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.
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.
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.”
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.
With vehicles driving on the new 38th Avenue, Caryn and Clark Vitek cannot wait to plant their seeds and watch them grow into the Evergreen Tennis Facility. “It’s the gateway corridor from East Vancouver to Camas,” Caryn said. “We’re looking forward to having great visibility on that new road.” Four indoor courts will be constructed on 2.28 acres of land at 5225 N.W. 38th Ave., next to Fisher Investments, in Camas. These courts will come with two glass cargo doors at each end of the facility, and a translucent ceiling to capture natural light.
The Washington state men’s gymnastics championship meet is coming to Clark County for the first time in more than 20 years. This is the ground breaking opportunity members of the host Vancouver Elite Gymnastics Academy have been striving for since they moved into the Camas Armory building in 2004. It has become home base for gymnasts, dancers, musicians and cheerleaders. “People from all different walks of life come here,” said founding coach and co-owner Randy Fox. “VEGA started with 10 kids 10 years ago. Now, there’s well over a thousand. That’s all from word of mouth and our loyal community.”
Erin Locke is made of iron. Her combination of work ethic and addiction for competition is unbreakable. The cerebral assassin never missed a practice or a meet in four years of high school. She also kept her GPA above 3.5, while qualifying for the postseason four times. By meeting all of that criteria, Locke became the first female to win Washougal High School wrestling’s Ultimate Ironman award.
Six years after losing his grip on the head football coaching position at Washougal High School, Dave Hajek got it back Monday. “Hajek demonstrated throughout the interview process all of the qualities that we are looking for in a coach,” Athletic Director Doug Cox wrote in a press release. “He has a tremendous amount of highly successful experience as a coach and as a player. He understands, and has demonstrated that he is committed to the goals and objectives of an education based athletic program. He is clearly passionate and enthusiastic about the sport, and the personal development of our athletes. He is organized, a good communicator, a capable fundraiser, and a solid role model for our athletes.” A proud Panther since graduating from the high school in 1987, Hajek played football for Eastern Washington University while earning his teaching degree. He returned to his alma mater in 1993 to teach social studies and coach.
Ashley Carter, Emily Karkanen, Caleigh Lofstead and Shannon Ross are the Fantastic Four Camas gymnasts who reached the 4A state meet together Friday, at the Tacoma Dome. Ross finished in 13th place on the floor exercise, with a 9.3, and 18th place on the vault, with an 8.9. The sophomore just missed qualifying for Saturday’s finals on the floor. “I hit that routine like I knew I could,” Ross said. “I left everything on that floor, and I’m walking away happy.”
Look through a roll of paper and you get an idea how Kyle Robiduox sees every day life with retinis pigmentosa. Extreme tunnel vision. No peripheral vision. Not able to see at night. Unable to drive a vehicle. Robiduox was diagnosed with the disease when he was 11 years old, but that didn’t stop him and his older brother Jayson from playing baseball and basketball, or chasing each other down the slopes on skis.
Egged on by her teammates and coaches, Abby Lees reluctantly climbed two flights of stairs to hang the Washougal banner on the top balcony at the Tacoma Dome. The ritual to break in the freshman turned into an impressive event of foreshadowing. During the next two days of wrestling competition, Lees scaled the Mat Classic mountain with a refusal to lose. She defeated Nooksack Valley’s Kylee Dekoekkoek in overtime 6-4 in her first match Friday. Lees then pinned Kendra Maxfield, of Emerald Ridge, with five seconds left on the clock in the final round.
Kasey Calwell completed the backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle laps in a personal best time of 1 minute, 54.23 seconds during Saturday’s 4A state swimming meet, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way.
The Panthers didn’t want to put their regional trophy back in the case, but it’s time for these girls to wrestle for an even bigger prize. Champion Erin Locke, second-place finishers Jessica Eakins, Haven Camden and Abby Lees, and fourth-place medalists Yaneli Martinez, Emily Alder-Storm and Katelyn Purkeypyle helped Washougal beat 14 other schools for the regional title Saturday, at Hoquiam High School. “Even though I won my championship match, bringing home the team trophy was even more exciting,” Locke said. “It was the cherry on top of the sundae.”
Together, the Camas High School gymnasts made history before midnight. Shannon Ross, Ashley Carter, Caleigh Lofstead, Alexis Sabatini, Gabrielle Bird, Hannah Marquis, Riley Truitt, Emily Karkanen, Tamaki Murata and Hope Richter became the first Papermakers to clinch a district gymnastics championship trophy. Camas collected 166.65 points to win the six-team scramble at Northpointe, in Vancouver. Heritage followed in second place with 159.45.
The Papermakers rode the waves they created to win the district title by 100 points Saturday, at Kelso High School. “Once that buzzer goes off, you give it your all and come back the next day for finals and do it all over again,” said junior Lucas Ulmer. “I’m glad we had so many kids push through and help us with the meet. Without them, we wouldn’t have these relays and the meet records.” Kasey Calwell, Tom Utas, Ulmer and John Utas kicked things off with a meet and school record time of 1 minute, 39.67 seconds in the 200-meter medley relay.
The Papermakers rode the waves they created to the district championship by 100 points. Camas won the five-team district meet with 414 points Saturday, at Kelso High School. Union was way back in second place with 314 points. Skyview took third with 156 points.
Together, the Camas High School gymnasts made history before midnight. Shannon Ross, Ashley Carter, Caleigh Lofstead, Alexis Sabatini, Gabrielle Bird, Hannah Marquis, Riley Truitt, Emily Karkanen, Tamaki Murata and Hope Richter became the first Papermakers to clinch a district gymnastics championship trophy. Camas collected 166.65 points to win the six-team scramble at Northpointe, in Vancouver. Heritage followed in second place with 159.45. “We just made history in Camas. It’s cool to be a part of that,” Carter said.
The 2A Greater St. Helens League boys basketball standings shook when Washougal knocked off the first place team and climbed out of the cellar.
Ron and Kelly Stevens have nurtured their children in the Winter Hawks’ nest. Ryan Stevens attended his first hockey game when he was 10 days old. He grew up in Washougal playing East County Pop Warner and Clark County Youth Football. When the Stanley Cup came to the Mountain View Ice Arena in 2011, Ryan waited in line for hours just to see it up close. A picture of him kissing the silver tin was published on The Columbian’s sports page.
Ten Papermakers put pen to paper toward their future destinations after gradutation on National College Signing Day Wednesday. “I’m excited to play football and not have my parents tell me to clean my room,” said Drew Clarkson after signing with Oregon State University. It has been a crazy road up to this point in Clarkson’s life. Eleven months ago, he found out that he had stage 2 testicular cancer. Though surgery, rest and recuperation, Clarkson never lost sight of his goal. He was going to play football during his senior year.
Shelby Chartrand crashed pins with the best bowlers in the state and walked away with an eighth-place medal Friday, at Tacoma Narrows Plaza Bowl. The 14-year-old Camas High School freshman rose above 61 other bowlers with a 1,120 series. She rolled games of 168, 170, 180, 187, 192 and 223. “Every single game, she improved up to that 223,” said coach Doug Huegli. “As the day progressed, she just got stronger and bowled with confidence. It was fun to watch.”
With the 4A district wrestling tournament fast approaching, coach Cory Vom Baur threw down the gauntlet for the Papermakers. “If you are looking for a way out, take it. There are exits everywhere, but these kids are training to beat you,” he said. Veteran Camas wrestlers Tye Lommasson, Marcus Hartman, Noah Shannon, Bryant Elliott, Talon Edmiston take Vom Baur’s words to heart. He was a three-time state finalist when he wrestled for Evergreen High School, in Vancouver, and became a champion in 2005.
Ten Papermakers put pen to paper today on their future destinations after graduation. “I’m excited to play football and not have my parents tell me to clean my room,” said Drew Clarkson after signing with Oregon State University. It has been a crazy road to this point in Clarkson’s life. Eleven months ago, he found out that he had stage 2 testicular cancer. Though surgery, rest and recuperation, Clarkson never lost sight of his goal. He was going to play football during his senior year. Clarkson returned to the front line without losing a step. He helped the Papermakers become league champions again, return to the Tacoma Dome for the third year in a row and play for the state championship.
The first league victory came in the nick of time for the Washougal boys basketball team. Austin Tran netted 13 of his team-leading 27 points in the fourth quarter to help the Panthers defeat Ridgefield 62-48 Jan. 28, at Washougal High School. He also made all eight of his shots from the foul line during those final eight minutes. “I think this was one of the most important games,” Tran said. “It was either win this or not make districts. Hopefully, this will be the start of our run back into the playoffs.”
The Camas girls basketball team finished the deal with Union Friday, but the boys ended up digesting another bitter pill. Senior Night started off right for the Papermakers when Rachel Rice, the only senior on the Camas girls team, delivered the first basket of the game. Rice also served Brenna Khaw and Nikki Corbett passes on a silver platter to help the Papermakers put the finishing touches on a 37-30 victory against the Titans.
Athletes from around the globe are coming to Washougal to stand up on a board and paddle in the Columbia River. The World Paddleboard Association’s first Salmon Classic takes off from Cottonwood Beach Saturday, Aug. 31, at Capt. William Clark Park. An 8-mile long course challenge kicks off at 9 a.m., followed by a 4-mile short course race at 11 a.m., and a 2-mile novice event at noon. The winning male and female competitors will receive a $2,000 prize. Awards will also be given to the top three winners in each class.
Shelby Chartrand will crash pins with the best bowlers in the state Friday, at Tacoma Narrows Plaza Bowl. The 14-year-old Camas High School freshman finished in seventh place at the 4A district tournament Jan. 30, at Allen’s Crosley Lanes in Vancouver. She rolled games of 170, 174 and 183 for a 527 series. “This is a really big opportunity,” Chartrand said. “Basically, what I did was have fun and bowl my game like it’s just a Saturday. It actually felt nice.” Camas finished in fifth place at districts with a combined total of 3,424 points. Battle Ground won the six-team scramble with 4,104 points.
The Papermakers earned their watermarks Wednesday, at LaCamas Swim & Sport. Kasey Calwell, Lucas Ulmer and John Utas won all four of their events to help the Camas boys beat Union, 155-130, Mountain View, 183-94, Evergreen, 211-36, and Heritage, 212-25.