Terry Click escapes life’s hustle and bustle with a board and a paddle. “There is great calmness as I am gliding across the water,” he said. “I usually am mesmerized by the water peeling off the nose of the board, how quiet it is, how elegant. I appreciate all the nature around me and feel at one with it.”
Even at age 60, Roger Russell has no problem plowing through the mud. The Camas resident earned first place in the over 55 category at the Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race May 31, at Portland International Raceway. He completed the 3-mile, 25-obstacle challenge in 43 minutes, 59.1 seconds.
Pushed by four brothers growing up, Sherrie Geiger would always try to beat them in a race. “I remember those walks at night with my dad and my brothers. The last 10 blocks would always become a race,” she said. “I think from that, I’ve always enjoyed running, chasing after somebody and beating them.”
Firefighters and police officers from Camas, Washougal and Vancouver played a friendly game of basketball Friday, at Camas High School, and donated 313 pounds of canned foods to the Inter-Faith Treasure House, in Washougal.
John Welborn didn’t skate away from his responsibilities as a Mt. Hood Saint. The 2011 Camas High School graduate served as an announcer during the college’s basketball and volleyball games. He also washed baseball uniforms, led the team with a .320 batting average, scored 22 runs, drove in 10 and became a Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s Southern Region First Team outfielder.
A call back to his coaching days in Louisiana and Florida allowed Randy Fox to take a walk down memory lane. The founder and co-owner of the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy, in Camas, will be inducted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame Saturday, in Tampa, Fla.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
The Camas High School boys soccer team carried the dream of getting to the Final Four back to Doc Harris Stadium Saturday, only to have another nightmare in a shootout. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said senior midfielder Matt Palodichuk. “I think all of us put everything out there We just couldn’t finish our chances.” Ferris, of Spokane, defeated the Papermakers 2-1 (5-4 in a shootout) to advance to the semifinal round of the state tournament. The season ends for Camas with just two losses, both on shootouts.
The Camas and Union softball teams shared the league title, but there could only be one district champion. After defeating Heritage, Evergreen and Battle Ground just to get this opportunity, the Papermakers were going to settle for nothing less than the grand prize. They capped off an incredible week by beating the Titans 6-4 for the district title Thursday, at Heritage High School. “It was exhausting this week, but I am very proud of everyone for the endurance it took to get through this last game,” said Harli Hubbard. The senior pitched all 29 innings for Camas and racked up 58 strikeouts. She said every pitch was worth it.
Amelia Quatermass, Christina Zack and Haley Briggs are still grinning after what they accomplished for Washougal at the sub-district tennis tournament. “You can tell everyone on this team wants it,” Quatermass said. “We may be a small school, but we can do this. It’s all in the heart.” Quatermass wore her heart on her sleeve as she outlasted Ridgefield’s Sarah Kaufman 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 for the sub-district singles tournament championship Saturday, at R.A. Long High School. Zack and Briggs fought with desire and defeated Jamie Isaacson and Amber Olson of Mark Morris 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 to become sub-district doubles champions for the second year in a row.
Competition heated up for the Camas High School track and field athletes at the district meet Wednesday and Thursday, at McKenzie Stadium. So did the weather. Riley Hein started the meet off right for the Papermakers by winning the 3,200-meter run in 9 minutes, 47.64 seconds. The CHS senior came out strong in the first three laps and built a solid lead before the 90-degree temperature sapped his energy. Hein settled into a comfortable pace and coasted to the finish line, unchallenged. “I felt a sense of relief. I just had to relax and keep my legs moving,” he said. “It still seemed like a long last lap.”
Returning to the state tournament for the 16th season in a row and earning 300 career victories for coach Roland Minder are important milestones, but the Camas High School boys soccer team isn’t celebrating. “This is just the first bump in the road,” said senior co-captain Nate Beasley. “All we did was make it to the tournament. We haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
Chalk this victory up as the biggest one in the last decade of Washougal High School softball. Mark Morris rallied from two runs down to take the lead in the top of the seventh inning Monday, but the Panthers dug their nails into the dirt and refused to lose. Courtney Shelley kicked off the comeback charge by lacing a 2-out single up the middle, stealing second base and advancing to third base on a pitch off the catcher’s glove. Morgan Ratcliff walked and took the open second base to set the table for Madisen Baldwin.
After bleeding Papermaker red for 15 years, Joe Hallead said the time has come to ride his Harley off into the sunset. He and his wife bought a condo near Las Vegas, where she has a high paying job. As Hallead searches for the next teaching and coaching opportunity, he knows there will be no place like Camas. “It’s impossible for me not to continue to be a Papermaker,” Hallead said. “I’ve put every ounce of effort into teaching, coaching and making this community a better place. It’s all I’ve ever known. “This will leave a hole in my heart, but I’m taking lots of great stories with me.”
Camas and Skyview played 270 minutes of soccer in three games without a decisive winner. Only one team could be the district champion. Skyview got the glory when the Storm beat the Papermakers on PKs 4-3 Saturday, at McKenzie Stadium. “I’m proud of this team. We had full effort. They were committed,” said Camas head coach Roland Minder. “A shootout does not prove who is the better team. They won the game today, but it could have easily been the other way.”
The Camas softball team got back on the winning side of life Monday, with a 2-1 victory at Skyview. Harli Hubbard allowed one unearned run for the Papermakers and gained 11 strikeouts. Freshman call up Alli Hancock went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and drove in the first run for Camas in the top of the second inning. Tori O’Neil added a fielder’s choice RBI in the same inning.
Competing in front of friends and family members motivated the Panthers to go the extra mile for Washougal Friday. “We’re not just some small town out here by the railroad tracks,” said junior sprinter Donald Holbert. “When you put in the effort and the hard work, you can become anything you want to become.”
Although they compete for rival high schools, Alexa Efraimson, Alexis Fuller and Alissa Pudlitzke dreamed of achieving this moment together. The three Camas runners embraced after clinching the top three spots in the Jesuit Twilight Elite 1,500-meter run Friday, in Beaverton, Ore. Efraimson finished in first for the Papermakers with a time of 4 minutes, 21.1 seconds. Fuller earned second for the Union Titans in 4:37.04. Pudlitzke followed in third for the Papermakers in 4:37.62.
The Washougal High School track and field family is looking forward to the next eight days at Fishback Stadium. Ridgefield comes to town today for an important meet against the Panthers. The Washougal girls are fighting for redemption after losing the league title to the Spudders in 2013. “There will be no convincing. If kids need to step into any type of event for us, they will do it without question,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “That’s a great attitude to have. These kids want to compete.”
The Washougal High School boys soccer team got ahead of R.A. Long again Thursday, at Fishback Stadium. This time, there would be no let up by the Panthers. They chopped down the Lumberjacks 6-1 and earned redemption after a 3-2 overtime loss April 9, in Longview. “As soon as that last whistle blew, I’ve been waiting for revenge,” said senior midfielder Patrick Johnson. “That’s what tonight was all about.”
Before dancing the night away at prom, the Camas High School baseball team took care of business on the diamond. The Papermakers defeated first place Union 1-0 Saturday, behind seven innings of 5-hit baseball thrown by Dylan White. He also struck out nine Titans. Six of them were caught looking at strike three. “What a pitching performance,” said head coach Joe Hallead. “I looked him in the eye after we lost to Skyview yesterday and told him he had to carry us, and that’s what he did. You couldn’t ask for more out of a senior captain than what he gave us today.”
So the question remains, which team is better? Camas and Skyview scored goals this time and still nothing was settled after another 90 minutes of soccer at its finest Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Nate Beasley and Cameron Eyman came through with hard fought goals for the Papermakers, but Carter Johnson and Brandon Zilles became the equalizers for the Storm.
Alissa Pudlitzke, Jordan Davis, Maddie Woodson and Alexa Efraimson made their presence felt on the track under the lights at Hayward Field Friday. The four Camas Papermakers combined their talents to clinch first place in the Oregon Relays distance medley race with a new Washington state record time of 11 minutes, 54.19 seconds. “This brought back the team aspect from cross country. Track is more of an individual sport, but I love the relays,” Efraimson said. “This is my favorite relay because it encompasses all the challenges of racing, distance wise, into one event.”
Washougal High School seniors Brian Connolly, Thomas Normandeau, Mackenzie Pfeifer and Adam Thomas delivered on the track and in the field at the Al McKee Invitational Saturday. Connolly cleared 6 feet on the high jump to finish in first place. He also clinched second place in the javelin with a throw of 122 feet, 2 inches.
Ryan Dietzman and Trace Jacquot are destined for the Junior Olympic Men’s National Gymnastics Championships May 7 to 11, in Long Beach, Calif. They say this journey would not be possible without coach Zdravko Stoianov and the Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy, in Camas. “My mindset is to do it for myself, my coach and for VEGA as a whole,” said Dietzman, a Level 10 gymnast from Camas.
The Camas baseball team stood out on the field Monday in their new red, white and black digital camouflage jerseys. So did the Papermakers’ hitting, pitching and defense. McKinley LeFore held defending state champion Skyview to two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Sam Jones threw a Skyview runner out at home plate. Blake Christopher leaped up and caught a line drive between first and second base. He also hit a run-scoring triple in the first inning. Jones snagged a sizzling grounder in the gap between second and third base, jumped back to his feet and threw the batter out at first.
Kannon Burchette, Cash Johnson, Chad Menor and Bryce Tabbut never leave home without their lacrosse sticks. “I just love this sport. Even if I was on vacation, I’d still have my stick with me,” Johnson said. “Get a stick. Hit the wall. Try it out.”
Brian Connolly didn’t let a flesh wound keep him from flying through the air. “My steps were a little off [in the long jump], so I tried to make up for it with my form,” he said. “The moment I threw my feet forward, I knew I had cut my wrist.”
Rain delayed the showdown between Camas and state champion Skyview until after spring break. In the meantime, the Papermakers took what the rest of the 4A Greater St. Helens League could dish out in three days. Camas shut down Heritage 4-0 Wednesday. McKinley LeFore pitched six innings of 1-hit baseball and gained 10 strikeouts. Sam Jones and Dylan White delivered 2-run doubles.
Ninety minutes of soccer settled nothing between the Camas and Skyview high school boys soccer teams April 1, at Kiggins Bowl. “I love the competition and intensity,” said Camas defender Lucas Ulmer. “It’s a lot more fun when the game is played at the speed it’s supposed to be played.” The Papermakers and the Storm gasped in disbelief after their shots hit the post, sailed wide of the net or wound up in the hands of the opposing goalkeeper. Camas keeper Sharif Batroukh dove left and right to snare three saves. Evan Laws earned five saves for Skyview.
The Camas High School softball team continues to hit, pitch and play defense in hopes of gaining bigger rewards after spring break. The Papermakers rode a bus to Sandy, Ore., Saturday to face the defending 5A state champions. The Pioneers broke through with the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Camas rose up to the challenge and won the game in eight innings. “That’s why I wanted to play Sandy,” said head coach Ken Nidick. “Quality teams make you better in the long run.”
The Camas High School baseball team returned from the sunny side of Washington state on a mission. Hitting, defense and a total team effort helped the Papermakers defeat Evergreen 10-4 Monday, for their first league victory of the season. The Papermakers pounded out 15 hits in the ballgame, and held the Plainsmen to just three.
Four days of rain evaporated after three Camas base hits in the top of the first inning Monday, at Mountain View. Lena Richards and Katie Schroeder laced back-to-back singles, and Harli Hubbard brought them both home on a 2-run triple. “It felt natural,” Hubbard said. “We missed a few outdoor practices, but it didn’t feel like we did.”
The game of soccer can change on the flip of a coin. After cashing in three goals during the first half against defending 3A state champion Bonney Lake March 22, the Papermakers were barely able to afford the two they needed to defeat Columbia River 2-0 Wednesday at Doc Harris Stadium. “We didn’t play as good of soccer as we normally play, but we got the result. Pre-season is all about learning,” said senior midfielder Matt Palodichuk. “Soccer is a game of ups and downs. How you react to those down moments defines the heart of a team.”
Competitors couldn’t leap higher than Caleigh Lofstead, hurdle quicker than Jordan Davis or run faster than Alexa Efraimson. Nobody in Camas High School track and field history has either. Years of performing gymnastics turned Lofstead into a natural pole vaulter. On March 25, she battled wind, rain, and thunder and lightning delays, but she still sailed over the bar placed 11 feet above to set a new school record.
Wherever Andrew Ziegler goes, Luna will be two steps behind while her nose stays two steps ahead. “When I’m out with her, I’m never alone,” Ziegler said. “It’s like a missing part of me has been filled. I couldn’t imagine life without her.” The 20-month-old trained diabetes alert service black labrador retriever from Pieces of the Universe follows the 16-year-old Camas High School sophomore to his classes and band practices. She also keeps a cautious eye on his blood sugar level while he sleeps. Ziegler was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 2 years old and has been on an insulin pump since he was 5. Constantly living in fear for her son’s life, Sharon would wake him up in the middle of the night to check his blood sugar. Now she can rest comfortably knowing that Luna is always on guard.
Cameron Pierce and Connor Heredia drove in runs for Camas, while Dylan White was dealing into the seventh inning with a no hitter. Prairie then made the Papermakers sweat. The potential final batter for the Falcons reached first base safely after a Camas outfielder lost the ball in the bright sun. With White approaching the 90-pitch count, head coach Joe Hallead reluctantly took him out of the game.
Who let the Panthers out? Scratch. Claw. Roar. After losing every single baseball game in 2013, Washougal has already won three games in 2014. The come-from-behind 6-5 victory against La Center Thursday in extra innings could be just the start of a special season for the Panthers. “This is a much better place to be, and we’re excited,” said head coach Greg Lewis. “I saw more fans out here today than I did all of last season. They’re excited about the brand of baseball we’re putting on the field.”
With the help of her Papermaker sisters, Harli Hubbard was untouchable against Washougal March 18 at Camas High School. The senior struck out 10 Panthers and surrendered two walks and zero hits in five innings pitched. That’s all it took for the Papermakers to win the softball game 18-0. Camas put five runs on the board in the first inning, three in the second, seven in the third and three in the fourth. Hubbard went 2-for-4 at the plate with a triple, single, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Lena Richards drove in two runs on two hits and scored four times. Katie Schroeder and Cailyn Grindy delivered 2-run singles in the first inning. Jennifer Ross added an RBI single in the first.
Ryan Dietzman pumped up the jam on the high bar. The 16-year-old Level 10 Camas gymnast delivered a perfect dismount and landing to earn a goal medal during the USAG Washington state men’s gymnastics championships Saturday evening, at the Clark County Event Center. “It was such a clean and crisp routine,” Dietzman said. “It felt so good.”
Thanks to good, home cooking and lots of tender love and care, Louis Bloch Park is ready for it’s grand re-opening to Camas-Washougal Babe Ruth Saturday, March 29. “I grew up and played ball here. My goal is to bring back that community and family feel around the ballpark,” said League President Jaycop Collins. “We want people to come on down and have a burger and enjoy a game. Have this become their restaurant for the summer.” Collins played baseball at Louis Bloch Park between 1993 and 1997. He also served as a coach for a few seasons after graduating from Washougal High School in 1997.
The hard work of these Washougal and Stevenson horseback riders is all for the final district three showcase April 17 to 20, at the Grays County Fairgrounds in Elma. “It’s an adrenaline rush,” said Washougal Equestrian Team President Fee Harrison. “It’s my senior year, so this is the last impression I can leave on everybody. It’s also really sad because I grew up in this sport. It developed who I am, what I stand for and what my morals are.” Harrison hopes this won’t be her last ride at a high school equestrian meet. Neither do fellow seniors Savannah Lehman, Mattie Olson, Megan Templer and Shelby Valaer. They all want to compete for state medals May 8 to 11, at the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds in Lynden.