After just her first autumn running for Camas High School, Alexa Efraimson’s championship resume is already looking impressive.
The 14-year-old freshman helped the Papermaker girls cross country team capture the state championship. She also represented her state in the Border Clash and became a Nike Cross National All-American.
“I didn’t think I was going to go all the way to nationals in my first year,” Efraimson said. “All I was thinking about was state. I didn’t know you could go even further than that in high school.”
Many teams would wrap it up after winning a state title, but Efraimson and her teammates took advantage of an opportunity to compete together one more time at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional at Engle State Park near Boise, Idaho. Efraimson, Austen Reiter, Alissa Pudlitzke, Lindsay Wourms, Camille Parsons, Megan Napier and Trisha Patterson became the first team from Camas to finish fourth place at the event. Efraimson earned third out of 166 runners to qualify for nationals.
The next weekend, Efraimson, Reiter and Napier helped Team Washington defeat Team Oregon at the Nike Girls Border Clash on the Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Efraimson finished fourth out of 78 of the best runners in both states.
On Dec. 3, Efraimson capped off her championship circuit by placing 14th out of 196 runners in the Nike Cross Nationals championship race at Portland Meadows. Finishing in the top 20 made Efraimson an All-American. Her only regret was not being able to run with the Camas girls who have been there for her since day one.
“Going into nationals, I was nervous about having to warm up alone,” Efraimson said. “But since the race was in Portland, some of the girls from our team came down and warmed me up and cheered me on. It meant so much to me to have their support. I totally went after it because they pumped me up.”
Efraimson was thrilled by her final performance against the best in the nation.
“I just wanted to give it my all for my teammates who were there cheering me on,” she said. “The place you get is not as important as giving your all. At the end of that race, I knew that I did my best.”
She hopes to get another crack at nationals. And the next time, she wants her teammates by her side.
“It will be interesting to see what more I can accomplish and what we can accomplish at a team,” Efraimson said. “It feels like we can win state again and we can qualify for nationals. It would be such an amazing experience to share with the rest of the team.”
Efraimson learned an important lesson on her championship circuit. She can wear a medal around her neck, but it takes a whole team to be able to hoist up a state championship trophy.
“I formed an amazing bond with these girls that can never be replaced,” Efraimson said. “We were never expected to win state. It was a far out chance, but it happened. As long as you can trust in your teammates to work as hard as you do, you can reach that goal together.”