Baldwin boys make big statement at last home cross country meet

Baldwin junior Mckenzie Russell nears the finish line in Saturday's Gary Gribble's Saucony Classic at the Baldwin Golf Course. The girls finished fifth in the race behind four 6A schools. The boys won the event. Enlarge photo

October 8, 2014

As Joe Pierce finished his last home cross country race for Baldwin High School, he knew he and his teammates had made a statement.

The lone senior on the boys team crossed the finish line in the Gary Gribble’s Saucony Classic ran on the Baldwin City Golf Course in eighth place, knowing two teammates had finished ahead of him and two were on his heals. Pierce realized then the Bulldogs had bested Wichita’s Bishop Carroll, last year’s 5A state champions.

In fact, the boys topped a strong field that included Shawnee Mission North, SM Northwest, SM West and Blue Valley Southwest in addition of Bishop Carroll when its top five runners finished in the top 11. The Bulldogs finished with 35 points to Bishop Carroll’s 53. Baldwin’s top-five finishers were junior George Letner (second at 16:26.49),), junior Dakota Helm (fifth at 16:35.05), Pierce (eighth at 16:57.66), junior Zach Smith (ninth at 17:00.47) and junior Nevin Dunn (11th at 17:10.86).

The large Johnson County schools did better in the eight-team girls race, claiming the top four spots. Baldwin did finish best of the four 4A teams in the meet, including league foe Paola.

“I was very pleased with both teams,” coach Mike Spielman said. “The girls beat Paola, which will be a challenger at league, regional and state. The boys winning the meet was a very big event. There are some of the top big school boys teams at this meet and to beat them is a great accomplishment.”

Pierce was pleased with his last home performance after a two-week slump.

“I’m very happy with my time,” he said. “This was much better. I run better when it’s cooler.”

The top performer for the girls was again junior Addie Dick, who finished 11th with a time of 15:58.68. The other scorers for the Bulldogs were junior Mckenzie Russell (19th at 16:13.38), senior Emily Grossner (24th at 16:37.41), sophomore Daelynm Anderson (34th at 16:58.21) and junior Fayth Peterson (38th at 17:17.43).

The Bulldogs travel today to Sabetha for a much different kind of meet than those of the past three weeks that saw Baldwin run against some of the top large schools in Kansas and in the Midlands. Spielman said the competition at Sabetha will be 4A schools or smaller.

“But Clay Center and Wamego will be there, so those are the top boys and girls teams in the state on 4A,” he said. “We still have a big challenge ahead of us.”

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