The Camas High School track and field program has had another highly successful year.
The Papermakers wrapped up their league schedule with a meet against cross-town rival Union High School on Friday, May 4, with the Camas boys winning the league championship 4-0, and the Camas girls finishing second in league play with a record of 3-1.
The Papermakers may have an advantage going into the postseason, said head boys track coach Jon Eagle.
“Dual meets are actually tougher for us, because only the top three athletes in each event score,” Eagle said. “But, in the district meets, they allow more athletes to score, and that really does work in our favor.”
Papermakers shine in running events
The Papermakers excelled in running events this season.
Distance runner Daniel Maton is a two-time state champion after winning the 800 and 1,600 meters events last season. This year, his times are even better and he easily won the 800 meters race at the dual meet at Union High School.
Maton’s teammate, senior David Connell, also is having a great year in his distance events. Connell won the 1,600 meters race against Union, and plans to run for Gonzaga University next season.
“I mainly run the 3,200 so I really don’t get to run this distance often. It’s not my specialty, but I was only two seconds off my personal record, so I’m pretty happy with my time today,” Connell said.
Distance runner Halle Jenkins has dominated the distance events this season. She pushed the competition and won both the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters events against Union.
Camas sprinter Blake Deringer said he is excited about the upcoming postseason. Last year’s postseason was rough for him, Deringer said, but he worked hard to make a comeback. Now, he said, his goal of winning the district meet is right in front of him. Subdistricts begin Thursday, May 10, in Vancouver.
Deringer won the 100 meters, the 200 meters and anchored the winning 4×100 relay team against Union.
“It felt pretty good today,” Deringer said. “I was running relaxed, which is what I’m focusing on right now so that’s good.”
William Schultz showed his speed, winning the 400 meters and hurdler William Sun won both the 110 meters and 300 meters races.
New star athlete emerges
Freshman Lucy George is quickly becoming a star athlete for the Papermakers. She won the 110 meters hurdles with a time of 14.70 at the Union match-up, and left her second-place competition in the dust, more than three seconds behind.
“I love competing at the high school level and learning from all the coaches,” George said. “My goal is to get my 110 meters hurdles times down into the 13 second range and even lower.”
Against Union, she also won the 300 meters hurdles, the long jump and tied her teammate Madison Peffers in the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 2 inches.
Peffers is the state champion in the high jump.
“She’s so nice and supportive,” George said of her older teammate. “I’m learning so much from Madison.”
In the girls field events, Ahmika Kluka showed why many consider her one of the top javelin throwers in the state. Her toss of 120 feet against Union topped the second best athlete’s throw by 11 feet. Maggie Wells won both the shot put and the discus events. Camas pole vaulter Ana Bedont cleared 9 feet, 3 inches, to win her event against Union.
“Track and field is interesting because athletes are working as individuals and as a team at the same time,” Eagle said.
With 180 athletes taking part in track and field at Camas High School, Eagle says it is sometimes hard to keep track of everyone. Watch a few events and it becomes clear that the Papermakers know how to support each other. Personal records, better known as “PRs,” are something everyone on the team celebrates.
Distance runner David Connell explained why celebrating individual victories is so important to his Papermaker teammates.
“The culture of our team is awesome,” he said. “Everybody on the boys and girls teams works very hard, and pushes each other to stay competitive — all while working together as a team at the same time. It’s a great team.”