Winning races are baby steps for Alexa Efraimson.
On Saturday, she stood on top of a mountain as a 4A state champion in the 800 and the 1,600 after setting new meet record times in each event.
“This is what the whole season is about,” said the Camas High School sophomore. “I was thinking about my teammates and how hard we trained for this. The realization sets in that state is the end. It’s sad, but I’m very happy.”
Efraimson stunned the crowd at Mount Tahoma High School, in Tacoma, Thursday when she crossed the finish line in the 1,600 with a time of 4 minutes, 39.25 seconds. Not only was it a meet record, but it became the new best time in the nation.
The Papermaker capped off a memorable weekend by winning the 800 with a new meet record time of 2:08.17. It was redemption for Efraimson after falling short of the 800 state title during her freshman season.
“That was all part of the drive for me. I wasn’t able to win state last year, so I really wanted to do it this year,” she said. “It shows all the hard work and improvement from last year to this year.”
Efraimson dedicated her state titles to her coaches and teammates. Looking across the horizon, she still sees more mountains to climb.
“This is just the beginning,” she vowed. “There are bigger things to come.”
Grayson Anderson couldn’t smash through that 6-foot, 8-inch ceiling at the state meet. The Camas senior settled for second place in the high jump at 6-6.
“I thought I would be devastated, but I’m pretty content with how I performed,” Anderson said. “We all have this great sense of pride in wearing the Papermaker uniform. You see your teammates out there setting [personal records], and you know you were there with them every step of the way.”
The Camas girls track and field team finished in fifth place with 35.5 points, just a half point shy of third place and 6.5 points behind state champion Federal Way.
Seniors Amber Corbett and McKenna Jackson fulfilled their mission by reaching the final flight of the javelin event together.
“It feels so good to know that we went out there and gave it all we had,” Jackson said. “It’s sad that it’s the end of our senior year, but we went out with a bang.”
Jackson took sixth place with a toss of 127 feet, 10 inches. Corbett followed in seventh place with a throw of 126-10.
“I was dreading that last throw,” Corbett said. “I just had to take all the nerves and turn it into excitement and happiness for making it this far.”
Sophomores Alissa Pudlitzke placed fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 11:01.39. It wasn’t a personal best, but Pudlitzke improved upon her sixth-place finish as a freshman.
“I’m thankful that my coaches got me up here and my teammates made me believe,” she said. “To see my progression makes me even more excited for cross country and track next season.”
Pudlitzke enjoyed watching her teammates perform, especially Efraimson. They have been inseparable on the track since middle school.
“It’s crazy that I get to be on the same team as her, and that she’s my best friend,” Pudlitzke said. “It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come since middle school and freshman year. We still have two more years left.”
Caleigh Lofstead snatched sixth place in the pole vault with a personal best leap of 10-6. Nicole Corbett clinched sixth place in the discus with a toss of 118-9. Lauren Neff took 10th place in the high jump by clearing 5-2. Camille Parsons finished 14th in the 1,600 in 5:09.67.
Josh Ryan leaped 21-9 in the long jump to finish in seventh place. Blaine Behrent pole vaulted 13 feet and landed in 10th place. Andrew Kaler took 14th place in the 1,600 (4:23.90) and 15th place in the 3,200 (9:53.74).