Kaler and Croeni earn checkered flag for Camas and Washougal

Road to state leads Panthers and Papermakers to regional races in Olympia and Tacoma

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Washougal’s Dylan Croeni is going all out in his final few races as a high school senior, while Camas sophomore Andrew Kaler is just getting warmed up.

Croeni set a course record time of 16 minutes, 9.08 seconds at Hockinson Meadows Thursday, to win the 2A league championship race for the second year in a row.

“This race marks the one-year anniversary of me realizing I’m a fast runner,” Croeni said. “I’m going to do whatever it takes to win state.”

Kaler kicked it up a notch to defeat two runners for Columbia River for first place at the 3A district championship race Wednesday, at Lewisville Park. The sophomore clocked in at 15:29. He celebrated his big win by shaking the hands of all the runners in the top 20.

“I didn’t want to seem cocky, I just wanted to congratulate the top runners for a great race,” Kaler said. “I’m really happy to win districts, but I won’t let it go to my head. I have a lot of respect for my opponents, and I’m just going to continue to go out and race.”

The Washougal girls and boys both finished second as a team. Kendall Utter finished fourth for the girls with a personal best time of 21:08.4. Tara Duey earned eighth (22:38.9) and Taneal Tanner notched ninth (22:40.1). Sean Eustis snatched fourth for the boys in 16:39.1. Isaac Stinchfield placed 10th (18:06.01) and Brendan Casey was right behind him with a personal best time of 18:16.1.

Four Camas girls finished one after the other at districts. Megan Napier netted fourth place (18:46), followed by Jackie Premo (18:51), Austen Reiter (18:57) and Lindsay Wourms (19:02). Three Prairie High School girls were just a bit faster. The Falcons captured the district title with 31 points and the Papermakers were right behind with 33.

The Camas boys also placed second behind Columbia River. Tucker Boyd took fourth place (15:37) and Austin Vaughan notched ninth (16:06).

The Panthers are going to the 2A district championships Saturday, at Evergreen State College in Olympia. The Papermakers compete in the West Central District championships Saturday, at the American Lake golf course in Tacoma.