By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
EUGENE Bakers boys cross country runners made sure they stood out at the state championships by bleaching their hair a bright blond Thursday night.
But on race day Saturday, the Bulldogs made a statement with their legs, not their gaudy hairstyles.
Baker, paced by junior Dan Temples 16th-place finish, placed 9th in the team standings, two positions higher than in their state debut last fall.
This race is always fast for us, said Baker junior Matt Hensley, who was Bakers number three runner, finishing 41st with a personal best time of 17:42 for the 5-kilometer course. Thats more than a minute faster than Hensleys time at the district meet last month.
Hensley finished 48th at state last year, in a time of 17:55.
Casey Curtis, John Aguirre and Clay Demastus also set personal bests Saturday.
Hensley said the Bulldogs benefit from the relatively low elevation of the nearly flat state championship course at Lane Community College, which is about 500 feet above sea level.
Baker runners are accustomed to training and competing in the thinner air of Baker City, which is at 3,400 feet.
Baker coach Suzy Cole said the Bulldogs also profited from their experience at last years state championships, which also were on the Lane course.
Four of the seven Baker boys ran at state last year.
I think we ran very well, Cole said Saturday.
She said Baker barely missed achieving two of its main goals in the meet finishing in the top 8, and beating Greater Oregon League rival Ontario, which nipped the Bulldogs by nine points at the district meet last month.
Baker, which finished with 213 points Saturday, trailed 8th-place Marist by 10 points. Ontario finished 7th with 199 points.
Cole said she was impressed with how Bakers boys and girls handled the difficulties of racing against such large fields 125 runners in the boys race, 124 in the girls.
The Bulldogs never compete in races that big prior to state, Cole said, unlike many western Oregon schools that are accustomed to crowded races and whose runners are thus less affected by the jostling for position thats impossible for runners in the pack to avoid.
OSAA-U.S. BANK CLASS 3A STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Lane Community College, Eugene
Team scores Wilsonville 50, Phoenix 102, Astoria 108, Philomath 141, The Dalles 172, Molalla 195, Ontario 199, Marist 203, BAKER 213, Siuslaw 241, South Umpqua 262, Scappoose 275, Creswell 291, Taft 315, Lakeview 316, Central 337.
Individual (Top 5 runners) 1. Kobi Daum, Wilsonville, 16:18. 2. Henry Emron, Wilsonville, 16:23. 3. Kyle Gillette, Phoenix, 16:25. 4. Ialo Flores, Phoenix, 16:28. 5. Nathan May, Phoenix, 16:32.
16. Dan Temple, 17:03. 28. Casey Curtis, 17:24. 41. Matt Hensley, 17:42. 82. John Aguirre, 18:39. 87. Clay Demastus, 18:45. 91. Jesse Webb, 18:49. 107. Josh Stanley, 19:29.