Baylor Combined and Girls’ Teams Win State Titles
Baylor won its 14th straight Tennessee Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association (TISCA) combined (girls and boys) team state championship this winter while the Baylor girls’ team returned to the state throne for the first time since 2013. The Baylor boys were third. The combined state title is the 28th for Baylor, and the girls’ crown is the 15th.
The Baylor girls were led by senior Addison Smith, who repeated as state champion in the 500 yard freestyle, breaking her own Baylor record in a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association All-American time of 4:46.11. Smith teamed up with sophomore Ellie Waldrep, junior Jewel Gordon, and sophomore Callie West to win the 200 medley relay state title, posting the fastest time in the nation for the event this season. The time set a new Baylor record and is a NISCA Automatic All-American performance.
Runner-up finishes included Smith in the 200 freestyle and Waldrep in the 100 butterfly, both All-American performances. Baylor girls also finished second in both the 200 freestyle relay (sophomore Dallas Woods, Gordon, senior Jamee Mitchum, Smith) and the 400 freestyle relay (Waldrep, Mitchum, junior Avery Wilson, West).
The Baylor boys’ team had two state champions. Senior Jack Kirby won the 100 yard backstroke in an All-American time of 48.21, and junior Alex Borisov was the 200 IM champion. Kirby was second in the 100 freestyle, and Borisov was runner-up in 100 breaststroke. The two champs combined with sophomore Aidan Sims and junior Will Tippett to claim second place in the 200 medley relay. The 200 freestyle relay of Kirby, Tippett, Chapman Varnell, and Michael Gullage also finished in second place.
Wrestling Wears Duals and Traditional State Crowns
The Baylor wrestling team, with a pin from freshman David Harper in the final bout of the championship match, beat McCallie 36-32 to take the 2019 duals state championship in February. McCallie had a 32-24 lead heading into the final two bouts, but sophomore Heath Snodgrass pinned his opponent at 195 pounds, setting up Harper’s heroics. The state championship is the tenth duals title for the Raiders and the first since 2015. The win over McCallie marked the third win over the Tornado this season. Baylor finished with an unblemished dual meet record of 19-0.
Just two weeks later, Baylor put six champs and five others on the medal stand and took the traditional state title as well. The championship is the 14th traditional crown for the Red Raiders and the first since 2011, a year that Baylor also took the duals title. Six individual champions tied a season-high for Baylor, which had six champions in 2011, 2010, and 2006 as well. This year's performance brings Baylor’s individual state champion total to 111. The 2019 champs were freshman Jackson Bond (106 pounds), junior Noah Horst (126), freshman Garrison Dendy (132), senior Andrew Pace (145), senior Mason Reiniche (170), and Harper (195). Junior Connor Duffy (182) was Baylor’s other finalist, finishing as a state runner-up, sophomores Kade Hartline (113) and Jason Motley (152) finished fourth, and eighth grader Ryan Tisdale (120) and junior Barrett Chambers (160) were fifth place finishers.
Raider Reign Continues
The Baylor girls’ tennis team won its ninth straight state championship this spring, rallying for four singles match wins to beat Hutchison 4-2 in the title match. Senior Landie McBrayer’s hard-fought 7-5, 7-5 win sealed the deal with juniors Grace Mooney and Carolyn Reid and freshman Paige Gilbert having already posted victories. The state title is the 13th for Baylor, adding to titles in 1993, 1996, 1999, 2000, and 2011-2018. Baylor finishes the season, that included a Chattanooga Rotary championship, with a 13-1 record. McBrayer also finished runner-up in the state singles tournament, falling to Maggie Cannata of Ensworth in a three-set championship match. McBrayer had defeated teammate junior Defne Bozbey in the quarterfinals and beat Ensworth’s Riley Collins in the semifinal match.
Taverne and Smith Repeat as State Doubles Champs
Senior Benji Taverne (right) and junior Hunter Smith successfully defended their 2018 state doubles championship and became the first back-to-back Baylor doubles champion in 44 years. The duo beat McCallie’s team in straight sets in the final match. The Taverne/Smith team is Baylor’s 15th state doubles champion and only the second Baylor pair to repeat the feat. Pem Guerry ’75 and Wes Cash ’75 combined for three straight state titles in 1973, 1974, and 1975. The Baylor boys’ team, the B Division champions of the DecoTurf High School Tennis Championships in March, were eliminated in the semifinal round of the state team tournament and finished the season with a 7-3 record.
Berzon Leads Baylor to Fifth Straight Softball Title
Freshman Syd Berzon was the winning pitcher and provided the game-winning RBIs to lead the Baylor softball team to a 2-1 win over GPS and a fifth straight state championship. Berzon beat GPS twice in the tournament, allowing two earned runs on 11 hits, striking out 12, and walking one in 14 innings. Baylor has now won 13 state championships, five in a row, and eight of the last nine. Head coach Kelli Smith ’95, who earned her 500th career win as head coach this season, has been a part of all 13 state titles - as a player or as head coach. The Raiders finish the 2019 season with a 42-3 record.
Baylor Retains State Baseball Crown
Baylor won five straight playoff games, beating Christian Brothers twice in a row, to earn the team's second consecutive state baseball championship. The Raiders outscored their opponents 34-7 in the state playoffs and 17-2 in the three games of the state tournament. TBCA Mr. Baseball finalist, junior Colin Ahearn, was the winning pitcher of the title game, striking out ten in six innings, while sophomore Jay Dill, junior Nick Kurtz and senior Greyson Linderman combined for two shutouts in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Sophomore Danny Corona was 6-for-9 with two doubles in the tournament. The championship is the fourth for Baylor, added to titles in 2003, 2006, and 2018. The Raiders finished the season with a 27-6 record.
Packer Repeats as 200 Meter State Champ, Holcombe Wins Pole Vault
Junior Makayla Packer (left) repeated as 200 meter champion, was second in the 100 meter dash (an event she won last season), and anchored the second place 4 x 100 relay team to lead the Baylor girls’ track and field team to a fourth place team finish at the TSSAA D-IIAA state championships. She combined with freshman Aliya Cooper, sophomore Miah Flanagan, and eighth grader Evie Culbreath in the 4 x 100 for a new school record of 48.85 seconds. The old record was 49.18, set by JuToreyia Willis ’18, Flanagan, Cheyenne Lindsey ’18, and Packer.
Senior Jack Holcombe (right) cleared 13'6" to take the state pole vault championship and help the Baylor boys’ track and field team to a sixth place finish. Senior Wiley Pippenger scored in four state meet events for the Raiders.