WAMEGO Baldwin High senior Matt Noonan capped a stellar prep cross country career on Saturday with his third consecutive Class 4A individual state championship at Wamego Country Club.
Noonan dominated the 5-kilometer race, finishing in 15 minutes, 44.61 seconds, to help the Bulldogs claim their fourth state title in a row.
"The immediate feeling was that it was nice to get one stress off the shoulders, then I thought how much I'm going to miss it and the next thought was it hasn't sunk in yet," said Noonan, a state runner-up his freshman year and the first 4A runner to win three consecutive state titles.
Noonan's time broke his own school record and shattered his personal record by six seconds.
"This year he tried to enjoy everything about the situation and remember all the little things, instead of worrying and not being able to enjoy it," BHS coach Mike Spielman said.
The Bulldogs finished with 60 points to survive Tonganoxie, which ended with 68.
Seniors Eric Black (sixth, 16:43.39) and Glen Stansberry (12th, 17:02.42) also cracked the top 20 for Baldwin. Stansberry's time was a PR by 20 seconds.
"We knew we didn't have to do anything that special," Noonan said. "Glen Stansberry really came through for us."
Tonganoxie's top two runners Kyle Norris and Alan Davis placed eighth and 13th, respectively. Norris finished in 16:48.25 and Davis is 17:03.03.
Baldwin's cross country team has won five state titles since 1993.
"The last couple of years we've been able to take other teams' best shots and rise to the occasion," Spielman said.
Baldwin, which will graduate its top three runners, is ready to reload next fall.
"Everyone is saying Baldwin's streak is over," Spielman said. "We take that as a challenge. We've got some good younger kids coming up."
In the 4A girls race, Baldwin placed third with 107 points. Sophomore Erica Ogle (12:40.75) and junior Kayla Pringle (12:53.83) placed ninth and 19th, respectively, to lead the Bulldogs.
Ottawa sophomore Lisa Morrisey placed fifth in 12:24.19.
In the 2-1A girls meet, McLouth junior Courtney Edmonds placed fifth in 12:42.60.