Efraimson's glory road ends with Nike Cross National title

Alexa Efraimson gets off to a fast start in the Nike Cross National girls championship race Saturday, at Portland Meadows. She won with a time of 16:50.1. Buy this photo

Just when Sarah Baxter and Elise Cranny thought they were the only ones fighting for the Nike Cross National Championship, Alexa Efraimson left them both out in the cold.

The Camas High School junior beat the two frontrunners to the finish line with a time of 16 minutes, 50.1 seconds. Efraimson added a national title to her state and regional accolades.

“My goal was to max out, do my absolute best and have no regrets,” Efraimson said. “I have no regrets today. I’m really happy right now.”

The three favorites pushed themselves through the twists, turns and obstacles. After she cleared the final set of hay bales and dropped into the last down hill section, Efraimson made her big move.

“You know that kick that you have, now would be a good time to use it,” she told herself. “Coming down that back stretch, I remembered this quote that goes ‘come on kid, this is your dream.’ I was just thinking about that at the end.”

Watching eagerly near the finish line, Efraimson’s coach Mike Hickey could barely stand the tension.

“I closed my eyes and said, ‘that’s the best she’s got. Thanks for this incredible opportunity,’” he said. “And then, I opened my eyes and realized she had a lot more left.”

Efraimson put the finishing touches on her glory road. She is the Washington state 4A cross country champion, the Nike Cross Northwest Regional Champion, the Nike Borderclash 13 Champion and now the Nike Cross National Champion.

“Honestly, I’m speechless. I feel so blessed to be a part of her life right now,” Hickey said. “You can’t coach that kind of heart. She’s just an incredible athlete. The best one I have ever coached.”