Cross country: Simi Valley's Sarah Baxter is on the rise
Simi Valley freshman Sarah Baxter is 4 feet 11 and weighs only 78 pounds, but she's no small threat to her competitors.
On Oct. 23, she won the Team Sweeps 2.91-mile race at Mt. San Antonio College in 16 minutes 41 seconds, a freshman record and the sixth-fastest time on the Mt. SAC all-time list. She shattered the record set by Mission Prep star Jordan Hasay in 2005 by seven seconds.
Hasay, now a sophomore at the University of Oregon, was a four-time CIF champion and competed at the 2008 Olympic trials.
Baxter started running competitively when she was 9 after her mother noticed that she wasn't exactly excelling in soccer.
"She'd be able to catch anyone no matter where they were on the field," said her mother, April. "But she wasn't aggressive enough to play soccer."
April describes her daughter as a quiet girl who loves camping, fishing and reading. Her coach, Roger Evans, apparently sees a different side of her.
"She's competitive and fearless," he said.
Baxter's mother and father, both highway patrol officers, ran in high school and college. They imagine that and more for their daughter.
"I think there's no limit to what she can do," April said. "If she gets in her mind she wants to go to the Olympics, I think she can."
Her mother also has another prediction.
"I started high school about the same height and weight" as Sarah, April said, laughing. "Now I'm 5 foot 9."
-- Melissa Rohlin