeghe won the race in a time of 17:30.42. Baldwin placed six girls in the top nine runners of the race.
The Bulldogs will host a home meet Saturday at the Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course. The meet will begin at 9 a.m. with the C-team races. The varsity teams will run at 10 and 10:30 a.m. with the girls running first. The JV teams will follow at 11 and 11:30 a.m.
“We're hoping for nice weather,” Spielman said. “Our course is a pretty fast course, so if we get nice weather, it could be fast on Saturday.”
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