Tigard's Nieves Lira runs to state meet bid
OREGON CITY — Oscar Nieves Lira put in the hard work. He did all the training. He ran with a purpose.
And he was happy with the results — wow, was he ever happy.
Nieves Lira, a Tigard High School senior, earned a trip to the Class 6A state cross country championships by running to fourth place in the boys varsity race at the Three Rivers League district cross country meet, held Oct. 24 at Clackamas Community College.
"I got fourth overall, I'm going to state! I'm happy, I'm really, really happy," Nieves Lira said after the race. "It was a whole summer of training, putting in hard work, going through tough times. But I had the support of my coaches, and the support of all my teammates always cheering me on, always helping me out. That helps so much."
The top three teams in each varsity race at the district meet, as well as the top seven individuals, if they're not part of the top three teams, advance to the Class 6A state championships, which will be held Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.
"It will be my first time going to state," Nieves Lira said. "I've never thought about it. I just run to better myself. I had a lot of fun today."
Nieves Lira, running at a steady pace and moving up past runners throughout the race, paced fourth at the TRL district meet with a time of 16 minutes, 18.35 seconds for the 5,000-meter course.
"Moving up, that's my style. I can go out at a good pace, but I don't know, my body doesn't work like that. So I just keep a constant pace, and then just finishing strong," Nieves Lira said. "The big thing was catching up to my teammate, Cole (Grieb). He's the one who is always there for me when it comes to races. Every time I try to catch up to him, because he goes out fast. I always feel like we can do it together."
Grieb, a Tigard senior, came close to also earning a trip to state, as he placed eighth at the district meet in a time of 16:40.51. Also for the Tiger boys at district, sophomore Matthew Moller finished 37th in a time of 18:04.07, sophomore Mitchell Ervin was 38th at 18:06.08, senior Sullivan Bailey-Darland was 39th at 18:09.96, junior Jesus Rodriguez Sandoval was 41st at 18:18.24 and junior Caleb Wachsmuth was 44th at 19:10.57.
The Tigard boys finished in sixth place in the team standings with a score of 126 points.
Junior Elizabeth Brands led the way for the Tigard girls at the district meet. She finished in 20th place in a time of 20:40.96. Tiger sophomore Isabelle Ford was right behind her in 21st place with a mark of 20:49.47.
Also for the Tigard girls, junior Molly Kearns was 29th at 21:22.89, freshman Abbigale Elliott was 33rd at 21:29.51, junior Peyton Green was 35th at 21:34.19 and sophomore Marisa Torseth was 46th at 22:28.50.
The Tiger girls finished in fifth place in the team standings with 138 points.
The West Linn boys and St. Mary's Academy girls won the TRL district meet team titles.
The Class 6A girls state championship race is set to start at 2:55 p.m. The Class 6A boys race will follow at 3:30 p.m.