Alex Niemiec, Canyon cross country, Jr.
On the course: The Canyon boys made history last Friday morning at the Class 4A state meet at Round Rock’s Old Settler’s Park, and Niemiec was at the the front of it. Niemiec, who won the District 3-4A meet and was second in the Region I-4A meet, set the pace early over the 3-mile course, leading the pack by less than a second after the first mile and was .2 seconds off the lead after two miles. He didn’t keep it up enough to reach the medal podium, as he was fourth with a time of 16 minutes, 15.5 seconds, but he set the tone for the rest of his team. Lathan Lewter (seventh place) and Miguel Arce (ninth place) also had top 10 finishes for Canyon, who was the only team with multiple top 10 finishers. That meant that Canyon won the team title with 40 points, well ahead of second place LaFeria, giving coach Wes Kirton his first state team title in 21 years at Canyon.
Kirton: “His goal was shooting for that podium. He got ninth last year. This year the race went out a little bit slower and that probably lent itself to some kickers coming in there. I think he performed right up to where we thought he would be. It was a little bit more breezy on that race day and there were some course changes so his time was a little bit slower, but he performed real well. We’ve been training this year to run within yourself, but the good thing about our team is that they’re all pretty close in their aerobic capacity and where they train so they’re used to being close to each other. When one athlete is close to the other it spurs them on. When (Niemiec) is up there pushing that and another teammate sees that, it’s an invite to join him. I think that most athletes find that fine line between something that they like to do and something that I love to do. He’s finding that love for the sport and still developing.”
Niemiec: “I think that I pushed myself well and was able to go compete. It was a good time for how hard that course was with the conditions. We wanted to give (Kirton) that state championship. He’s been coaching for so long and we were finally the ones to be able to do it. I knew our times weren’t going to be super-fast because the course was pretty long and the conditions were pretty wet, but my goal was to place well to earn my team the least amount of points we could get. Right after I finished the line, once I got my breath back, it really hit me when I saw three of my teammates were already across the line. That was just amazing just seeing how close our front four were. I wouldn’t say it’s completely sunk in yet but it’s definitely cool knowing we’re the first time in 27 years to win that state championship for Canyon cross country.”
Favorite band or musician: Coldplay
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
Favorite athlete: Mike Trout
Bet you didn’t know: Loves playing soccer
Parents: Frank and Laura Niemiec