By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
For runners who strive to be light on their feet, Bakers girls cross country team members sure lug home some heavy hardware when they compete in the state championships.
Led by sophomore Danielle Jordans runner-up finish, the Bulldogs placed 4th out of 16 Class 3A teams Saturday in the mild sunshine at Lane Community College.
Baker finished third a year ago.
Theyre a great group of girls, said Baker coach Suzy Cole. They worked extremely hard.
Its an honor to be here, and bringing home a trophys even better.
Although Baker traveled a couple hundred miles farther than any of the other top four teams, the Bulldogs received one of the days loudest cheers from their fans as they accepted their Oregon Schools Activities Association trophy near the finish line.
Cole said Baker had hoped to improve on last years third-place finish.
But she said the Bulldogs also knew how tall a task it was to beat such strong teams as Rogue River and Philomath on the flat, fast course at Lane, just south of Eugene.
Philomath won the team title and Rogue River was second this year the reverse of their places in 2000.
Today just wasnt our day to do it, Cole said. We had to come out and do the best we could do, and thats what we did.
It was a really strong field this year.
Sisters, which had no runners in the top 15 but five in the top 38, finished third, 20 points ahead of Baker.
Cole said the Bulldogs ran well as a team early, but lost ground between 1 and 2 miles.
As they did last year, Bakers second- through fourth-place runners crossed the finish line fairly closely to each other.
Tessa Vergari placed 28th, Rebekah Duby 30th and Whittney Harris 46th.
Last year Harris finished 16th, Vergari 20th and Duby 31st.
Other Baker runners were Jill Nielsen, who finished 77th in the field of 124 competitors, freshman Katelyn Anderson, 85th, and Danielle Martin, 97th.
Baker should contend for its third consecutive trophy next year, Cole said.
Martin is the only senior among the Bulldogs top seven runners.
Philomath, on the other hand, loses three of its top four finishers to graduation. Rogue River loses two of its top three runners.
OSAA-U.S. BANK CLASS 3A STATE CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Lane Community College, Eugene
Team scores Philomath 85, Rogue River 99, Sisters 121, BAKER 141, Scappoose 184, Myrtle Point 189, Wilsonville 197, Elmira 198, Lakeview 214, Molalla 219, Bandon 226, The Dalles 253, Seaside 253, Marist 275, Taft 392, Vale 427.
Individual (Top 5 runners) 1. Brianna Anderson-Gregg, Philomath, 18:54. 2. Danielle Jordan, BAKER, 19:05. 3. Brynn Cogdill, Estacada, 19:16. 4. Heather Fitz-Gustafson, The Dalles, 19:24. 5. Megan Czerny, Philomath, 19:27.
Other Baker runners
28. Tessa Vergari, 21:05. 30. Rebekah Duby, 21:09. 46. Whittney Harris, 21:45. 77. Jill Nielsen, 22:52. 85. Katelyn Anderson, 23:14. 97. Danielle Martin, 23:38.