The Camas girls cross country runners just keep getting closer on their quest to become state champions for the fourth time in five years.
Rain, mud and 18 different teams couldn’t stop the Papermakers from winning the bi-district meet by 71 points Saturday, on the American Lake Golf Course in Tacoma.
Emma Jenkins won with a time of 18 minutes, 56 seconds. Rachel Blair grabbed third place in 19:19, Emily Wilson earned fifth place in 19:45, Maddie Woodson notched ninth place in 20:03 and Ellie Postma took 12th place in 20:22.
“We felt accomplishment and satisfaction at the finish line,” Jenkins said. “All of us have been working really hard to get to state. We just keep getting closer and pushing each other.”
Camas outworked Olympia 30-101 for the championship trophy. Not only did five Papermakers finish in the top 12 in a field of 140 athletes; all seven members of the team were less than two minutes apart. Kaylee Meritt secured 19th place in 20:33 and Madison Child followed in 26th place with a time of 20:47.
“It really shows how much teamwork is evident in our team,” said Woodson, team captain.
“There are points on the course where you can see each other,” Postma added. “We give each other a nod or a sign to keep pushing. We’re not out here doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for the team.”
The Camas boys also had one of their best finishes at bi-districts. Yacine Guermali snagged seventh place (17:16) and Adam Ryan earned eighth place (17:21) to lead the Papermakers to second place as a team. Daniel Maton claimed 18th place (17:40), Dustin Zimmerly took 32nd place (17:53) and David Connell finished in 44th place (18:09).
“I didn’t even know [Ryan] was behind me until after I finished,” Guermali said. “[Maton] and [Zimmerly] weren’t far behind. It shows how much we’re improving.”
“It’s a good confidence boost to know we’re up there competing against the best teams,” Ryan said. “People should say we are one of them.”
The Camas boys and girls teams are both on a mission at the state meet Saturday, Nov. 7, on the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. The girls race first at 1 p.m., followed by the boys at 2:30 p.m.
“We train together and we’re all great friends,” Guermali said. “We are going into this as one team of guys and girls. Even though we race separately, we are going to support each other.”
The Camas boys finished in fourth place at state in 2007. Today’s Papermakers are aiming for an even better finish.
“We’ve improved a lot over the season and over the years,” Ryan said. “The only thing you can ask for is for everyone to do their best. Whatever that gives us is whatever we’ll take. We’re still looking up.”
The Camas girls won state in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and settled for second place in 2013. Today’s Papermakers want to keep tradition rolling along.
“We’re all really motivated, and we care about each other and the team,” Postma said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”