Baldwin girls win 2nd-straight 4A track title, boys third
The Baldwin High School girls track team’s defense of its 4A state title came down to the final event Saturday of the two-day 4A state track meet.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs that was the 4x400-meter relay, an event the school has dominated the past four years. The relay team of Kyna Smith, Fayth Peterson, Carlyn Cole and Morgan Lober responded with a gold-medal effort, which clinched the school’s fourth state title in the past five years. The state meet was also retiring BHS girls coach Ted Zuzzio’s swansong at the helm of the program.
With the win, Baldwin finished with 71 team points, which was 14 points more than second-place Andale. After a late charge, Andale passed Paola as the Bulldogs’ closest challenger for the title and with a relay team in the 4x400 meters remained in contention for the championship in the last event.
The winning relay effort was the end of a golden Saturday for the Bulldog girls, which saw them win five gold medals. The relay team finished with a time of 4:04.18, well off its qualifying time of 4:00.18. That was understandable, considering the need for caution with all that was at stake and what members of the team had already accomplished Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Lober repeated as state champion in the 400 meters, a win that all but clinched the a second-straight state title for the Bulldog girls.
Lober won the 400 meters with a time of 56.82, or about 3/10ths of second off the state meet record set in 1999. The win gave the Bulldogs 61 teams points, which is 20 more than second-place Paola.
Still up for the girls in the 4x400-meter relay, an event the Bulldogs have dominated in recent years and in which they had the best time in Friday’s qualifying heats.
Three other gold-medal performances on Saturday’s second day of competition got the Bulldogs to the top of the team standings. Junior Alexia Stein became added gold medal in the shot put early Saturday afternoon to the discus title she won on Friday. Her throw of 44 feet, 3.75 inches was more than a foot better than Paola senior Kelsey Slawson’s second-place effort.
Sophomore Kelsey Kehl launched the Bulldog girls to the top of the 4A team standings with her school-record breaking performance this morning in the javelin.
Kehl won the event with a throw of 147 feet, 10 inches, more than 16 feet better than the school record she set earlier this season. She had another throw of more than 140 feet and two of 138 feet or better. The competitive Kehl needed her best effort to win gold as Haley Taylor of Chanute recorded throws of more than 146 feet in her first two tosses. Junior Jordan Hoffman also scored points for the Bulldogs with her sixth-place effort (129-10).
Late this morning, Barldwin built on their team lead with a gold-medal performance in the 4x400-meter relay.
The team of sophomores Addie Dick and Fayth Peterson and seniors Hannah Hutton and Morgan Lober won the event with a time of 9:42.38. The winning effort 41 team points at the state meet, which is 11 more than Frontier League rival Paola. The Paola team finished second in the relay race.
Lober will be back on the track at 3:51 p.m. to defend her state 400-meter title. She posted the fastest time in Friday’s qualifying heats. She will also anchor the Bulldogs’ 4x400-meter relay team, which had the best qualifying time yesterday.
The Bulldog boys have also put themselves in position to return home from Wichita with a trophy as one of the three top teams. The boys currently are in third place with 32 points, 14 less than co-leaders Andale and Winfield.
Power the boys’ second-day surge was the state title performance of the 4x800 relay team of junior Joe Pierce, senior Ethan Hartzell and sophomores George Letner and Dakota Helm. The team went into the state meet as the team to beat.
Hartzell picked up additional points for the Bulldogs with an fourth-place performance in the 1,600 meter run.
Junior Christian Gaylord earned the bronze medal in the discus with a throw of 163-01. Pierce finished fifth in the 800 to help the Bulldog cause.
The Bulldog boys have 11 points and trail first-day leader Andale by 33 points.
Kehl joins Alexia Stein as Bulldog gold medal winners. On Friday, the junior won the discus with a throw of 139-04. Kehl was fourth in the event with a throw of 121-02, and junior Jordan Hoffman also score points for the Bulldogs with her sixth-place effort (119-06).
Two Paola athletes, Kelsey Slawson and Maddy O’Brien, finished second and third in the event. The two Frontier League rivals share the early lead in the team standings with 18 points each.
Baldwin's Ethan Hartzell finished third in Friday’s 3,200-meter run at the 4A state track meet in Wichita. The senior finished with a time 9:45.41 behind two Winfield runners.
Sophomore Joel Katzer added a point to the Bulldogs’ team total with his eighth-place finish in the pole vault (12-06).
Senior Quinn Twombly accounted for the other Baldwin points with his fourth-place finish in the javelin (183-06).
A number of Bulldogs qualified today for Saturday’s final. Senior Morgan Lober had the fastest qualifying time in the 400 meters (57.33). She also ran a leg in the 4x400-meter relay team with sophomores Kyna Smith, Fayth Peterson and Carlyn Cole, which posted the best time in today’s qualifying round.
The boys 4x100-meter relay team of juniors Caden Carmack, Joel Halford, Darius Johnson and senior Tim Craig qualified for Saturday’s finals, as did the 4x400-meter relay team of Halford, Johnson, junior Joe Pierce and sophomore Dakota Helm.
Junior Maddie Ogle earned a state berth in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles but failed to qualify for Saturday’s finals at either distance.
Saturday’s competition will start with the girls’ javelin, an event that could be key to the Bulldogs’ effort to repeat as state champions. Baldwin will have three of the top-four rated throwers in the event with Kehl, Hoffman and sophomore Kylee Bremer.
Other important day two events for the girls will be the shot put, where Stein will vie for her second gold, Lober’s race for gold in the two relays. Cole will also look to add to the Bulldogs’ point total in the 100-meter dash.
The boys will look for points in the discus, where junior Christian Gaylord and Twombly will vie for medals, Junior Joe Pierce and sophomore Helm will do the same in the 800-meter run. Hartzell and Letner will compete in the 1,600 meters and senior Chad Berg in the 100-meter dash.
The Bulldogs 4x800-meter relay team is the boys 4A favorite and the 4x400 and 4x100 teams are medal contenders.