All the long miles and intense training is now paying dividends for the top ranked cross-country runners from Camas as the boys and the girls pulled off a clean sweep at the bi-district meet at Chambers Bay Golf Course, Saturday, Oct. 27.
The Camas boys finished the meet with four of the top eight runners out of 19 teams.
Although many expected senior Daniel Maton, who finished second at state last year, to be Camas’ star runner at the Oct. 27 meet, it was Camas sophomore Sam Geiger who broke ahead of the pack on the famous fairways that hosted the 2015 U.S. Open, finishing in 16:03 for third-place at bi-districts, and earning the best time among his fellow Papermaker runners.
“My main goal was to just stay in contact with the front pack and it helped me have a huge race. That gives me a lot of confidence going into state,” Geiger said.
Maton finished just a few steps behind Geiger, finishing in fourth position. Maton said he felt terrible during the race. The Camas senior running star had been pushing himself prior to the Chambers Bay meet. Two weeks before, he finished in first place and repeated as the district cross-country champion at a meet held at Lewisville Park in Battle Ground.
“I knew if I could just stay in the front pack our team would win,” Maton said of the bi-districts meet.
Maton said he pushed through his tired legs at the bi-district meet in 2017, but that, for his senior season, he is using tapering techniques he learned as a two-time state champion distance runner in track and field, to peak at the right time.
“Last year, I had a really great time and race at bi-districts,” Maton said. “But, this year, I’m trying to save my first big race of the season for state.”
Distance running is in Maton’s blood. His older brother, Matthew, became just the sixth U.S. high school runner to break four minutes in the mile.
Camas runners Jackson Lyne and Spencer Twyman finished seventh and eighth at the Oct. 27 meet, giving Camas the bi-district championship title.
Ashcraft finishes 3rd, with Jenkins on her heels
Camas runners Aspen Ashcraft and Halle Jenkins have been pushing each other all season, alternating between the No. 1 and No. 2 position on the Camas girls cross-country team. On the Chambers Bay course overlooking Steilacoom Bay, it was Ashcraft who crossed the line first in 19:02 for a third place finish, and Jenkins who finished six seconds later in sixth place.
“Sometimes when Halle has a good race, I don’t, and when I have a good race, Halle doesn’t. It’s been going back and forth because of our hard training, and sometimes our legs just don’t feel the best,” Ashcraft said.
Jenkins and Ashcraft have developed skills from long hours of training together, which help them work together to push their bodies and get faster times during races.
“I just tried to stay at the front. I knew there was a fast freshman, so I tried to work together with Aspen,” Jenkins said. “If she’s a step ahead of me, I try to catch her, and I know she tries to catch me as well.”
The strategy worked perfectly at Chambers Bay as Jenkins and Ashcraft helped the girls team win the bi-district title, for a clean Camas sweep.
The Papermakers had a week to rest and prepare for the upcoming state meet, which will be held in Pasco, Washington, on Saturday, Nov. 3.
“I’m just blessed to have such a great team, and I really think we can contend for that state title and prove that hard work really does pay off,” Geiger said.