Boys cross country preview: Tedder rises to the challenge

Battle Ground runner already goes the extra mile

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



Boys cross country preview


Tucker Boyd, jr., Camas; Sean Eustis, jr., Washougal; Colby Gilbert, jr., Skyview; Andrew Kaler, jr., Camas; Roman Kirkov, sr., Union; Ryan Lisowski, sr., Columbia River Connor Niemi, sr., Mountain View; Tanner Sork, sr., Union; Isaac Stinchfield, jr., Washougal; Mark Tedder, jr., Battle Ground.


Union, led by Kirkov and Sork, is the favorite in the 4A Greater St. Helens League with Battle Ground looking to challenge. Camas, led by Boyd and Kaler, top the 3A GSHL. But Columbia River has good depth to challenge. Washougal has talent at the top and needs to develop at the bottom of its lineup to battle Mark Morris in the 2A GSHL. La Center again looks to be the favorite in the 1A Trico League.

The actual training, the running every morning this past summer, was a physical challenge.

The will to get up every morning this summer was not difficult for Mark Tedder to summon.

“I just knew my time would go down every time I woke up,” Tedder said.

Some 800 miles or so later, Tedder, a junior from Battle Ground, is reaping the benefits from such a focused summer. He won the Hudson’s Bay Run-A-Ree, the first big race of the year, by 25 seconds.

The younger Tigers in the cross country program who watch the varsity seem inspired by him. His coach’s only concern is making sure Tedder peaks at the right time.

Tedder is super fast right now, but the goal is to be even faster by the end of October and into November.

Which is kind of where this story begins — those late season races from last season.

“I’ve got a lot more drive this year from last year because I didn’t do so well at state,” said Tedder, who finished 110th at the Class 4A championship. “I wanted to get at least 70th. That was the one race I didn’t PR (personal record). I slid back.

“That really pushed me, too, to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

He also struggled a bit in the track season in the spring. That led to his new outlook for running. Every morning, he would run. Often, he would run again in the afternoon.

“Once you’re in shape, you love it. When you’re running hard, you’re feeling the pain, you’re loving it. When you’re going slow, you’re loving it,” Tedder said. “It just becomes a habit. If I’m not running, I want to be running.”

He also had the Run-A-Ree in mind when he was logging all those miles. He said he wanted to win that race, to make a statement to himself that this would be a solid season. Then he won by a huge margin.

“I was a lot more ready to run this year,” he said.

His coach, Sheryl Piper, said Tedder has all the qualities of a top-level athlete.

“He’s a 4.0 student, so he’s a thinker. And he has a love for running and racing,” Piper said. “Put those together, he’s easy to coach.”

It was his intellect, she said, that really got him in the right frame of mind to prepare for a better season.

“State was a humbling experience. He was disappointed. I think he thought, ‘I don’t like being in the hundreds.’ So he did the work he needed to do in the offseason,” she said.

Now, she would not mind if Tedder slowed down his regimen.

“The trick for me is not to have him end the season flat. We want him fresh in the postseason, so he could place up high at state like he is capable of,” Piper said.

As much as Tedder loves to run — he is still going twice a day sometimes — he likely will heed the advice. After all, the reason he did all that running this summer is to avoid a repeat of last fall.

His goals are simple this year.

“It would be nice to come out the champion of (district),” Tedder said. “And at state, I just actually perform. Get up there and run hard with those guys.”

He has been working on that since June 1.