The future’s so bright for the Camas High School cross country runners, they got to wear shades.
Seniors Megan Napier and Camille Parsons, junior Mckenzie Good, sophomores Alexa Efraimson and Alissa Pudlitzke, and freshmen Maddie Woodson and Alexa Jones have pushed their state championship season all the way to the Nike Cross National Invitational Saturday, at the Portland Meadows racetrack. The girls championship race begins at 10:05 a.m.
“I feel honored for the opportunity to run against some of the most amazing runners in the nation,” Woodson said.
“Our team goal is to have our best race on the same day, like we have all season,” Efraimson added.
Team Camas earned second place out of 15 teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii at the NXN Northwest Regional meet Nov. 10, at Eagle State Park in Boise. Efraimson took third place out of 128 runners (17:42.9), Pudlitzke placed 13th (18:48.2), Napier notched 29th (19:20), Woodson grabbed 36th (19:27.5) and Parsons claimed 45th (19:34.4). Good (20:54.4) and Jones (21:16.12) rounded out the effort.
Efraimson conquered the national obstacle course by herself last season. She said she’ll be in her element on Saturday because her teammates will be right by her side instead of just cheering her on from the sidelines.
It will be the last high school cross country race for Napier and Parsons. But there’s still track season to look forward to in the spring.
“It’s exciting to finish on such a high note, but at the same time, it’s sad because this is the last time I will ever get to do this with my team,” Parsons said.
“The best part about making it to nationals for me is that I get to run another race with my team,” Napier said. “Austen Reiter always asked herself, ‘Am I doing everything I can to become a better runner?’ Of course, the answer is always no. There’s always something you can be doing to help yourself improve. That’s something I just want to keep in my mind as I prepare for this race.”
The sophomores and freshmen are looking for their opportunity to shine. They are the future of this program.
“I have improved so much this year and so have my teammates,” Pudlitzke said. “To go to a national meet like this is something I could have never dreamed of when I came to Camas High School. It’s going to be so hard to let this season go because of the seniors.”
“It’s not over yet,” Jones said. “We have no idea what’s going to happen. We have to prepare for this like it is any other race.”
The Papermakers said they wouldn’t have been able to reach this platform without their former captains and teammates. This race is for Reiter, Lindsay Wourms, Kayla Blackford, Emily Thomas and all the Camas runners who came before them.
“We have to remember that we are representing all of Camas High School because that’s how we got here,” Napier said. “We are just the lucky runners who get to experience it.”