Camas runners catch a glimpse of the future

Papermakers rise to the occasion at Nike Pre-Nationals

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You have to love running in order to perform under the windy and rainy conditions witnessed Saturday, and the Camas High School cross country competitors do.

“Every single one of these kids gave it their all,” said head coach Laurie Porter. “You could see it on their faces and in their form by the end of the races — they had nothing left.”

Alexa Efraimson, Alissa Pudlitzke, Marley LeFore, Maddie Woodson and Meghan Finley led the Papermaker varsity girls team to fourth place in the Danner Championship Nike Pre-Nationals race, at Portland Meadows.

Efraimson earned first place after she completed the 5,000-meter slushy obstacle course in 17 minutes, 59 seconds. She said it was not as muddy as during the Nike Cross Nationals, but it was still difficult to navigate.

“It wasn’t just the rain that affected me, it was the wind. It was equivalent to going up a hill,” Efraimson said. “It just shows the dedication that this team has. This was the first big race of the season and I thought we did well.”

Porter said Efraimson executed her game plan from the start. She beat Ella Donaghu, of Grant High School in Portland, by 41 seconds after losing to her at the Pier Park Invitational two weeks ago.

“She just looked strong, in spite of the conditions,” Porter said. “There was a strong headwind coming into the finish. You had to keep your head down and charge into it. Just keep yourself as streamlined as possible. That’s about all you could do.”

Pudlitzke placed 15th for the Camas girls with a time of 19:45. LeFore finished in 27th place in 20:09, Woodson earned 47th place in 20:43 and Finley took 83rd place in 21:46.

Riley Hein, Zach Hein, Daniel Osterhage, Nicholas Carter and Dustin Zimmerly pushed the Papermaker varsity boys team to sixth place in the Division One race.

Riley Hein earned third place with a time of 17:08, Zach Hein grabbed 24th place in 17:43, Osterhage took 76th place in 18:29, Nicholas Carter notched 80th place in 18:31 and Zimmerly finished in 83rd place in 18:35.

“I thought our underclassmen really stepped up,” Riley Hein said. “It’s cool to be able to run against programs who are well established. It gives you something to shoot for in the years to come as our program continues to develop.”

Porter said Hein is emerging into a leader.

“This is his first year being a front runner, and he’s making incredible strides,” she said.

The Camas boys won the sophomore challenge. Adam Ryan earned third place (18:55), Chris Schaff finished in 21st place (19:49), Daniel Holman claimed 26th place (19:56), Ethan Plock took 33rd place (20:02) and Isaac Mitchell clinched 44th place (20:25).

“I was really impressed by all these young boys,” Porter said. “They are the future of this program.”

The Papermaker boys and girls cross country teams beat Battle Ground Sept. 24, at Round Lake in Camas. Riley Hein won the boys race in 17:55. Pudlitzke placed first in the girls race with a time of 21:13.

Camas heads to Evergreen today. Races start at 4 p.m.

The Papermakers compete in the Sunfair Invitational Saturday, in Yakima.

Efraimson enters the Jim Dellinger Invitational Saturday, in Springfield, Ore.