Camas High School runners Emily Wilson, Alissa Pudlitzke, Emma Jenkins and Said Guermali gave Team Washington a dose of mill town power during its BorderClash with Oregon Sunday, on the Nike World Headquarters, in Beaverton, Ore.
As a third-year participant in this event, Pudlitzke got to run out on Ronaldo Field before the race started. It was hard to miss the big smile on her face.
“It’s an honor to come here and compete with the best,” Pudlitzke said. “I hope [Jenkins and Wilson] also make it three-in-a-row.”
The top 40 girls from each state’s respective high school championship meet lined up on opposite sides of the field. With the shot of a canon, the opposing teams charged at each other before colliding in the middle and cutting through the crowd. Only the strong survived without slipping and falling.
“It was nerve racking,” Wilson said. “You’re elbow to elbow with each other and clashing. You just go. It’s all or nothing.”
Wilson set the pace early on before settling into a groove with Jenkins by her side and Pudlitzke not far behind. Ella Donaghu, of Grant High School in Portland, won the 4,387-meter race with a time of 15 minutes, 47 seconds. Five Washington runners followed Donaghu. Wilson was Washington’s seventh best finisher and contributed to the team’s 20-37 victory over Oregon.
“I’m really proud of how I did and how my teammates did,” she said. “It’s like wow! We’re here with the best of the best, and we can do this.”
Wilson earned 11th place overall with a time of 16:30. Pudlitzke placed 13th (16:34) and Jenkins notched 19th (16:48). Union High School’s Alexis Fuller finished in 21st place (16:50).
“I didn’t have the best race, but it was fun to meet new people and be a part of this experience,” Jenkins said.
“This was great preparation for what we could expect at nationals,” Pudlitzke said. “We’re really ready and excited to see what we can do for Camas.”
Guermali lost his shoe on the Nike campus, but that didn’t stop him from crossing the finish line. He settled for 51st place in 14:48.
Camas runner Rachel Blair snagged eighth place in the Future Clash 2K with a time of 7:41.
Jenkins, Pudlitzke and Wilson helped the CHS girls cross country team clinch the 4A state championship trophy with Maddie Woodson, Kaylee Merritt, Brooke Roy and Gabrielle Postma. Those seven Papermakers also won the Nike Cross Northwest Regional championship. They will compete together at Nike Cross Nationals Saturday, Dec. 6, on the Glendoveer Golf Course, in Portland. The race starts at 10:05 a.m.
“I want to feel the most tired I have ever felt when I cross that finish line,” Pudlitzke said. “This will be my last national championship in high school. I just want to leave it all out there.”
“No matter what place we get, as long as we have no regrets, I’ll be happy,” Jenkins added.