Lighting a match on the grand stage

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.

Destined for success

Nick McAfee courageously ran a youth camp at the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy on the same day he broke three metatarsal bones in his left foot. The Camas High School senior organized the event for his senior project. He said 15 boys participated, and about half of them had never done gymnastics before.

Final showcase

Lena Richards is loud and proud to be a softball player. After shouting words of encouragement to the Papermakers all season long, the Camas High School senior second baseman was the loudest one in the dugout during the Southwest Washington All-Star Challenge Wednesday, on the Clark College softball field.

Golfers roll at state

If Brian Humphreys had one word to describe his second high school state tournament, it would be “educational.” The defending champion from Camas High School was uncharacteristically 5-over par after the first three holes at Camas Meadows Wednesday. “The first day was a good experience for me to have,” Humphreys said. “It was one of the most nervous days I’ve had on the golf course. I think it will teach me how to deal with nerves like that in the future.”

Washougal high risers

Four Washougal High School seniors put the final stamp on their careers as Panthers with state medals. Adam Thomas rose to third place in the pole vault and tied his personal best mark of 14 feet, 6 inches. Thomas Normandeau ran to third place in the 800-meter event and improved his school record to 1 minute, 55.74 seconds. Mackenzie Pfeifer fired the javelin to fifth place with the throw of 124 feet, 1 inch. Michelle Greear grabbed fifth place in the discus with a toss of 112 feet, 9 inches. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” Greear said of the four Panthers bringing home state medals. “Our school better be proud of us because we worked really hard for this.”

Second to none

Up on the podium is where the Camas High School track and field athletes wanted to go, and they got there together. Sixteen Papermakers earned state medals Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The Camas girls rose to second place against 48 other schools in the state. They also set a national record, two state records and five school records. “I’m really proud of all the girls,” said junior distance runner Alissa Pudlitzke. “I’ve seen all of us working hard every day in practice, rain or shine, to get here. It’s been a great season.”

State of shock

Hannah Gianan, Jen Lewis and Esther Kwon rode home from Richland in a state of shock. Lewis and Gianan defeated Union’s Jelena Vidovic and Sydney Wallace in the championship round for the third time in the past three weeks. After losing in the first round of the singles bracket, Kwon won three matches in a row to finish in fifth place. These efforts helped the Papermakers earn third place at the state tennis tournament. “It was hard to believe it actually all happened,” Kwon said. “I’m really proud of Jen and Hannah, and I can’t thank our coaches enough for their encouragement. It really was a great bonding experience for all of us.”

Washougal sends four seniors to state meet

Thomas Normandeau and Adam Thomas clinched district championships for Washougal Friday, in Olympia. Michelle Greear and Mackenzie Pfeifer also punched their tickets to the state track and field meet Thursday through Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School, in Tacoma. “You hope they enjoy their last competition in high school,” head coach Dave Hajek said of the four seniors. “They have earned the right to be there. It’s a perfect opportunity for them to celebrate their accomplishments with family.”

Washougal softball team overmatched at districts

The Washougal softball team was happy to be in the district tournament for the first time in a decade, but heartbroken over the results. “We accomplished the first goal. Now we need to make all the goals,” said junior captain Madisen Baldwin. “Getting to districts will no longer be enough. We want to make it to the second day and then on to state.”

Lewis and Gianan earn doubles bi-district title

Jen Lewis and Hannah Gianan are now bi-district and district doubles tennis champions. All eyes will be on these two Papermakers to see if they can complete the sweep at the state tournament this weekend, in Richland. “We’re good friends. Both of us are relaxed and having a good time while playing,” Gianan said. “Remember to have fun, stay focused, play our game and we’ll be fine.”