Camas athletes become Pacific Northwest Junior Olympic Champions

Lofstead competes in regional meet Saturday

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.

“I felt confident going into the race, and I had a strong start and finish, which was important to me,” Pudlitzke said.

Caleigh Lofstead leaped a personal best 12 feet on a pole vault at the Border Dual June 7. The 16-year-old from Camas did it again at the Pacific Northwest Junior Olympics. And this time, her mark was high enough to beat all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the event. It was even better than any of the 17- and 18-year-old pole vaulters.

“Even if I didn’t win, I knew I had reached my goal,” Lofstead said. “Clearing 12 feet for the second meet in a row showed that all of my hard work had paid off. Winning was the cherry on top.”

Lofstead advances to the Junior Olympic regional championships Saturday, at Spokane.

“It would be awesome to jump 12 feet again or even higher,” she said. “It’s my last meet, so I want to jump the highest I possibly can and see where it takes me. I want to end the season on a good note.”

Pudlitzke will not be able to compete at the regional meet because of a prior commitment. She begins training for her final year of high school cross country Wednesday.

“I remember my freshman year. I looked up to the seniors like they were the older sisters. I’m excited to come back this season and take on that role as a leader for the young runners in Camas,” Pudlitzke said. “I really like cross country because it’s such a family feel. I’m excited to feel that again.”

Pudlitzke and Lofstead will not forget the lessons they learned from extending their seasons past the high school state championship meet.

“At state, I only jumped 11-9 when I wanted to get to 12,” Lofstead said. “It’s nice to have a couple of more chances to jump even higher.”

On top of her victory in the 1,500, Pudlitzke ran her first 5K at the Portland Track Festival June 15. She completed 12.5 laps with a time of 17:57.39.

“It was fun to be able to extend my season and try out some different events,” Pudlitzke said. “You’re always learning something more each time you race.”

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