The look on Alexa Efraimson’s face during those final 50 meters of desperation in the 800 told the story.
She was pushing her body, mind and soul to the brink to become a state champion Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School. But on this day, Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish, was just a step ahead of the Camas freshman.
“I feel like I couldn’t have given it any more than I did,” Efraimson said.
The Papermaker stumbled across the finish line, in a breathtaking time of 2 minutes, 10.51 seconds, before collapsing on to her knees in complete exhaustion. She had just broken the meet record of 2:10.98 set by Penny Graves of Port Angeles in 1983.
Neale was not in much better shape. She pulled up lame at the finish line with a strained hamstring, but she still won the race with a time of 2:10.32.
“Every time we race, I know I’m going to be pushed to the max,” Efraimson said. “That’s the type of competitor she is and the competitor I am.”
Efraimson is proud of the personal records she set at the Oregon Relays, Centennial Invitational and the Jesuit Relays. It made her believe that becoming a state champion is possible. And she still has three more years to go.
“I have to make sure I remember that even though I didn’t get what I wanted, there are still a lot of positives,” she said. “That was a great race I can be proud of. I’d rather get second and be on the podium than not be up there at all.”
Efraimson was one of many Papermakers giving their all on the track and field for Camas. Senior Austen Reiter said good bye to four great years by running with her teammates Camille Parsons and Alissa Pudlitzke in the 1,600. Reiter took 10th (5:07.87), followed by Parsons in 11th (5:10.55) and Pudlitzke in 13th (5:15.49).
“It was just a really memorable moment and the climax of my career,” Reiter said. “To have two of my friends alongside me to take the pressure off and have a little fun made it a really good experience.”
Reiter will continue her career at Western Washington University. She is excited to see the Camas girls cross country runners defend their state championship in the fall.
“I’m can’t wait to come back as a spectator and cheer on these girls,” she said. “It’s cool for me to be able to take part in what is just the beginning of their process. I’m so proud of all these girls. They’ve grown so much. They feel like my little sisters.”
Senior Scott Feather finished fifth in the discus with a toss of 152 feet, 4 inches. His older brother John and sister Kerrin both placed seventh at state. Scott also took seventh at state last season. On Friday, he broke the family curse.
“I’m the last one of my family, and I wanted to make an impression,” Feather said. “My last throw was my best throw of the season. That’s something I’m always going to remember.”
A strained quad limited senior Syndey Allen to just one jump in her first and only state meet. That one leap of 36-4.5 was good enough for fifth place in the triple jump.
“What a pleasure it was to have Sydney Allen out for this one year,” said head coach Alisa Wise. “She got one solid jump in to get on the podium. In her only shot at a state medal, she showed the composure that a four-time state competitor would.”
As the first racer on the track for Camas Thursday, Pudlitzke set the tone by placing sixth in the 3,200 with a personal best time of 11:11.61. Amber Corbett clinched fifth in the javelin with a throw of 128-7. Kimi Knight, Savanna Joyce, Parsons and Efraimson earned sixth in the 1,600 relay (4:04.06).
Blane Behrent grabbed seventh on the pole vault (13 feet), Lauren Neff notched eighth in the high jump (5 feet) and Joyce leaped to eighth in the long jump (16-9.75). Kathryn Johnson claimed ninth in the high jump (4-10) and Triton Pitassi took 15th in the shot put (45-4.75). Andrew Kaler finished 13th in the 3,200 (9:42.33) and 16th in the 1,600 (4:30.69). Alex Pien placed 14th in the 1,600 (4:27.14) and the 3,200 (9:47.06).