A Camas Papermaker and two Liberty Lions were instrumental in the Evergreen Storm cross country team’s rise to fifth place in the Youth Division of the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship Dec. 10, on the Whispering Pines Golf Course in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The race featured 261 runners and 23 teams from all over the U.S. Camas High School freshman Alissa Pudlitzke took 35th place, Liberty Middle School eighth-grader Maddie Woodson earned 83rd place and Liberty eighth-grader Alexa Jones grabbed 173rd place. After losing the state and regional titles to Whatcom Tesseract, the Storm finished four places ahead of them at nationals to be the top team from the Northwest Region.
“We couldn’t be more excited for the girls,” said team organizer Scott Slamp. “It was a super competitive field with really fast times and they all PR’d big time.
“Our team doubled in size from last year to this year, but the biggest difference was having more experience,” he added. “We’re also lucky to have so many runners from Camas, and more are on the way.”
Each girl shared a different perspective from the experience.
“There were a ton of people at the starting line, and it was really intense. But once to gun went up, there was complete silence,” Woodson said. “It made me really nervous. I had no idea when that gun was going to go off.”