By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It wasn’t long ago that South Salem teammates Taitum Schaap and Paige Trautman were competing with the Saxon Girls Cross Country team at the 6A State Meet.
Seven days to be exact since South’s tenth-place finish with the Saxons just graduating their lone senior on a big and young squad that will be returning in 2019.
“I don’t know, it was really fun to be on a High School Cross Country team and I felt like I did pretty good. It was pretty fun,” said Trautman after her first Club race with Salem Track Club on this past Fall with the South Salem where she ran a personal best of 19:30.1 on September 19.
Club Cross Country is a little different in that distances are set by the USATF by age with eight-year-old running a 2K, 9-12 running a 3K, 13-14-year old’s run a 4K and 15-18 run the High School length of 5K during their races.
For Trautman and Schaap, it was their first race with the club for the season after their High School season ended as they lined up Saturday afternoon to race the rolling hills along the baseball, soccer and softball fields at Corban University.
Bowerman Track’s Kate Peters dominated the race with Schaap was the leading runner for Salem Track off the lead pack as they came around and went back out for their second lap around the course.
But Schaap showed signs of being in pain as she went out for her second lap with the Saxon Freshman battling through trying to catch her breathe in the cold weather.
“Once we got over to the first hill over there,” Schaap starts referring to a mountain of a hill on the backside of the athletic fields shortly into the laps. “I just couldn’t breathe and I’ve been having issues with hips. I was having a pain in my lower tailbone and so I went to our school trainer and my hips aren’t even. It wasn’t hurting during the race so I could’ve been out of breathe and the hills weren’t helping.
“I just knew I had to finish, I didn’t want to let my team down and I tried to finish even though I really couldn’t breathe.”
Schaap tailed off, trying to pace herself and make do with what she was able to do, finishing 24th in the race with a time of 17:24.18.
Trautman and Adam Stephens Middle School Kaydence Nguyen made up the difference with Schaap struggling with Trautman finishing 12th (16:43.04) and Nguyen 15th (16:57.40) respectively in the 13-14 age group race.
Nguyen, who will be at McKay High School next year as a freshman, said that facing the talent from the Bowerman’s, Tigard’s and Beaverton’s Track Clubs will help her moving into Track season this season and entering High School next year.
“I feel like running against fast people, you get pushed to go faster,” said Nguyen, who finished third in the Salem-Keizer All-City Cross Country Meet on October 25. “I felt like I did good because right now I’ve got a cold so I feel like next time it’s going to be much better.”
“It was good because it helped me go faster and push myself,” adds Trautman on how the race helped her.
Some notables coming from Salem Track was, Evan Gonzalez won the guys 15-18 race with a 16:54.80 time. Brooklyn Gills was ninth in the 8U 2K race, Olivia Buswell and Sophia Buswell went 12 and 13 respectively in the 3K 11-12 Girls Race. Destyne Adams was 13th in the 9-10 Girls race.
John Henry Hagen finished 17th in the Guys 8U 2K, Grady Orton (13th) and Cole Gwyn (16th) finished strongly in the Guys 3K 9-10 race. Tucker Piper was 25th in the 13-14 4K race.