The Baker Orange

2014 Men’s Cross Country Preview

Story by Jim Joyner, Sports Editor

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2013 was a rebuilding year for the men’s cross-country team. The Wildcats finished in fourth place at the HAAC championship and did not qualify for the NAIA nationals for the first time since 2010. Their results were generally middle of the pack, not bad but not great. But in 2014 they will bring back a lot of experience, including two seniors who have seen some success in their three years. After the death of former head coach Zach Kindler, the team will start this campaign with interim head coach Tim Byers.

RETURNERS

The big name has to be senior Vincent Tadokoro, who was the most consistent runner that Baker had last season. Tadokoro was HAAC Runner of the Week after his fifth-place finish at the Maple Leaf Invitational in Baker’s first race of the season. He finished in 15th place at the HAAC championship with a time of 28:59.

“Vinny’s our leader right now,” Byers said.

Sophomore Corey Matteson was the best runner out of the freshman class last year. Matteson was the backbone of the team down the stretch. His best race of the season was at Emporia State, where he finished a team-best 32nd place with a time of 28:46. Matteson also finished a team-best 13th place at the HAAC championship with a time of 28:44.

Tadokoro and senior Andrew Heim have both been a part of championship teams with conference titles and national appearances in 2011 and 2012.

Sophomores Andrew Dare, Jamie Steury, Carter Breithaupt and Andrew Emanuels have not been a part of championship teams yet, but they did gain experience as freshmen.

“Andrew Dare is having a great preseason right now as well as Eduardo Esquivel,” Byers said. “They’re fighting it out in the top four and its fun to see that.”

Similar to the women’s team, the men are bringing in a heap of five freshmen. These back to back freshmen classes will have an astounding amount of experience by the time they are seniors.

“Some of the freshman are coming in pretty fast,” Byers said. “The upperclassmen are taking it as “this is going to make us better, we’re going to be a better team.”

DEPARTURES

The men’s team will lose seniors Cooper Clark and Garrett McPherson. Clark was an academic All American as a senior. He finished his career with a 41st place finish at the HAAC championships with a time of 31:25.

OUTLOOK

A successful season for these long distance runners would be placing a runner in the top 10 of every race as well as finishing as a team in the top 5 of nearly every race. Also finishing above fourth place, like in 2013, would be an ideal end to the race of 2014.

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