Camas and Washougal fuel their expectations at Tiger Invitational

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Washougal High School senior Kari Johnson (right) and a Mark Morris Monarch go toe-to-toe in the 100-meter hurdles at the Tiger Invitational Saturday, at Battle Ground High School. This track and field meet featured 19 schools from Clark County, Kelso, Longview and Chehalis.

Camas went the distance on the track and in the field to defeat 18 schools from Clark County, Kelso, Longview and Chehalis Saturday, at the Tiger Invitational, in Battle Ground.

“It’s important for all of these teams to be able to come together as a county and showcase the best athletes we have to offer,” said head girls coach Alisa Wise. “This meet gets a lot of kids involved before you come back from spring break and hit the ground running. It’s just a great way to break the ice.”

Washougal head coach Dave Hajek said he enjoyed watching the Panthers compete and getting reacquainted with all the other athletes and coaches in the area.

“Track is very friendly competition,” Hajek said. “That’s what makes this meet so fun to be a part of. We all know each other and respect each other.”

The Camas boys lost to Skyview during their league meet March 19. The Papermakers bounced back in a big way Saturday, by winning the whole thing.

“Winning the Tiger Invitational was a really positive step in our season long journey. As far as redemption with Skyview, I tend to look forward and not back,” said head coach Rod Raunig. “Skyview had a great dual meet with us. It was competitive and came down to a few points. That is what you hope for in all the meets. Having to compete at the highest level is good for our kids in the long run.”

Andrew Kaler finished in first place for Camas in the 800- and the 1,600-meter runs. He won the 800 in 1 minute, 58.75 seconds and the 1,600 in 4:27.65.

“Kaler showed how tough he can be in the 800 by hanging on and winning,” Raunig said. “This is his senior year and I think he wants to finish well at every meet. I wouldn’t bet against him as we move forward. He is very determined and focused right now.”

Graysen Anderson grabbed first place for the Papermakers in the 100 dash (11.62) and the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches). Anderson took third on the high jump at the state meet for Mountain View last season before transferring to Camas.

“Graysen is a remarkable athlete,” Raunig said. “We expect big things from him on the high jump because he has a history of performing well. Any time you win the 100, it means good things will happen for you at other places on the track.”

Josh Ryan soared to second place on the long jump (21-9.5) and the triple jump (41-4). Albert Plock, Dustin Zimmerley, Tucker Boyd and Ryan Gunthar earned second in the distance medley relay (10:52.67). Andrew Duffy finished third in the 3,200 (9:50.73).

No other school could catch the Camas girls in any of the distance races. Alissa Pudlitzke, Camille Parsons, Maddie Woodson and Alexa Efraimson placed first in the distance medley relay (12:11.1). Efraimson finished first in the 800 (2:13.63), Pudlitzke took first in the 1,600 (5:14.62) and Parsons claimed first in the 3,200 (11:32.4). Woodson grabbed second in the 1,600 (5:17.39) to give the Papermakers a one, two punch in that event.

“It’s fun to see the team show what our strengths and weaknesses are. You don’t know what you have until you compete,” Wise said. “After seeing them come together and explode, I think we are going to be even stronger than I thought we would be.”

With a leap of 5 feet, 4 inches, Lauren Neff tied her personal best in the high jump and won the event.

“She still has some clearance to go,” Wise said. “She really handled herself well throughout the whole meet, and it paid off for her.”

Caleigh Lofstead clinched second place for Camas on the pole vault (8-6), Amber Corbett notched second in the javelin (112-3), Nikki Corbett took third in the discus (105-1) and Tamaki Murata finished third in the 100 hurdles (17.37).

A handful of Washougal Panthers hit their stride against a deep and talented field. Adam Thomas snagged second place on the pole vault (12 feet) and Sean Eustis earned second in the 1,600 (4:28.03).

Eustis, Joshua Banks, Isaac Stinchfield and Randy Gubser grabbed third in the distance medley relay (10:53.49). Michelle Greear snatched sixth in the discus (98-1) and seventh in the shot put (33-3.5). Kaitlyn Johnson notched eighth in the triple jump (31-5.5) and ninth in the 100 dash (13.92).

“I think we have a great group of kids at Washougal who want to be successful. Now it’s all about them channelling that energy so they can be successful,” Hajek said. “Our goal is just to continue to improve. I’m confident that these kids will continue to work hard, and I’m confident that they will compete hard. I think we are going to be in great shape.”