Baker cross-country

Baker’s Thaddeus Pepera sprints to the finish line of the OSAA Class 4A boys cross country championship, Saturday Nov. 6, 2021, at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Baker’s young and inexperienced cross-country teams ran like veterans at the biggest meet of the year, with both the Bulldog boys and girls finishing ninth in the team standings at the Class 4A state meet on Saturday, Nov. 6 at Lane Community College.

“I thought the kids did an excellent job,” Baker coach Suzy Cole said. “I felt like the kids really stepped up.”

On the boys side, Baker junior Thaddeus Pepera paced the Bulldogs, finishing 26th overall in a time of 18:05.80.

“I thought Thaddeus ran really well,” Cole said.

She was impressed with Pepera’s ability to adjust to the large number of runners in the state meet, a much different experience than most of Baker’s events during the regular season.

Freshman Daniel Brown was Baker’s second runner across the line, placing 38th in a time of 18:38.90.

Cole said Brown, as most runners tend to do at the state meet, started out faster than usual.

“It’s hard not to,” Cole said.

She said Brown recovered well from his unusually fast start and kept a good pace into the second mile.

“You never know how freshmen are going to do,” Cole said.

In the girls race, Baker’s two seniors, Emma Baeth and Sydney Lamb, were close as usual, with Baeth, despite dealing with health issues, taking the top spot for Baker, finishing 36th overall in 21:31.80.

Lamb was 40th in a time of 21:55.50.

Between the two seniors was freshman Sofia Kaaen, who placed 37th overall in 21:34.90.

Cole said she wasn’t surprised that the trio finished so close together, as they have had similar placings throughout the year.

With most of the boys and girls runners set to return next year, Cole said she’s excited about the prospects for a team that will have the invaluable experience of competing at the state meet.

“It’s super exciting,” she said.

Cole said this year’s team was an easy one to coach due to their dedication.

“We have optional practices Saturdays, and a majority of this group runs on Saturdays too,” Cole said. “They make it really easy when you have that kind of passion for each other as teammates and for the sport.”

Other individual results for Baker boys:

• Jordan Mills, junior, 58th, 19:23.10

• Seth Mastrude, junior, 68th, 19:46

• River Clark, junior, 78th, 20:18

• Peyton Waters, freshman, 20:29.90

• Reeve Damschen, sophomore, 82nd, 20:34.60.

Other Baker girls individual results:

• Katie Spaugh, sophomore, 56th, 23:12

•Emma Timm, sophomore, 60th, 23:54.50

• Annastasia Johnson, freshman, 62nd, 23:41.50

• Paige Marlia, sophomore, 71st, 24:20.10

The Bulldogs who traveled home on the team bus had to spend Saturday night in a Pendleton motel after Interstate 84 was closed due to weather and crashes in the Blue Mountains.

Cole said she and her husband, Brian, were in a separate vehicle not far ahead of the bus and they were able to get through before the freeway closed. Assistant coach Ethan Wolston stayed with the team.

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