Baldwin cross country runners fast at home

Baldwin cross country coach Mike Spielman gives last-second instructions to his varsity girls as they prepare for the start of Saturday's 5K at the Maple Leaf Classic at Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course. The girls, from left Hollie Hutton, Natalie Beiter, Fayth Peterson, Mackenzie Russell, Daelyn Anderson and Addie Dick, finished third in the 10-team event. Enlarge photo

October 7, 2015

There were a lot of happy Bulldog runners Saturday at the Maple Leaf Classic cross country meet.

A number, such as seniors George Letner and Addie Dick, were happy with their times as they were among the Bulldog runners who responded to the cool morning with personal best efforts over the 5K course at Baldwin City Municipal Golf Course. The runners also get to dial back the training as they finished their peak mileage runs last week.

The teams were also happy to have learned late last week that what was to be their final race of the season on their home course wouldn’t be. Baldwin High School will be the host of the regional meet Oct. 24 at their home course.

The Baldwin teams once again tested themselves against stiff competition in the 10-team meet with many of the schools carrying 5A or 6A classifications. The Baldwin boys earned a fourth-place finish behind Shawnee Mission North, Bishop Carroll and Blue Valley Southwest, while the girls were third behind Shawnee Mission North and St. James Academy.

Letner cruised to a second-place finish in the boys race with a time of 16:10.21, which was 10 seconds better than his previous best time.

“My goal is 16,” he said. “Next week, I want to hit 15:44 and get the school record. We’re at Sabetha. It’s a fast course. It’s all a good place to run.”

Freshman Jacob Bailey also shaved more than 10 seconds for his previous best time with his 17th-place finish at 17:02.86 and now has his sights set on a time under the 17 minute mark.

“Yes sir, that is the goal,” he said. “It’s been a great year. All the guys are super nice and everything has gone really well.”

Dick improved on the school record she owns for a 5K race with her finish of 19:06.29. With that time, she, too, is looking to crack the milestone barrier of 19 minutes. Finishing ahead of Dick was Molly Born of Shawnee Mission Northwest and a 4A runner. It was no ordinary 4A athlete, but two-time state champion Callie Logue of Girard, who treated Baldwin cross country fans by finishing the course with a time of 17:40.81.

“Geez, she’s amazing,” Dick said of her competitor. “She had a better time than some of the boys.”

Second across the finish line for the girls as senior Mackenzie Russell, who finished 15th. She broke the 20-minute mark for the first time with a time of 19:57.29, which was of course a personal record.

“It felt really good — I think the weather helped a lot,” she said. “I’m really excited about regionals and state. I have a really good feeling it will come out how we want it to be.”

Finishing behind Dick and Russell was freshman Natalie Beiter, who medaled with her 16th-place finish at 20:05.47. The times of other Bulldog runners were junior Daelyn Anderson, 35th at 21:03.21; senior Fayth Peterson, 40th at 21:12.98; and senior Hollie Hutton, 50th at 23:22.52.

Medaling for the boys were Bailey and sophomore Parker Wilson 18th at 17:11.89. Other Bulldog finishers were senior Nevin Dunn, 20th at 17:13.80. Senior Dakota Helm finished 31st with a time of 17:31.51, and junior Max Tuckfield was 45th with a time of 17:57.98.

“I’ve had calf problems all season — since last spring, really,” senior Helm said. He hopes his legs improve enough to compete for medals in post-season races but added he “didn’t know if that’s going to happen.”

The Bulldogs compete today at Sabetha, the hometown of coach Mike Spielman. It’s a good time, Letner said, as the teams are treated to a meal from Spielman’s relatives after the meet.

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