Every successful athlete has unique attributes that make them elite competitors. The Making a Contender series will showcase what makes some of the best Pennsylvania athletes.
Annaliese Niebauer of Central Cambria is the reigning 2A district six champion and the 2021 PIAA 2A State Cross Country 12th place finisher. Her objective this season is to improve her finish at the state meet and go for a title with her team.
Team is a prevalent theme for the senior. When asked what motivates Niebauer, she said, "achieving goals that we set as a team, a PR can be motivating, but a team goal is better."
Niebauer is very close with her squad. Not only is their comradery one of her favorite parts of the sport, but her team also plays a vital role in how she prepares for big races.
"I know they have my back, and they know I have theirs," she said. "My team is a family; we look out for each other and make sure we are all calm. We trust in our training and in each other."
With such a big emphasis on working with those around her, there is no wonder Niebauer has been a critical part of three straight district team titles for the lady Red Devils. Though the humble runner still attributes her and the team's success to her coach's influence.
When asked who has had the most significant impact on her running, she stated, "My coach Randy Willson, he is always a positive influence and is always encouraging us to do our best; I don't know where I would be without him."
When she isn't training with her teammates, Niebauer puts a lot of emphasis on her academics. She is taking multiple AP classes, is a member of the National Honors Society, and is the lead programmer for her school's FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Team. This is a contest where schools put together teams of students to build and program robots for various competitions.
With this experience, Niebauer plans to study energy engineering after she finishes high school. She is interested in developing technology that utilizes the potential of wave energy.
Finding success on the cross-country course and in the classroom, it comes without surprise that she also excels on the track.
Last spring Niebauer ran a leg of the 2022 PIAA 2A State Champion 4x800-meter relay team. The team ran a time of 9:30.53. She also finished second in the 3200-meter run at the 2022 2A district six championship with an 11:24.73.
Niebauer is a prime example of what it means to be a student-athlete. She embodies what it takes to be a Pennsylvania state contender.