Rachel Blair, Emma Jenkins, Ellie Postma and Maddie Woodson thought they would be running unopposed in the 1,600-relay.
Until they were asked if they wanted to race the boys. These Camas girls thrive off competition. It propelled them to another state cross country championship last fall.
“The boys made it more fun,” Woodson said. “My goal was to try and beat at least one of them. I’d like to say it was close.”
The boys won a race they needed to win, but Woodson, Jenkins, Postma and Blair were having all the fun running through puddles, passing the baton and cheering each other on to victory.
“We encourage each other and keep a positive attitude,” Postma said. “The weather wasn’t great, but we made the best of it and did the best we could.”
The relay sweep helped the Camas boys beat Union 74-71 March 22, at Cardon Field. The Camas girls also won 97-52.
Although Union had a leg up in the sprints, the Titans couldn’t keep up with the Papermakers in the longer distances. Blair, Jenkins, Woodson and Kaylee Merritt finished in first, second, third and fourth place, respectively, in the mile run. Blair, Postma and Jenkins earned the top three places in the 800.
“This just sets a foundation for all the races to come,” Jenkins said.
In her first high school track meet, Blair won the 1,600 (5:12.37), 800 (2:23.59) and anchored the 1,600 relay squad (4:22.93) to victory.
“I like track better,” Blair said, even though she finished fourth at the state cross country meet. “The faster events suit me more.”
Cooper McNatt delivered some big performances for the Camas boys. He threw the javelin for a personal best 166 feet, 7 inches and won the event. He also soared to first place in the triple jump on a personal record leap of 39 feet, 4 inches.
“I feel loose. I feel free,” McNatt said. “It’s like being on the football field. Everything just goes away and I’m in the moment.
“That’s what I love most about track,” he added. “You come out here every day and have fun pushing yourself to the limit.”
Ryan earned first place in the 400 (52.81 seconds) and the 800 (2:00.52). Daniel Maton took first place in the 1,600 (4:33.4) and William Sun snagged first in the 300 hurdles (41.38). Zimmerly won the 3,200 (9:51.52), and then jumped right into the 1,600 relay.
“I had never done the 2-mile on the track. I have a lot of respect for the people who do,” Zimmerly said. “That last relay took all the fumes in the tank. I had nothing left, which is how you want to feel after every meet.”
After competing in gymnastics for the last few months, Caleigh Lofstead felt the familiar grip of a pole in her hands and vaulted to first place with a mark of 10-6.
“It felt good to get off the ground again,” she said. “I wasn’t trying to get a high mark, I was just trying to get back in the swing of things.”
Lofstead doesn’t want the pressure to win state again to affect her pole vaults. If she trains hard every day and continues to improve, that opportunity will present itself and she will be ready.
Alexa Dietz earned first for the Camas girls in the long jump (16 feet) and the 200 dash (27.21 seconds). Emma Ware won the 100 hurdles (16.81) and Sierra Scordino clinched first in the 300 hurdles (55.78). The Camas girls also claimed first in the 400 relay (51.96).
Nkem Aduka notched first in the shot put (34-6). Stephanie Knight took first in the javelin (104-2). Madison Peffers placed first in the high jump (5-2).
All of the efforts by these Papermakers goes back to the phrase of the day — No doubt.
“Before you step on the track, have no doubt in yourself or your teammates,” Zimmerly said. “If you doubt yourself, you can’t win. It took everything we had as a team, but in the end, we pulled it off.”