Rainier seniors Selena Niemi and Dylan Davis won the girls and boys races, respectively, to help the Mountaineers claim team titles at the Central 2B League cross country championships Thursday in Onalaska.
Rainier senior Selena Niemi overtook Stevenson’s Isabella Spencer in the final 100 meters then cruised to the finish line in 20:22.75 to claim the girls league crown and edge the Bulldogs by one point (Rainier 27, Stevenson 28). Both teams advance to districts. Kalama was third with 71 points.
It was a gratifying individual victory for Niemi, who didn’t perform well at this same meet last year while struggling with an injury at the time.
“This confirms for me all the hard work I’ve put in over the summer, so that feels good,” Niemi said.
But redeeming last year’s performance and becoming the 2B Central League champion this season was not a goal of hers. She’s more interested in helping lead the Mountaineers girls team to state.
“The team getting to state is the biggest thing,” Niemi said. “I knew I needed to pass Stevenson and get first. That’s my goal right now; not winning but getting the team to state.”
Rainier runners claimed five of the top-12 spots to secure the team victory. Senior Faith Boesch placed sixth (23:59.36), freshman Emma Mathson was eighth (24:17.74), senior Zoe Mathson was 11th (24:52.63) and Hailey Tyrrell was 12th (25:07.09).
Morton-White Pass junior Ayricka Hughes was third (22:26.64), Toledo sophomore Karley Harris was fifth (23:54.31) and MWP senior Jordan Koetje was seventh (24:12.57).
On the boys side, Rainier senior Dylan Davis trailed fellow senior teammate Ryan Doidge for nearly the entire race, then pulled ahead near the end and crossed the finish line for the boys individual title.
Rainier had six runners in the top 25 to claim the team title with 43 points. Morton-White Pass was second (56), Onalaska third (60), Mossyrock fourth (71), Stevenson fifth (134) and Kalama sixth (145).
It was an emotional victory for Davis who’s been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury since midseason. He could still feel the effects of it on Thursday but pushed through the pain with the motto his dad taught him: ‘Mind over matter. Running can’t kill you that much.’
“It feels great to pull this off right here,” Davis said. “Something just clicked and I didn’t feel like losing today.”
Doidge placed second in a time of 17:40.66, Mossyrock junior Christian Paz Tapia was third (17:45.91), MWP senior Asher Sympson was fourth (17:48), MWP senior David Martinez was fifth (17:58.24), Mossyrock junior Hugo Wedam was sixth (18:26.07), Onalaska junior Ben Russon was seventh (18:28.55), Mossyrock junior Miguel Gomez was eighth (18:36.89), Onalaska senior Lethon Fitch was ninth (18:50.56) and Onalaska senior Trevor Blair rounded out the top 10 (18:51.79).
The 2B District 4 Cross Country Championships is set for Oct. 30 at Rainier High School.
For full results of the 2B Central League championships, visit athletic.net.