Wilson junior Ava Nicely was out of breath after crossing the line first, but she had enough energy left to cheer her teammates as the Tigers captured the team title at the D.C. State Athletic Association cross-country championship Saturday in Kenilworth Park.
“I’ve worked this whole season really hard, and I was really surprised to win,” Nicely said after finishing in 19 minutes 41 seconds.
It was a difficult season for Nicely, who was sidelined with injuries for much of it. When her teammates were training, she was rehabbing, leaving her to find other times to get in work.
Wilson finished with 44 points, edging St. John’s (49) and National Cathedral (53).
Wilson’s Claire Wigglesworth finished fourth (20:03), while Talya Lehrich (21:25), Gillian Kimmel (21:28) and Madelyn Shapiro (22:05) finished 13th, 15th and 21st, respectively.
“They knew what they needed to do and fought for it,” Wilson Coach Emily Farrar said. “Our three, four and five runners really needed to bring it today, and they looked strong and aggressive.”
Washington Latin’s Zoe Edelman was second in 19:43. National Cathedral’s Sophia Hanway placed third (19:58), and Edmund Burke’s Katie Hirsche was fifth (20:12).
Gonzaga (47) rolled to the boys’ title, while Washington Latin’s Luke Tewalt finished first individually — with a big smile as he crossed the line. In the final kilometer, Tewalt slushed through puddles and mud to finish in 16:28.
“The race today was about strategy, and I raced smartly to give my team a chance at placing high as a team,” Tewalt said.
Washington Latin finished in sixth with 120 points. Wilson (82) and Sidwell Friends (83) finished second and third.
Gonzaga prepared well for the race. The Eagles ran the course at the DCXC Invite in September, and Coach John Ausema had his team practice on the course a few times as well.
“We have a strong group that bought into the program and ran well since the summer and even before that,” Ausema said.
Gonzaga’s Cullen Capuano and Gavin McElhennon placed second and third, respectively, with four others placing in the top 22.