Baker finishes 26th in NAIA National Championships

Story by Kyle Davis

Two weeks after winning the HAAC Championship, the Baker women’s cross country team traveled to Vancouver, Wash., to compete in the NAIA National Championships Saturday.

Baker finished in 26th place out of 32 teams. Freshman Megan Rosa led the team, finishing in 108th place with a time of 19:42, and was followed by freshman Lauren Jaqua, who ran a time of 19:49, to finish in 117th place.

Head coach Zach Kindler said the first time racing in the national meet is a daunting task.

“It’s the hype of it, the build up of it, and so for them to do what they’re capable of doing, yeah, I was very excited,” Kindler said. “I was very pleased with how they finished, how they competed, how they ran.”

Sophomore Devin Freeman, 19:59, placed 134th; sophomore Lindsey Brown, 20:16, finished in 149th place; senior and Baker Orange staff member Mary Loveland, 20:27, placed 156th; freshman Ashley McBride, 21:24, placed 187th and sophomore Corinna Papps, 22:07, rounded out Baker’s top seven, finishing in 199th place.

Kindler said what the teams will take most from the national meet is the experience.

“This is their first national meet they’ve been to, so just having the experience of being there will allow for them to next year come back and have a better idea of what it is and how to prepare for that mentally, physically and then just be able to continue to compete at the national level,” he said.

For the men’s team, junior Chris Scheideman qualified and competed at nationals as an individual runner, finishing in 268th place out of 326 runners, with a time of 28:26.

“I was still very proud of how Chris ran,” Kindler said. “Could he have ran better, has he ran better this season, absolutely, but getting the opportunity to run at the national meet is what it’s all about.”

Loveland is the only runner from either team that will not return next season, and Kindler believes both teams could go back to Vancouver next year.

“The biggest thing that we got out of this, yes it was a great experience, had fun, but just the racing opportunity and the race experience we got will help all of these runners next year when they … hopefully return to the national meet,” Kindler said.