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.