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Sports Updates

Red Raiders Rule the Pool at State Championships

With championships in two events, the Baylor girls’, boys’, and combined swimming and diving teams used the squad’s depth to sweep the state championships. The combined Raider team won its 15th straight state title, the Baylor girls repeated as state champs, and the Baylor boys tied with McCallie for the crown in a meet that came down to the final relay.

With the back-to-back championship, the Baylor girls earned the program’s 15th state title in the last 30 years and defeated Harpeth Hall, the reigning Swimming World national champions of 2018 and 2019.

Junior Ellie Waldrep (above, left) led the Raiders, taking the state championship in the 100 yard butterfly, in an NISCA automatic All-American time, and leading off the state champion 200 freestyle relay team (above right), which also won in an All-American time, and included senior Jewel Gordon and juniors Lydia Bohannon and Logan Watson-Brown. Waldrep added a second place finish in the 100 backstroke and led Gordon, senior Avery Wilson, and junior Bre Belcher to a second place finish in the 200 medley relay.

Other top ten finishes by Baylor girls: freshman Lillie Boggs (third, 200 IM); Watson-Brown (third, 200 freestyle); junior Haley Rice (fifth, one-meter diving); senior Heidi Dierig (sixth, 200 IM); Gordon (sixth, 50 freestyle); Watson-Brown, Bohannon, freshman Caroline Schenck, Boggs (third, 400 free relay).

The Baylor boys secured a share of the 2020 state title for the 28th team championship for the Raiders, who have taken ten of the last 14 state crowns. The tie with McCallie was a bit of a surprise, considering the Tornado win in the annual rivalry dual meet.

Senior Alex Borisov (above) led Baylor, finishing second in the 100 backstroke and swimming on two second place relay teams - the 200 freestyle, with seniors Will Tippett and Noah Althoff and junior Aidan Sims in an All-American consideration time, and the 200 medley, with Sims and seniors Nic Brando and Daniel Unhuryan in another All-American consideration performance. Borisov added third place finishes in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke and was sixth in the 100 butterfly.

Other top ten finishes by Baylor boys: freshman Sam Flack (third, 500 freestyle); Althoff (seventh, 200 IM; 10th, 100 backstroke); sophomore Charlie Han (seventh, 500 freestyle); Sims (seventh, 200 freestyle; ninth, 100 freestyle); junior Daniel Snyder (eighth, 500 freestyle).

Wrestling Repeats State Sweep

The 2019-20 Baylor wrestling team will go down as one of the greatest in the school’s rich history of the sport, as the Red Raiders swept the duals and traditional state championships for the second straight year, bringing the total number of TSSAA state championships for Baylor wrestling teams to 26. Baylor ended the season ranked by InterMat Wrestling as one of the top 50 teams in the nation and was the only nationally ranked team in the state.

The sweep began at the state duals, where Baylor won decisively in every round, beating Battle Ground Academy 75-6 in the quarterfinals, Montgomery Bell Academy 63-7 in the semifinals, and Christian Brothers 46-22 in the championship. The duals title is the 11th for Baylor, the first coming in 2001.

Paced by six individual state champions among 13 medalists, Baylor completed the “sweep-peat” by taking a 15th traditional state crown two weeks later.

Senior Noah Horst is Baylor's sixth four-time state champion

Senior Noah Horst became Baylor’s sixth four-time state champ, beating Aidan Bowers of Christian Brothers in an 8-0 major decision for the title at 132 pounds. Horst won two titles for Beech High School before coming to Baylor and was a champ for the Raiders last year. Other Baylor four-time champions (all won while at Baylor) are Michael Murphy ’16, Ryan Parker ’16, Stuart Doster ’11, Bailey Whitaker ’08, and Jordan Leen ’04. Zach Watson ’12 is Baylor’s only five-time champion.

Senior Connor Duffy won his second state crown, adding the 182-pound title to his state championship in 2017. Duffy pinned McCallie’s Riley Looper in 3:59 for the title. Sophomore Jackson Bond took an 11-2 major decision over Tre McTorry of Brentwood Academy for the championship at 113 pounds for his second straight state title. Sophomore Garrison Dendy became a two-time champion, shutting out Sean Pitts of Father Ryan 7-0 for the 138-pound crown. David Harper, another sophomore, repeated as a statech amp, getting by Father Ryan’s Parker Petersen 5-3 in the 195-pound title bout. Yet another sophomore, Nick Corday, won his first state championship by pinning Wills Bronson of Christian Brothers for the title at 106 pounds.

Senior Barrett Chambers was a finalist at 220 pounds, finishing runner-up to Al Wooten of Christian Brothers, and freshman Omaury Alvarez was a finalist in the 160 pound class, finishing runner-up to McCallie’s James Whitworth.

Junior Kade Hartline was third at 120 pounds, freshman Micah Tisdale finished third at 126, senior Chase Radpour was third place at 145, sophomore Gunnar Garriques took third at 170, and freshman Anthony Mannella was fourth at 152.

Twelve Baylor wrestlers were named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s D-II All-State team – Alvarez, Bond, Chambers, Corday, Dendy, Duffy, Garriques, Harper, Hartline, Horst, Mannella, and Radpour.

photo by Robin Rudd, timesfreepress.com

Baylor Hoops Teams Advance to Final Four 

The Baylor girls’ and boys’ basketball teams returned to the TSSAA State Final Four this season, the second time both teams have advanced to a semifinal game in the same season.

The Baylor girls, led by Miss Basketball finalist and All-State performer junior Raegyn Conley (above), finished the season with a 24-6 record, were undefeated in region play, and enjoyed a 14-game win streak that began on Jan. 4 and lasted until the state semifinal game, which the Raiders lost to undefeated and nationally-ranked Ensworth on March 6. This was the eighth Final Four appearance for the Raiders since 1999, the fourth in the last six years, and the fifth since coach John Gibson took over the helm in 2005. Baylor was state runner-up in 2001, coached by the late Doug Moser, and in 2016 under Gibson’s direction.

The Baylor girls also won the Carpet City Classic and the Times Free Press Best of Preps tournaments this season. Conley was MVP of the Carpet City Classic and joined sophomore Cadashia Collins on the Best of Preps All-Tournament team.

photo by C.B. Schmelter, timesfreepress.com

The Baylor boys finished 16-10 with a loss to Briarcrest in the state semifinal game, the third straight Final Four appearance for the Raiders. Baylor coach Mark Price has led Baylor to the Final Four in both of his two seasons at the post. It was the eighth Final Four berth for the Baylor boys, with other semifinal appearances coming in 1987 (before D-II classification began), 1998, 2002, 2007, 2012, 2018, and 2019. The Raiders were state runner-up in 2002 and 2018, both under former coach Austin Clark.

Baylor also repeated as Times Free Press Best of Preps champion this season, beating McCallie in the title game. Junior Nick Kurtz was named MVP of the tourney and was joined by sophomore Eli Sparkman (above) and senior Gehrig Ebel on the All-Tournament team. Kurtz was also chosen for the Tennessee Sports Writers Association’s All-State team.

Pictured at the Tennessee Indoor Rowing Championships are (left to right) juniors Dana Mays, Ellie Tomisek, Caroline Chapman, and Ellis Coffelt, freshman Holly Rosser, and junior Gracie Tomisek.

Baylor Rowers Earn Nine Medals at TIRC

Members of the Baylor rowing teams earned nine medals at the Tennessee Indoor Rowing Championships (TIRC) this winter, the best indoor finishes for the Raiders since 2005.

The Baylor boys came away with five medals, including three event winners. Junior Patrick Stultz was the winner of the men’s youth lightweight race, junior Peyson Pearce won the men’s youth coxswain event, and senior Jack Anderson finished first in the men’s youth dash. Anderson also finished second in the men’s youth U19 race, and junior Chris Young was second to Anderson in the dash.

The Baylor girls added four more medals for the Raiders. Junior Ellie Tomisek was second in the women’s U17 race, junior Ellis Coffelt was second in the women’s lightweight race, freshman Holly Rosser was second in the women’s U15 event, and junior Dana Mays was third in the women’s U19 race.

Fencing Season Interrupted

The Baylor fencing teams were dominating the On Guard High School Fencing League with only the championship meet left when the season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Junior Creighton Arrington (left) and sophomore Jazmin Perkins (right) had posted perfect season records thus far. Arrington was undefeated in the men’s foil competition, and Perkins was unbeaten in women’s foil.

Baylor Girls, Three Individuals Qualify for State Bowling

The Baylor girls’ bowling team finished with a 12-5 record and were region tournament runner-up, qualifying them for the state tournament. The Raiders were eliminated with a quarterfinal loss to St. Benedict. Seniors Reed Petty and Sophie Piskos were qualifiers for the individual state tournament. Petty finished 22nd with a 127 average while Piskos was 19th with an average score of 134.

The Baylor boys finished 10-9, just missing a berth in the state tournament with a region tournament loss. Senior Dalton Chuba was an individual state qualifier and rolled games of 157, 178, 137, and 171. The tournament average of 160 was well below his qualifying average of 192.

Nelson Leaves Wrestling Post, Kendle to Take Over

Ben Nelson (left) announced in March that he would be stepping down as Baylor’s head wrestling coach and that assistant coach Rex Kendle (right) would take over the program.

Nelson joined the Baylor faculty in 2008 and was named head coach in 2010 following the retirement of the late Jim Morgan. During his ten seasons as head coach, he compiled a 190-38 record, won three traditional state championships, five duals state championships, and coached 43 individual state champions.

Kendle joined Baylor in 2010 as an assistant wrestling coach and chemistry teacher and assumed head coaching responsibilities after Nelson’s announcement. Kendle was an NCAA national qualifier while wrestling at Michigan State University and was an Academic All-American his senior year. He said of teaching chemistry and coaching: “I love science and I love wrestling, so I have the best job in the world. Being the head wrestling coach at Baylor is not a job I take lightly, and I am excited to get started.”

Powell Poised for International Power Lifting Performance

Baylor junior Jackson Powell competed in his first officially sanctioned United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) event, the Tennessee Open, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Jan. 18 and may have launched a career.

Already thought to be, unofficially, the strongest 17-year-old in the U.S., Powell removed all doubt at the competition, completing three lifts that totaled over 1,850 pounds. Starting with a squat of 832 pounds, Powell added a bench press of 380 and a dead lift of 644 pounds.

“I think Jackson put his stamp on being the strongest 17-year-old, not only in Tennessee, but in the country,” said Baylor strength and conditioning coach Dave Reynolds. Jackson and Reynolds are hoping the performance will result in an invitation to international events later this year where world records can be challenged.

Powell credits his success to “the best facilities and the best coaching staff around,” including Reynolds, Baylor strength and conditioning coaches Julian Kaufman and Brice Johnson, and Baylor athletic trainer Lori Moss. “I never really got interested in powerlifting until I came here, and now it’s turned into something I really enjoy.”

Nick Tiano ’15 Signs NFL Contract with Houston Texans

Nick Tiano ’15, a former quarterback for the Baylor football team, has signed a contract with the National Football League’s Houston Texans.

Tiano’s entrance into the NFL was anything but relaxing. Called the most underrated prospect in the 2020 NFL draft by nfldraftdiamonds.com, Tiano saw ten quarterbacks picked in three days of the draft and saw ten more sign as free agents before finally reaching an agreement with Houston.

At Baylor, Tiano led the Raiders to the state playoffs each season including a state semifinal appearance in 2014. “It is very difficult to get to the point where Nick is now, but he is a great example of hard work and a never give up attitude,” said Baylor coach Phil Massey. “Nick has always welcomed competition, so I know he’ll continue to compete, and I wish him all the best in his professional career. I am extremely excited for Nick, and it is so rewarding to see a young man fulfill his dream.”

Tiano began his college career at Mississippi State University and later transferred to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He passed for approximately 5,000 yards and 29 touchdowns over the past two seasons and rushed for more than 400 yards and nine TDs in 2019 for the Mocs. Tiano was named the Southern Conference’s Player of the Month last November and was the Most Valuable Player of the National Football League Players Association’s Collegiate Bowl played Jan. 18 in the Rose Bowl.

photo by C. B. Schmelter, timesfreepress.com

Danny Corona Selected by USA Baseball

Baylor junior Danny Corona has been identified by USA Baseball as one of the top 80 high school juniors in the United States. USA
Baseball and Major League Baseball collaborate on the Prospect Development Pipeline League, spotlighting top high school prospects.

Corona and the other 79 players chosen will be part of the league in Santa Clara, Calif., June 20 through July 8. Forty of those players will be chosen for the High School All-America game in Los Angeles during MLB All-Star week this summer.

Corona played shortstop for Baylor’s back-to-back state championship teams in 2018 and 2019 and hit .394 with 15 RBIs last season. He also pitched in spots for the Raiders with a fastball clocked at 93 mph. He was chosen, along with junior teammates Cooper Kinney and Nick Kurtz, for USA Baseball’s 16-under National Team Development Program last summer. The Raiders were the favorite to win a third straight state title this spring before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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