The level of competition notched up this past week for the Columbia High cross country team and the Bruin boys responded with a win at an eight-team meet in La Center.

The Bruins bunched their seven varsity runners in the top 18 places, scoring 37 points to best runner-up La Center by 17 points on Oct. 6.

Junior Camden Uffelman was second to La Center’s Joseph Blanshan in the 5,000-meter boys race. Uffelman was timed in 18 minutes, 18 seconds. Blanshan, also a junior, won the race in 17:05; he won the individual district title during the 2021 spring season, as well as the 2019 individual crown as a frosh.

Columbia’s team depth was the difference in the boys race. The Bruins’ second through seventh runners were within 60 seconds of each other. That bunching will be key for the Bruins, as they begin to taper for the season-ending meets.

Columbia junior Ella Zimmerman was fourth in the La Center girls race, leading the Bruins to second place behind the host team. Zimmerman finished in a 22:03. La Center won with 23 points and had the 2-3-5-6-7 finishers. Columbia was second with 68 points.

District favorite Seton Catholic (in both boys and girls) and La Center (ranked No. 2 for girls and 3 for boys behind Columbia) will be in White Salmon this week for Columbia’s second home meet this season on Wednesday. Races begin at 3:45 p.m.

The Columbia meet will be a preview of the Trico League championship race Oct. 20 at Vancouver Lake, and the 1A/2A District IV meet Oct. 28 at Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland. Top teams and individuals at district qualify for the WIAA state meet Nov. 6 in Pasco.