Wise survives tough tour of Lake Stevens

Digging deeper than she ever had before in life, Alisa Wise crossed the finish line at the end of her first half Ironman Aug. 17, in Lake Stevens.

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Where it all begins, again

Helmets and pads are where it all begins. By next Friday, Camas and Washougal will be playing football games again.

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Healing a hero

Doug Murray dedicated 31 years of his life to fighting fires for the City of Vancouver.

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Camas track and field athletes reach Junior Olympic nationals

Haleigh Sudbeck loves launching her favorite toy into space like a comet.

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Fellowship of the Spartans

Thousands of Spartans from all over the globe gathered at Washougal Motocross Park Saturday to conquer Horsepower Hill on their hands and knees, plunge down a 50-foot water slide, slither under barbed wire, throw a spear, scale up walls, jump over fire and cross the finish line in one piece.

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Lacamas Lake Half Marathon fills streets with smiling faces

Jerry Kotsovos could hold the unofficial crown as “Mister Lacamas Lake Half Marathon.” The 68-year-old from Camas has crossed the finish line at this 11-year-old event 11 times. “Unfortunately, my times keep getting slower,” Kotsovos said. “It’s a beautiful course. The fact that I’ve run it every year, I know it so well. I know every turn.”

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Dungey runs this town

No rider or obstacle could keep Ryan Dungey from winning his sixth Washougal National in the last seven years Saturday.

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Baseball teams reach regionals

With a championship opportunity no longer in the cards, the Camas-Washougal Granite Construction Senior Babe Ruth baseball team walked off the field as winners at the Pacific Northwest regional tournament Thursday.

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First pickleball mixer brings hundreds to Hathaway Park

Six new courts welcomed 96 players, family members and friends to Hathaway Park for the first Washougal Pickleball Mixer Saturday and Sunday. As the 48 teams in this double elimination tournament paddled a plastic ball back and forth, Columbia River Pickleball President Mike Wolfe stood in the background and watched his dream come to life. It was impossible to wipe the smile off his face.

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Youth ball clubs honor hometown

Louis Bloch Park provided a perfect setting for the Southwest Washington 13-year-old Babe Ruth state tournament. Fans enjoyed burgers, hot dogs and five days of baseball under the sun in Camas. After an 11-1 loss to Longview Wednesday, Camas-Washougal defeated Chehalis-Centralia 11-0 Thursday, Richland 11-0 Friday and Kennewick 6-0 Saturday to reach the semifinals Sunday.

A fire station for everybody to see

Fire destroys homes in minutes. Smoke intoxicates victims if they don’t have an escape plan. East County Fire and Rescue volunteer firefighter Paula Knapp and Chief Scott Koehler invite community members and visitors to attend the Station 91 open house Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 600 N.E. 267th Ave., next to the Grove Field Airport, in Camas.

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Half marathon finds a home downtown

The 11th Lacamas Lake Half Marathon and 5K return to downtown Camas Sunday with more fanfare. This time, the start and finish line is right out in front of the historic Liberty Theatre. Across Fourth Avenue, Mill City Brew Werks will be running a beer garden for members of the crowd and participants after they cross the finish line.

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Finishing a chapter in football

Bobby Jacobs turned and burned with a football in his hands for the last time. The Washougal High School graduate scored two touchdowns, added a 2-point conversion and earned Offensive MVP honors to help the American all-stars defeat the Nationals 40-18 in the 2014 Southwest Washington Shriner’s Freedom Bowl Classic Saturday, at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver.

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Home is where the baseball is

The Camas-Washougal Babe Ruth 13-year-old all-stars will be playing baseball against the best teams in the state in their own backyard. Games begin Wednesday at Louis Bloch Park, located along Joy Street and East First Avenue in Camas. The top three teams from four days of pool play advance to the championship bracket. The state title game starts at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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Play day with Seahawks

More than 3,000 fans helped the Seattle Seahawks raise the 12th Man Flag at Doc Harris Stadium Saturday, in Camas. “I don’t know if you heard, but we won this thing called the Super Bowl,” said Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, delivering a roaring response from the crowd. “How could you not be energized for the next season? We gotta get another one of these rings and another one of these trophies.”

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Seahawks land in Camas Saturday

Tickets are sold out for Saturday’s Play 60 Fan Fest with the Seattle Seahawks at Doc Harris Stadium, in Camas. This event allows friends and family to share their passion for football with the pros. Fans will also get to see the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy. Gates open at 11 a.m. All guests must have a pre-registered ticket to enter. No more tickets are available. The event lasts until 1 p.m.

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Camas all-stars win district title at Forest Home Park

Caden Wengler delivered a sacrifice fly and Kolby Broadbent hit a baseball out of Forest Home Park and on to Sixth Street. This was all Camas needed to beat Evergreen 2-0 for the district championship Monday. Pitchers Michael Quintana and Josh Mansur combined for a two-hitter. Quintana racked up 10 strikeouts in five innings and Mansur struck out the side in the sixth.

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Horn of discovery

One step at a time, the Cape Horn Trail is changing. “When hikers see us working on the trail, they are always so appreciative,” said Cape Horn Conservancy President Teresa Robbins. “People tell us this is their favorite hike in the Gorge. That’s our goal. We want to be number-one.”

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Camas athletes become Pacific Northwest Junior Olympic Champions

Alissa Pudlitzke finished her track season on top. The 17-year-old from Camas captured first place in the Pacific Northwest Junior Olympic Championship 1,500-meter run June 21, at Kent Meridian High School. She beat six other runners to the finish line with a time of 4 minutes, 51.04 seconds.

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Timbers get ahead

High flying, head banging action brought 2,678 soccer fans to the edge of their seats Saturday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Forced to play the final 69 minutes of the match with 10 men after defender Matt Rose was red carded, the Portland Timbers U-23 Premier Development League men’s team rallied from a goal down to defeat the Kitsap Pumas 2-1.

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Fast times in Camas

With each swipe of a paintbrush, Maria Grazia Repetto taps into her imagination of Camas past and present. “My mother is an artist. I remember sitting beside her when she was at an easel and painting,” Repetto said. “I had a desk at school. Instead of taking notes, I was always drawing on the desk. “I am an artist,” she added. “I’ve been an artist my whole life.”

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Standing tall through physical therapy

Guy LaRue stands tall today, thankful for the ability to move on his own two feet. The Washougal football player was riding a quad in the sand when he rolled it and broke his back at the age of 14. He had four vertebrates fused, and two rods and eight screws placed into his spine.

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Spanning the Columbia River on foot

An iconic landmark in the Columbia River Gorge is the centerpiece for the Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon and 10K Sunday, Aug. 10. Up to 1,000 runners and walkers will cross the 1,858-foot steel masterpiece from Washington into Oregon and work their way to the finish line at Thunder Island, in Cascade Locks. The grated road along the bridge allows participants to see the Columbia River flowing beneath their feet.

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Escape with paddleboarding

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.”

Peak Motion athletes take physical challenge

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.

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Geiger bound for UI Athletic Hall of Fame

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.”

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Scoring baskets for the community

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.

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Swinging Saint

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.

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Fox gets the call from USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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Snakebit by shootouts

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.

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Crazy week for Camas softball culminates with district title

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.

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Tri-Washougal champions share defining moment

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.

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Papermakers take the heat at districts

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.”

Glory continues for Camas soccer

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.”

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Panthers break playoff curse

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.

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Hallead era ends

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.”

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Skyview wins battle; Camas wants the war

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.”

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Camas softball team gets even with Skyview

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.

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Leaving it all on the track

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.”

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Elite effort by Camas runners

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.

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Fishback flights

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.”