The Heart of America Athletic Conference’s oldest rivalry

Benedictine defensive linemen clash with Baker’s offensive line. Photo by Amanda Burns.

By Rocky DeSantis, The Circuit.

Every sport has a rivalry that takes center stage whenever the two teams play. Major league baseball has the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox rivalry. Football has the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. Almost all colleges have a rivalry game every year and Benedictine is no different.

The Heart of America Athletic Conference has fourteen colleges and universities in it, but one in particular stands out on Benedictine’s athletic schedules.

Baker University was founded in 1858, the same year as St. Benedict’s College, which merged with Mount St. Scholastica College in 1971 to become Benedictine College.

The argument of who was founded first has sparked a rivalry that continues to this very day.

Josh Pound, sports information director for Benedictine, learned about the rivalry the day he was hired.

“I knew from day one that the Benedictine-Baker matchup was a pretty big matchup across the board, not just football.” Pound said, “In every sport, for the most part, Benedictine and Baker are usually right around each other in the standings.”

In the past, there have been close games, and blowouts on both sides in all sports, but the two school’s overall record always remains close.

“We have played a lot of big games against each other in the last three or four years, and that has certainly helped back [the rivalry] up,” Pound said.

Garrett Bader, a senior on the football team, remembers hearing about the rivalry when he was being recruited by both schools. He mentioned how the team mentally approaches the Baker weekend.

Bader explained how it is different than other weeks. As soon as this year’s MidAmerica Nazarene University game ended, the football team entered the Baker week mindset.

Bader talked about how as a freshman he learned how important the week was by the older players on the team.

“At practice, I could see it [my] freshman year with the older guys. They go a lot harder during Baker week,” Bader said.

Benedictine football lost to Baker this year 44-37, while volleyball defeated Baker 3 sets to 2 on Sept. 19.

Women’s and men’s soccer take on Baker Oct. 4 in Baldwin, KS.