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Brooke Orendorff

The small group of runners that make up the Taft 7-12 cross country team has been hard at work prepping for both local and statewide meets this week.

The Tigers eased their way into the 2019 season with a two-mile jaunt to start the year Aug. 31, followed by a fun race through the mud at the Ultimook Sept. 7. Most recently, Taft ran at the Amity Vineyards during an invitational on Sept. 10.

In a condensed race with just a handful of runners on both the girls and boys sides, the Tigers represented well, coming away with four collective top 10s.

“Seven out of our 10 athletes medaled at the meet,” head coach Eva Ahumada said. “Boys varsity took third at the meet.”

With 33 runners from seven different schools, the boys had two runners in the top 10. Seniors Hunter Ludstedt and Lucas Hindman both crossed the line at the same time to clock a 22:10, just a second behind the fifth place runner.

Freshman Cooper Fitch was the next Tiger to cross the line at 24:58, which landed him in the top 20 runners.

“It was exciting to be able to have really our first 5k of the season and have the team do so well,” Ahumada said.

In the girls race, the Tigers had just two runners competing in the 14-person field. Senior Brooke Orendorff led the way, crossing the line at 28:56 to take fourth place and fellow senior Alani Cabal clocked a 38:10 to place tenth.

This week Taft will venture up the coast for the Nestucca Cape Kiwanda Challenge in Pacific City on Sept. 19, just before the group heads to the Prefontaine Memorial Run in Coos Bay this weekend (Sept. 21). Ahumada is hoping their previous races have put the Tiger runners in good spirits going into this week’s events.

“Those races were a huge confidence booster for all of the athletes and makes us really look forward to our meet this Thursday at Cape Kiwanda and Prefontaine on Saturday,” Ahumada said.

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