Transferring to LHS for junior year, runner finds new success after time in Baldwin

Transfer student runs new race at LHS

 At Jamboree in August, junior Maiki Martinez runs around the track with other members of the cross country team, which she joined after transferring from Baldwin High School.

McKenna White

At Jamboree in August, junior Maiki Martinez runs around the track with other members of the cross country team, which she joined after transferring from Baldwin High School.

By Amelia Vasquez, Staff Writer

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Competitive cross country races have existed for nearly 200 years, originating in England schools. Today, half a million American students participate in this sport annually.

Running on the cross country team, junior Maiki Martinez began this school year at LHS, a school with nearly four times as many classmates as at her previous 4A school, Baldwin High School.

According to Kansas State High School Activities Association classification and enrollment figures, there are, collectively, around 43,000 students in 6A schools, while 4A schools have less than 15,000 students. These figures don’t take into account senior enrollment.

“Running in 6A has more competitors, which helps push me,” Martinez said.

Despite common belief, smaller schools’ teams don’t perform worse than those of larger schools.

Baldwin High School’s 4A cross country team excel — winning 10 state titles since 2002 and bringing home 19 top three trophies since 1997. Last year, their girls team won the state championship. Comparatively, LHS brought only one female competitor to the state championship last year.

“Over the past seven or so years, the competitiveness across all classes [1A-6A] has risen to about the same level due to the fact that everyone begins training early,” assistant coach Kyle Morgison said. “Overall, this season is shaping up to be a great one. We, the coaches, have grown a lot over the past few years and are continually learning and adapting to the new flock of kiddos gracing our presence. Don’t tell anyone, but we have been keeping our eyes on a few eighth-graders this year that just may turn heads as freshman and be wonderful additions to a stellar returning cast in 2019.”

After three years in the Baldwin school district, Martinez is happy with her return to USD 497.

“Everywhere you go, I feel like cross country is a big family, but LHS has definitely helped welcome me more,” Martinez said. “I feel at home.”