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David Pedrick

David Pedrick of Powers smiles during the Class 2A-1A District 4 meet at Lane Community College on Tuesday. 

I’ve made little secret over the years of being a big fan of cross country, which makes that part of my job wonderful.

So it was surprising to me (and apparently to a number of others based on discussions this week) that until my three-meets-in-three-days district cross country excursion in the Eugene area this week I hadn’t covered a meet this fall.

That’s certainly in part to the new addition to our sports staff, Zach Silva, who was a cross country runner in high school like me. Zach likes the sport, too, which I think comes out in his coverage of it.

Zach was more than happy to cover cross country things when my schedule didn’t allow.

So I am getting my cross country fix in bulk this week, with the small schools on Tuesday, North Bend on Wednesday and Marshfield and Siuslaw on Thursday.

One side benefit of covering the small schools is it gave me a chance to catch up with one of the subjects from a column earlier this fall about kids making the best of situations out of their control.

When Powers didn’t have enough kids for a football team and a couple of possibilities for cooperative agreements with smaller schools in the area fell through, senior David Pedrick became the first cross country runner in recent school history.

I hadn’t seen David yet to tell him I was proud of him for making the decision and then a funny thing happened when I pointed the camera at him during the race — he looked at me and smiled. All four times he passed the locations I was trying to shoot from.

You can see that grin in the photo accompanying this column. Trust me, I had several options for which photo to use.

When David’s final race was done, after he finished 36th in the 5,000-meter race in 20 minutes and 51 seconds, we had a few minutes to visit and his observations were wonderful.

“I enjoyed cross country a lot more than I thought I would,” David said.

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That’s significant coming from somebody who is a 200- and 400-meter specialist in track and field.

He said he expects his times in the sprints to improve and that cross country has given him a lot more confidence in running.

But that’s not the only reason he likes the sport.

“The sense of community in cross country is so much better,” he said. “Lots of people helped me with advice. It was so much fun.”

He said Reedsport’s team was especially friendly and welcoming, but during the race Tuesday, several different people were yelling encouragement to David, including Myrtle Point coach Karl Smith and Bandon coach Brent Hutton.

I think the global sense of camaraderie has always been my favorite thing about cross country.

I’m glad David got to experience and enjoy the sport, like so many others.

By the way, I also got to watch parts of a few of the soccer matches for the combined Coquille-Myrtle Point soccer team, which included five girls since they didn’t have enough players for their own team.

And those five fit in great with the DevilCats. Jaylyn Rayevich and Autumn Morrison were offensive threats and Bailey Higgins was one of the team’s best defenders. Sydney Sefers and Kirsten Fultz fit in well, too, and the team finished 7-7 in league play.

And David's little brother Michael and his friend Alex Mahmoud fit in well with North Bend’s junior varsity football team, their opportunity to keep playing the sport when Powers didn’t have enough players for a team. During one recent game, Michael recovered two fumbles and Mahmoud had two touchdown catches. 

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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