Baylor Wrestling Takes Eight Straight at State
For the fourth year in a row, both duals and traditional TSSAA Division II wrestling crowns belong to Baylor.
The Baylor wrestling team won its fourth consecutive state duals championship in February, beating Christian Brothers 65-12 in the semifinal round and defeating Father Ryan 36-21 for the title. Baylor ended the dual season with a 14-1 record. The championship is the 13th duals title for the Red Raiders, the first coming in 2001.
Just two weeks later, the Raiders won a fourth consecutive traditional state championship, placing 11 wrestlers in the championship finals, four finishing as champions. All 14 wrestlers medaled. The championship is Baylor’s 17th traditional state title, the first coming in 1978. Baylor wrestlers have won 126 individual state championships.
Baylor had four individual champions including freshman Jacob Bond winning his first crown. Joining the ranks of Baylor’s most elite wrestlers were seniors Nick Corday, Garrison Dendy, and David Harper, winning their fourth state titles. Michael Murphy ’16, Ryan Parker ’16, Stuart Doster ’11, Bailey Whitaker ’08, and Jordan Leen ’04 won four state championships at Baylor, and Zach Watson ’12 is Baylor’s only five-time champion.
Other medalists were freshman Nate Askew, junior Micah Tisdale, and seniors Jackson Bond, Mason Alley, Michael Kinsey, Omaury Alvarez, and Gunnar Garriques, all finishing as runners-up, and sophomore Judson Jarrett (third place), and juniors Odin Phillips (fifth), and Dylan Crawford (fifth).
Alvarez competed in the Greco-Roman U17 World Team Trials in Las Vegas in April, finishing second in the nation and is the first alternate for the U17 World Championships in Rome, Italy this July. Askew finished third in the U15 Freestyle National Championship, also in Las Vegas in April, and will compete in the U15 World Team Trials in August.
It’s ALL Baylor...Again...at State Swimming and Diving Championships
The Baylor girls’ and boys’ swim teams, as well as the combined teams, swept the state championships in February for the third straight year.
The Baylor combined team won for the 17th consecutive year, pummeling the competition, nearly tripling the score of the nearest competitor. The championship is the 31st overall for Baylor's combined teams, the first coming in 1987.
For the Baylor girls, it was the fourth consecutive state title and the 18th overall, dating back to the first in 1990. The Raiders outdistanced runner-up GPS by 77 points for the championship. Baylor’s only event championship came in the 200 medley relay with senior Genevieve O’Neil and juniors Lillie Boggs, Madelyn Yates, and Caroline Schenck taking the title. Boggs added a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, and the 200 freestyle relay (Yates, junior Maddie Sugden, Schenck, and freshman Ellie Lydon) was also second.
The boys’ championship is Baylor’s third straight, dating back to a tie with McCallie in 2020, and is the 30th overall state title, going back to 1968. Baylor had state champions in three individual events and one relay. Sophomore Drew Hitchcock took first in the 200 individual medley and added a runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly, junior Sam Flack was the 500 freestyle champion and finished third in the 200 individual medley, and senior Charlie Han took the title in the 100 breaststroke. Baylor’s 400 freestyle relay (senior Caden Fritz, junior Josean Massucco, Flack, Hitchcock) finished as state champs. Baylor had two second-place relay teams, the 200 medley (Fritz, Han, Massucco, senior Owen Seymour) and the 200 freestyle (Seymour, junior Will Taylor, Flack, Hitchcock). Massucco added a runner-up finish in the 500 freestyle and was third in the 100 butterfly.
Softball Team Wins State Record Seventh Straight State Title
The Baylor softball team set a state record at this year’s Spring Fling, winning a seventh consecutive state championship. After edging rival GPS 4-3 in the semifinal, the Raiders faced them again for the title, after the Bruisers fought back through the loser’s bracket. The championship game was all Baylor with the Raiders scoring a single run in the first and the sixth, and three runs in both the third and fifth innings. The big blows came in the fifth with Katie Raper ’23 blasting a solo home run and Riley Oleksik ’24 tacking on a two-run shot. Kaylee Snyder ’24 and Avery Shamblin ’24 were the pitching stars with Snyder striking out 12 in eight-plus innings.
Baylor ended the season with a 32-3 record and winning a 15th state championship has now taken 10 out of the last 11 titles. Baylor was runner-up in 2014 before the seven-title streak began. Baylor coach Kelli Howard Smith ’95 has been a part, either as a player or a coach, of all 15 state championship seasons.
Baylor Wins State Soccer Title in Overtime Shootout
The Baylor boys’ soccer team won the program’s ninth state championship, beating Father Ryan in an overtime shootout 2-2 (4-2). The Irish defeated the Red Raiders in the state semis last season, also in an overtime shootout.
Baylor came from behind twice in regulation with goals by senior Anthony Weekley and junior Mohammed Wumpini. An assist on Weekley’s goal went to junior Gui Gragnano. After two scoreless OT periods, the result was settled with a PK shootout. Juniors Jake Kellerhals, Mac Hickman, and Phelipe Spielman, and senior Riley Shankle made good on their attempts while Raider keeper junior Zach Ubamadu kept two of the four Irish attempts out of the net.
Baylor finished the championship season with an 18-1-1 record, and was number three in the final national rankings provided by United Soccer Coaches, the highest national ranking achieved by the Raiders.
Evie Culbreath Wins Gold Twice at State Track
Baylor junior Evie Culbreath capped off a remarkable 2022 season winning two individual titles, two second-place finishes, and anchoring a third-place relay team at the state track and field championships meet. The Baylor girls finished third in the team standings.
Culbreath won the state pentathlon, setting two school records along the way and making her case as one of the best athletes ever at Baylor and in the state of Tennessee. Culbreath finished with 3546 points, 125 more than her closest opponent. That set a new Baylor record for the pentathlon, breaking the previous mark set by Malena Kellerman ’09 in 2008, and lands her in the top five finishers in TSSAA Division II history. She also broke her own school record in the 100 meter hurdles during the competition.
The next week, Culbreath won the state championship in the 100 meter hurdles, was second in the long jump and the 200 meter dash,
and teamed up with freshmen Franny Brooksbank and Maelynn Adams-Cook, and junior Julia Kaufman to place third in the 4 X 100 meter relay. Baylor also posted a runner-up finish in the 4 X 800 meter relay with junior Helen Webb, sophomore Mae Mae Powe, and freshmen Addi Greene and Laney Fowler.
The Baylor boys’ team finished 10th, paced by a second-place finish in the 800 meter run by sophomore Garrison Corley.
Baylor Crews Dominate Competitions
Baylor rowing shone on the national stage as the girls’ junior 8+ crew finished in third place at the Scholastic National Championships in Camden, N.J. Powering the “Herbert B. Barks, Jr.” shell, the crew earned the first podium finish at the national competition for a Baylor boat in the program's history. The line up for the crew (pictured above) included juniors Vivi Christopoulos, Leighann Franklin, Stella Ogorsolka, Esther Prantil-Evans, Holly Rosser, Meg Trammell, and Madisen Williams, and sophomores Autumn Phillips and Anya Wiisanen.
The Baylor boys' junior 4+ crew (juniors Evan Eubanks, Owen Mynatt, Odin Phillips, and Nicholas Short, and sophomore coxswain Mary Evelyn Pearce) finished fifth in their final. Also qualifying for the national regatta were the girls’ junior 4 (juniors Taylor Butts and Evelyn Stein, sophomores Katie Horn and Abby Millwood, and freshman Gussie Smith) and the boys’ freshman 8 (Drake Alling, Greg Bailey, Fisher Greenfeld, Max Hickman, Gilbert Stein, Bruin Webster, David Xu, Evan Yim, and Sean Yoshida).
The annual races for the Carney Cup against GPS and the Raoul Cup against McCallie went to the Baylor girls (seniors Lindsay Smith, Ella Webb, and Maya Wiisanen and juniors Christopoulos, Franklin, Bella Nenadov, Prantil-Evans, Rosser, and Trammell) for the second straight year and a third consecutive time for the Baylor boys (seniors Gus Batt, Katherine Chen, Owen Eastman, Michael Kinsey, and Rade Popovich and juniors Eubanks, Mynatt, Phillips, and Short).
Baylor crews rowed in the combined Tennessee/Georgia state championships where Raider boats won a historic total of 10 state titles. Baylor girls won championships in Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8, Varsity 4, 2nd Varsity 4, Varsity 4x, Novice 8, and Novice 4 divisions, while Baylor boys took crowns in Varsity 4, Novice 8, and 2nd Novice 8.
Baylor Girls Second at State Tennis
The Baylor girls’ tennis team was state runner-up after a 4-0 loss to a strong Knoxville Catholic team. The Raiders beat Brentwood Academy 4-0 in the semifinals to reach the championship match. Baylor was vying for a 14th team championship after winning nine straight from 2011-2019.
Also finishing as a state runner-up was the girls’ doubles team of senior Agda Laakso and sophomore Helen Guerry. After squeaking by a Hutchison duo in a tiebreaker quarterfinal match and beating an Ensworth pair 8-1 in the semis, the Baylor team fell 7-5 (8), 6-3 to champ Knox Catholic.
Also representing Baylor at the state tournament, sophomore Ensley Collins was a semifinalist in the girls’ singles tournament and junior Andres Mercedes was a quarterfinalist in boys’ singles.
Baylor Fencing Leads League Again
After missing two years of competition due to COVID restrictions, the Baylor fencing team returned to action and to dominance with team championships in three of the four divisions of the On Guard High School Fencing League, and 13 of the top 15 fencers. The Raiders were season champs in ladies’ foil, ladies’ epee, and men’s foil. Senior Jazmin Perkins was the individual season champion in ladies’ foil, finishing her Baylor career without a loss. Junior Alexander Moyer was the individual champion in men’s foil, and junior Sophia Baleeiro was runner-up in ladies’ epee.
Basketball Season Highlighted by Holiday Championships
The Baylor girls’ basketball team finished with a 13-16 record, falling in the first round of the state playoffs by three points to Father Ryan. The Raiders were champions at the Smoky Mountain Christmas Classic and finished third at the Carpet City Christmas Classic. Baylor junior Bella White was named to the Division II-AA All-State team, averaging 11 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game.
The Baylor boys were state quarterfinalists, losing to Christian Brothers by nine points. The Raiders were the Carpet City Christmas Classic champions and finished in third place at the Peddie Invitational. Senior Al Peciulis was named All-State in Division II-AA, averaging 16 points and eight rebounds per game.
Henry Godbout is TSSAA “Mr. Baseball”
Baylor’s quest for a fourth straight state baseball championship ended with two upset losses to McCallie and Lipscomb Academy at the state tournament. Baylor was the region champion and top seed with only one league loss. The Raiders finished the season with a 22-9 record. Baylor was vying for a sixth state championship, having won titles in 2003, 2006, 2018, 2019, and 2021. There was no state championship in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
For the second year in a row, a Baylor player was named TSSAA’s Division II “Mr. Baseball.” This year’s winner is senior Henry Godbout, who hit over .500 with nine homers and had an on-base percentage of .586 this season. Godbout has signed to play at the University of Virginia. Cooper Kinney ’21, who was drafted and signed by the Tampa Bay Rays last summer, was last year’s Mr. Baseball.
Lacrosse Enjoys a Strong Season & Field Upgrades
Lacrosse families have given more than $500,000 to upgrade Tucker Hunt Memorial Field with lights and stands in a swift and decisive special project campaign. As a result of this generosity, the lights were installed in April, and the stands will be built later this year. Over 180 students played lacrosse in the spring, and Baylor teams improved significantly. “We are excited about lacrosse at Baylor,” said Athletic Director Mark Price. “There is a lot of energy and excitement and many talented student athletes participating. The future looks bright.”
This season, a young Baylor girls’ lacrosse squad finished with a strong 16-6-1 record and advanced to the state quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual state champion Harpeth Hall. Junior Jamie Butt was named All-Region and All-State with sophomore Ellis Mitchum and junior Sabrina Merritt joining her on the All-Region squad.
The Baylor boys finished 5-10 and upset Christian Brothers 13-10 in the state quarterfinals before losing to Memphis University School in the semis. Senior Trey McDonald was named All-State and was joined on the All-Region team by seniors Watson Brown, Weston Carico, Dacorian Jones-Montgomery, and Lake Wheeler, juniors Henry Fowler and Jackson Phillips, and freshman Tyler Rice.