State XC meet slated for Lebanon

By Scott Swanson
Lebanon Local

East Linn Christian Academy Athletic Director and cross-country coach Kellen Peters wasn’t happy when the OSAA decreed earlier this year that there would be no state championship competitions in high school sports this year.
He was even more unhappy when he talked with some of his runners who’ve been to state and realized that not having a state meet to aim for wasn’t helping their motivation.
That’s when it hit him: “We could host our own state meet.”
Peters put out some feelers and, he said, within three hours he had buy-in from nearly the entire state’s 3A-, 2A- and 1A-Division teams.
“I said we’d follow the guidelines and hold our own meet.”
He secured Cheadle Lake Park, where the Eagles were already set to host their district meet and put together a committee of nine coaches to come up with qualification criteria and otherwise organize the meet.
The meet will be held Saturday, April 10.
“We’re going to have 115 kids each in three races,” he said, noting that schools that may not even have qualifying runners have offered to help sponsor the event, committing to donations ranging from $50 to $200.
Steens Mountain Running Camp, a major player in the high school running scene in Oregon, got wind of the event and offered to be the title sponsor, Peters said.
Fortuitously, the state earlier this week eased restrictions on outdoor gatherings, which will help if that holds.
“We’ll have spectators in specific areas,” Peters said, noting that each state championship race will likely include 13 teams. Former Lebanon Coach Brad Bauer, who operates a timing company for races, will provide the timing, he said.
Sponsors have already stepped up to cover trophies, awards, T-shirts and other necessities.
“This is one of the few times when being a small school is an advantage,” Peters said. “I’m super excited.”