Baldwin boys defend league cross country title, girls second
Paced by junior George Letner, the Baldwin boys cross country team ran away with the Frontier League title, while the girls team finished second in a much more competitive race.
Letner won the individual league title with a time of 16:47.88. Four other Bulldogs finished in the top eight with junior Dakota Helm third (17:15.30), senior Joe Pierce fourth (17:22.20), junior Zach Smith seventh (17:29.12) and junior Nevin Dunn eighth (17:55.36). With their top-seven finishes, Letner, Helm, Pierce and Smith earned all-league honors.
“It was a little slow today with the hot weather,” Letner said. “We did what we wanted to do.”
Senior Joe Pierce also was satisfied with his race, although he noted he ran the 5K race about 25 seconds slower than he did two weeks earlier in the Oct. 4 home meet.
“It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be at this point in the season, but after being injured this season I have to be happy with it,” he said. “The team ran really well today.”
Showing off the strength and depth of the boys were junior Jackson Barth and freshman Parker Wilson. Both medaled with 11th- and 13th-place finishes, respectively, while displacing scoring finishers for other teams. With that dominance, the Bulldogs finished with 23 points, less than half that of second-place De Soto with 55.
The girls race featured the top-three teams in last year’s 4A state meet and those final standings were duplicated again Thursday with De Soto first, Baldwin second and Paola third. In a sign only 10 points separated the three teams. De Soto won with 41 points, Baldwin was second with 49 and Paola third with 51.
Junior Addie Dick led the Bulldog girls with a third-place finish at 16:15.31. Also earning all-league honors were senior Emma Grossner, fifth-place (16:30.93) and Mackenzie Russell, sixth-place (16:41.83). Daelynn Anderson medaled, 16th at 17:28.06, while Abby Ogle finished just out of medal contention in 22nd place.
BHS coach Mike Spielman said he was proud of the performance of both teams and thought both were rounding into shape as they headed to regionals Oct. 25 at Anderson County. The girls had made a lot of progress during the year as evidenced with its close second-place finish Thursday to top-ranked De Soto, he said.
De Soto will not be at Anderson County, which appears to shape up as a showdown between Baldwin and Paola on the girls side, Spielman said. There does not appear to be a strong challenger for the boys, he said.