Camas girls will make run at state cross country team title

State cross country championship is Saturday in Pasco

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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The Camas girls cross country team will leave Friday for the Tri-Cities, in search of the perfect day.

That just might be what the Papermakers need to knock off top-ranked Glacier Peak of Snohomish.

Last season Glacier Peak won the Class 3A girls team title by scoring 41 points, 66 points better than second-place Shadle Park of Spokane. It was the lowest winning score for a 3A girls team since 1974.

Camas coach Mike Hickey knows if the Grizzlies have another day like the one they had at least year’s meet, they’ll be tough to beat.

But Hickey expects the Papermakers to give Glacier Peak a run for the title at the state cross country championships Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

“Glacier Peak is definitely the favorite,” Hickey said. “We are going to have to have a solid day from top to bottom. But if we can have an overall great performance, we can have a chance.”

Freshman Alexa Efraimson will lead the charge for Camas. Efraimson is coming off a 39-second win in the Westside Classic regional meet in Tacoma.

Defending individual champion Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak is the overwhelming favorite to win again. Glacier Peak’s No. 2 runner, Katie Bianchini also could be a top-three finisher.

So even with Efraimson in the top 3, the Papermakers will need to win the meet with outstanding performances from their Nos. 3, 4, and 5 runners.

Hickey was encouraged by the fact that six of Camas’ seven runners posted season-best marks for 5,000 meters at last weekend’s regional meet, including seniors Austen Reiter and Lindsay Wourms, junior Megan Napier, and freshman Alissa Pudlitzke.

The 3A girls meet also will include Prairie, which is aiming for a top-six team finish after placing third at last week’s regional meet.

“I’ve thought Prairie has been under-ranked all season,” Hickey said. “They’ve got a really good team.”

Other teams looking for high finishes are the Camas boys (ranked sixth in 3A), Columbia River boys (10th in 3A), Hockinson girls (10th in 2A), La Center girls (sixth in 1A), La Center boys (10th in 1A) and Seton Catholic boys (10th in 2B/1B).

Union freshman Alexis Fuller is projected to be a top placer in the Class 4A girls meet. Fuller placed second in the regional meet to Mount Rainier’s Jordan McPhee.

Washougal’s Sean Eustis and Isaac Stinchfield are candidates to finish in the top 10 in the boys 2A race.

“I’m looking for a top-10 finish, maybe top-5,” said Eustis after winning last week’s 2A district meet at Lewisville Park. “But really, I just want to run my race and have zero regrets at the end.”