The Camas High School cross country athletes approached Friday’s Run-A-Ree as if it was a race for the unofficial Clark County championship.
“By the look in everybody’s eyes, you could tell that we wanted to race and were excited to race,” said Papermaker head coach Mike Hickey.
The Camas boys and girls bested 13 other Clark County schools in the freshman/sophomore, junior varsity and varsity levels, including their new league rivals Battle Ground, Skyview and Union. Alexa Efraimson finished first in the varsity girls race, and set a new course record time of 18 minutes. The previous record of 18:18 was held by Skyview’s Priscilla Timmons.
“It was a good way to start the season, but I know that it’s not going to be my best race,” Efraimson said. “This just shows how serious we are and how dedicated we are this early in the season. It can only go up from here.”
Efraimson beat Alexis Fuller of Union by 42 seconds. Alissa Pudlitzke took third for the Papermakers in 19:16, Maddie Woodsen followed in fourth (19:22) and Camille Parsons placed seventh (20:33).
Madison Smith (16:16), Catherine Harper (16:24), Ashley Meyer (16:34) and Nicole Sheard (16:41) notched second, third, fourth and fifth in the junior varsity race. The varsity races were 5,000 meters, and the junior varsity and freshman/sophomore races were 3,600 meters.
Andrew Kaler claimed second for the Camas boys in the varsity race (16:11). Tucker Boyd took fourth (16:25) and Andrew Duffy snatched sixth (16:34). Battle Ground’s Mark Tedder won the race in 15:40, and beat the meet record set by Dylan Croeni of Washougal by one second.
“A win for the team definitely gives us some confidence,” Kaler said. “We’re in a new division. To get a jump start like that gets us excited.”
The Camas junior varsity boys had a perfect day. Daniel Osterhage (18:04), Adam Peterson (18:23), Riley Hein (18:29), Liam Bradley (18:35), David Woodson (18:40), Cassius Johnson (19:13) and Francisco Ughi (19:24) grabbed the top 10 places in order. Dustin Zimmerley (12:41) and Ryan Gunther (12:45) finished first and second in the freshman/sophomore race.
Washougal had some surprises at the Run-A-Ree. Bailey Duncan (12:50) and Luke Belzer (13:23) took third and fifth to lead the Panthers to second place in the freshman/sophomore division. Anthony Velardi (20:08) and Blake Roberts (20:42) led the junior varsity boys, and Nicolas Velardi (20:15) and Darian Tierney (21:06) paced the varsity boys. Seniors Sean Eustis and Isaac Stinchfield did not run at this event.
Karina Miller (23:23), Paige Roberts (23:52) and Hannah Wright (24:42) ran strong for Washougal in the varsity girls race. Serene Dunn (18:07) earned 13th in the junior varsity girls race.
Camas enters the Jesuit Invitational Friday, at Pier Park in Portland. Washougal goes to the Saxon Invitational Saturday, in Salem.