As the youngest competitor in a field of world leaders and champions, Alexa Efraimson put all she had into each stride and loved every second of it.
The 17-year-old from Camas earned 10th place in the Elite 1,500-meter race Saturday, at the Adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meet, at Icahn Stadium, on Randall’s Island, in New York City. She finished with a personal best time of 4 minutes, 7.25 seconds. It is the second fastest time by a high school runner in the United States.
“I was a little nervous, but I just wanted to give it all I had,” Efraimson told reporters after the race. A video of her interview is available at www.DistancePreps.com.
If Efraimson was scared, she didn’t show any signs of backing down to coach Mike Hickey.
“Warming up at this meet as a freshman two years ago, the nerves were very apparent. Her maturity this time around really showed,” Hickey said. “She raced really sound and used up every ounce of energy left in her body. It was a very courageous effort.”
Abeba Aregawi, who runs for Sweden, won the race with a meet record time of 4:00.13. Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum snagged second place in 4:00.66. Jennifer Simpson (4:02.54) took third place and Shannon Rowbury (4:03.36) followed in fourth place for the United States.
Mary Cain ran a 4:04.62 1,500 during her junior season at Bronxville High School, in New York. Efraimson is less than three seconds off that best high school time in the nation.
“God has blessed her with a ton of talent,” Hickey said of Efraimson. “Her parents did such a great job of raising a kid who is humble, determined, hard working and selfless. She’ll build up her teammates before she builds up herself.”
Before a race, Efraimson loves to write an inspirational quote on her leg. On Saturday, she drew strength from a famous statement by U.S. women’s World Cup and Olympic soccer player Mia Hamm.
“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.”