Fall sports' predictions
After a week and a half of practicing, Baldwin High School fall sports’ teams are about to get rolling. Once the first game starts, it seems like the rest come and go so fast that the fall feels like a blur once November hits. For now, I’m going to enjoy the cooler fall-like temperatures and hope this fall is better than the 2009 version for the Bulldogs. It has the potential, but only time will tell what will happen. With the beginning of the season on the brink, I’m going to make a few predictions for the fall season. Since soccer starts Friday, let’s start with the soccer team.
Prediction — The Bulldogs will win at least twice as many games as last year.
Reasoning — A year ago, Baldwin won two games, one of which was its opening game of the regional tournament in Coffeyville. BHS should have beat Eudora twice, but blew a late lead at Eudora. Several other games also came down to one goal, most of the time in the second half. Soccer is a funny sport in that the ball can bounce weird ways during a game and goals can be hard to come by at times. With their returning scorer back and a freshman who was called a “natural scorer” by coach Mark Joslyn, the Bulldogs should improve from the 2009 season.
Prediction — The Bulldogs will reach a double-digit win total.
Reasoning — This might look like a bold prediction considering the past few seasons for the Bulldogs. Well, that and they lost three seniors from last year’s squad that won six matches. The Bulldogs return two seniors who have played varsity every year, but one is out with a knee injury for a while. Last year, the Bulldogs improved on the court and took many matches to three games or lost close matches. I believe this is the year they get over the hump and show signs of maturity and the work they put in this summer. Overcoming adversity will be key with the squad. If they can do that, success will follow.
BHS girls’ tennis
Prediction — The Bulldogs will qualify at least two players for state.
Reasoning — All six varsity players return from the 2009 squad. Kara Protasio was the lone state qualifier from the team, but both doubles’ teams came close to reaching state. Kaitlin Jorgensen has made huge strides after her freshman campaign and should have a solid season. The girls’ tennis season is short, but this should be good year for the Bulldogs. They will most likely have a tough regional, which usually includes De Soto and Topeka-Hayden, but the regional teams won’t be announced for weeks. Look for success from the tennis courts this fall.
BHS cross country
Prediction — The BHS girls will win state and the boys will get back onto the medal stand with a top-3 finish at state.
Reasoning — My prediction depends on the health of the Bulldogs. If both teams stay healthy, it could be another successful season for Mike Spielman’s banner teams. The girls’ squad has won the last three state championships and it returns its top five runners from state. Added in the mix are a handful of freshmen who logged miles this summer. They will see their usual top rival, De Soto, at the first meet Sept. 2. On the boys’ side, staying healthy will be the key. Last year, injuries and sickness doomed the Bulldogs all season. They return all seven runners from the 2009 state team and have new additions that make them even deeper in 2010. Tony Weiss will be aiming for the top to cap off his successful career. The BHS boys’ team hasn’t finished out of the top three at state in back-to-back years during Spielman’s 19-year tenure and I don’t see it happening this fall.
Prediction — The Bulldogs will have a winning season in 2010.
Reasoning — To me, the BHS football team might be the biggest unknown of the fall sports at Baldwin. The Bulldogs finished the 2009 season with two wins, Santa Fe Trail and Perry-Lecompton, against even weaker teams. They return all but a few players from that roster. Coach Mike Berg has been thrilled about their offseason and summer work ethic. They don’t play Gardner-Edgerton this fall, but they did pick up two winnable games in El Dorado and St. James Academy. An easier schedule mixed with a tougher, stronger team should result in wins this fall. They open the season with a tough game at Paola, but the contest should be a good measuring stick for the Bulldogs.
Yes, I’m predicting improved seasons for all of the fall teams, but it should be possible. Every team barely lost any seniors and most teams were down last year, so look for a brighter fall from the Bulldogs.