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Sports Updates

Queens and Kings of the Green: Baylor Golf Dynasty Continues 

The Baylor girls’ and boys’ golf teams once again ruled high school golf in Tennessee this fall, sweeping the team state championships and taking one individual state title at WillowBrook golf course. The Raiders also swept team and individual titles at the region  championships and won both team crowns at the City Prep Championships.

The state titles are the 19th for both teams, state records by large margins, and mark the 13th time that both girls and boys were champions in the same year. The Baylor boys were last champions in 2018, while the last girls’ title came in 2013.

“This is the first time since 2012 that we have swept the team awards, so it’s great for our boys and girls to both be back on top at the same time,” Baylor coach Gary Partrick told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Today was a great day. Our girls came out and separated early on the front nine, and I couldn’t be happier for Sheldon (McKnight) and our boys, too.”

Baylor junior and All-State performer Sheldon McKnight (above) was crowned the boys’ individual champion, leading the Raiders to a nine-stroke win over McCallie and MBA. McKnight had rounds of 72 and 70 to finish at two-under-par 142 and beat Father Ryan’s Riley Grandstaff with a five-foot par putt on the first playoff hole. Juniors Brett Cooper and region champion David Schneider Jerez tied for 10th place, senior Grant Burks finished in 25th place, and junior Haden Maxwell tied for 26th.

McKnight is the sixth Baylor golfer to win a boys’ state championship. Luke List ’03 won twice, in 2001 and 2002; Richard Spangler ’96 won in 1995; Seth Brandon ’05 in 2003; Harris English ’07 in 2005; and Blake Maum ’13 in 2012. “He wanted to be mentioned with some of the great players and individual champions that we have had,” Partrick continued with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “He really played well for two days and peaked at the right time. The wind was swirling today, and it was soggy yesterday. It wasn’t a great tournament for scoring opportunities, but he really played well.”

The Baylor girls were led by All-State senior Elvira Rastvortseva, a new boarding student from Ukraine, who fired rounds of 76 and 72 for a four-over-par total of 148 to finish in third place individually. Region champion, Matt Cunningham Preview champ, and Tennessee Tournament of Champions medalist senior Stephanie Xian finished fifth, while junior Kyndall Shamblin ended in seventh place. Baylor’s 302 team total topped Lipscomb by 17 strokes and Ensworth by 20.

Powe is State Cross Country Champ, Baylor Third at State

Baylor freshman Mae Mae Powe (above) was crowned the TSSAA D-II AA girls’ state cross country champion in November, outkicking Jessica Joshi of St. Mary’s for a 12-second victory. Powe finished in 19:02.12 to become the second Baylor girl to win a state title and the first in a decade. Hannah Jumper ’11 won back-to-back crowns in 2009 and 2010.

Sophomore Helen Webb (above) placed ninth for a third straight All-State honor as she led the Raiders to a third-place team finish, one point out of second place.

Powe also finished first in the Coleman Midgett Invitational and the Fast Break Challenge this season. The Baylor girls were runner-up at the Coleman Midgett, Fast Break Challenge, and the Front Runner Invitational.

Baylor is Runner-Up at 12th Straight State Volleyball Tourney

For the second time in three years, the Baylor volleyball team finished runner-up at the state tournament, falling to dynastic Briarcrest, who won a third straight title, in the final match. The Raiders finished the season, truncated and interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 12-6 record.

It was the 12th straight appearance at the state tournament for the Raiders, who have finished first, second, or third in all twelve. Baylor was state champion in 2014, beating Father Ryan, and in 2017, topping Briarcrest; was runner-up six times during that stretch, finishing second in 2006, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018, and now 2020; and finished third in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2019. Overall Baylor has won four state championships, seven runner-up trophies, and has finished third six times.

Seniors Emma Gray, Tess Margio, and Elaine Redman were named to the Division IIAA East All-Region team.

Campbell Paces Successful Season for Baylor Boys

Junior Xian Campbell paced the Baylor boys’ cross country team all season, finishing first at the Meet in the Middle and Front Runner Invitational, second in the McCallie Invitational and the Fast Break Challenge, and seventh at the state meet, earning AllState honors. Baylor was the team champion at the Fast Break Challenge, second at the Front Runner, and fifth at the state meet, just one
point behind fourth-place MBA.

Howard Repeats as Mr. Football Semifinalist in Raiders' Strange Season

The Baylor football season was in doubt all summer and began after a delay of at least two weeks due to pandemic restrictions, but the Red Raiders left the gate strong with three straight wins. After a few stumbles and a weather-cancellation, the Raiders faced a 14-day COVID quarantine and had to enter the state quarterfinals without a regular practice session. Baylor led MBA 10-0 at the half but could not hold the Big Red off in the second half. Baylor finished the abbreviated season with a 4-4 record.

Baylor senior Elijah Howard, who has committed to play at the University of Tennessee, was once again a semifinalist for the TSSAA’s Mr. Football award. Howard battled injuries this year but still gained just over 900 total yards and scored seven touchdowns in just seven games.

Baylor Soccer Rallies for State Quarterfinal Appearance

After COVID-19 pandemic restrictions played havoc with the early part of the schedule, the Baylor girls’ soccer team rallied late and won four games in a row before falling 4-1 to GPS in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. Baylor finished 6-7-1. In the four-game win streak, the Raiders beat Warren County 5-0, exploded on Signal Mountain for an 8-4 win, shut out Chattanooga Christian 4-0, and beat Pope John Paul II 4-1 in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Raiders had five players named to the All-Region team: junior forward Aliya Cooper, junior midfielder Zoey Mize, sophomore goalkeeper Addison Yelton, freshman defender Jada Cooper, and freshman midfielder Sophia Mize.

Baylor Swimming Is “Best of the Decade”

If a national high school swimming championship were held among independent schools based on the results of the last decade, Baylor would be first in the combined meet, second in the boys’ championship, and fourth in the girls’ title hunt.

This ranking honor is according to the September 2020 issue of Swimming World Magazine, which compiled the top high school times over the last decade (2010-2019) to create a time-based national championship heat sheet. Then, by compiling team scores, the magazine named the best teams of the decade or “mythical national high school champions.” Baylor’s combined team comes away with 180.5 points on the heat sheet, well ahead of runner-up Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Baylor coach Dan Flack is quick to point out the difference in this ranking and other, more subjective ones. “The nice thing about the sport of swimming is the times are what they are,” says Flack. “This is not a poll or opinion-based ranking; it’s scores are based on performance.”

The heat sheet features some of the biggest names in Baylor swimming from 2010-2019.

Trey Freeman ’18, one of the most accomplished swimmers in Baylor history, appears in both the 200 yard and 500 yard freestyle events. His 200 freestyle time of 1:33.06, posted during his senior year, is currently the national independent school record in the event. Sam McHugh ’14 is featured for his 4:17.76 performance in the 500 yard freestyle during the 2013-2014 season and for his place, along with Luke Kaliszak ’14, Dustin Tynes ’14, and Christian Selby ’15, on the top-ranked 200 medley relay team that holds national independent school record of 1:27.74.

Kristen Vredeveld ’13 appears in both the 50 and 100 yard freestyle events for performances during the 2011-2012 season. That same year, Vredeveld was also a part of Baylor’s 200 freestyle relay team (pictured above) that included Bria Deveaux ’12, Kimberlee John-Williams ’13, and Ashley Yearwood ’13, a team that set and still holds the national independent high school record of 1:31.18. The 200 yard medley relay team of Ellie Waldrep ’21, Jewel Gordon ’20, Addison Smith ’19, and Callie West ’21 are featured in the championship final of the event with a 1:39.91 seed time posted in 2018. Waldrep also makes an individual appearance in 100 yard backstroke for her showing in 2019.

Kral Makes Baylor Cheer History

Melanie Kral ’21 made Baylor cheer history after earning state accolades as a member of the Tennessee Cheerleading Coaches Association (TCCA) All-State Team. Kral made the initial cut from the résumé process of approximately 80 other senior cheerleaders throughout the state who were nominated by Tennessee cheer coaches. On Nov. 7, she interviewed and competed in tryouts with 40 other finalists candidates for a spot on the 16-person All State team. In addition to competing in tumbling, dance, motion technique and spirit, they were also evaluated on academic performance, honors and achievements, community service, and an essay.

Three Swimmers Named Scholastic All-Americans

USA Swimming has named three Baylor swimmers – Alex Borisov ’20, Daniel Unhuryan ’20, and Lillie Boggs ’23 – to the 2019-20 Scholastic All-America team, qualifying with a 3.5 or higher GPA and a qualifying time in any individual event. Borisov is now a freshman, swimming at Northwestern University, and Unhuryan is a freshman, swimming at Lehigh University.

Baylor Soccer Programs Receive Academic Awards

The Baylor girls’ and boys’ soccer teams were winners of the Team Academic Awards from United Soccer Coaches for 2019-20. A total of 312 teams (178 girls and 134 boys) across the country earned awards, given to teams who post an average GPA of 3.25 or higher, but only 31 schools in the U.S. earned both girls’ and boys’ team awards.

“I am really proud to work at a school that produces student-athletes,” says coach Curtis Blair, director of soccer. “This is a great honor for our soccer program and reflects the hard work of an amazing headmaster, our athletic director, and especially the Baylor faculty members who push our student-athletes academically.”

Fencers Garner All-Academic, All-American Honors

Fourteen Baylor fencers were named to the USA Fencing Absolute Fencing Gear High School All-Academic Teams for the 2019-20 school year, the most picks among the nation’s high schools.

Twelve Raiders were named to the first team and two others to the second team. USA Fencing announced the honors on Aug. 4, recognizing 764 high school fencers with a 3.4 GPA or higher; first team members boasted at least a 3.85 GPA, while athletes earning a 3.4 – 3.84 GPA were named second team.

Baylor’s first team honorees are Matthew An ’21, Creighton Arrington ’21, Catherine Campbell ’23, Alice Fang ’22, Selina Huang ’22, Maddie Kim ’22, Eva Liu ’20, Mary Ma ’20, Candice Xie ’20, Chris Yang ’23, Alexander Yu ’21, and Tina Zheng ’22. Second team honors go to Kistler Hampton ’21 and Allen Yan ’22.

In addition, three Baylor fencers were named to the USA Fencing High School All-American Team, earning a rating of E in competitions during the 2019-20 school year. For Baylor, Arrington, Hampton, and Jazmin Perkins ’22 received Honorable Mention status for the season.

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