It’s Papermakers’ day at 3A district cross country meet

Camas boys, girls sweep team, individual titles

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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photoAlexa Efraimson

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photoAndrew Kaler

BATTLE GROUND — It was Camas Day at the Class 3A district cross country championship Thursday at Lewisville Park.

The exploits of the Camas girls has been documented — ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 10 regionally. But the Papermaker boys showed they can run, too.

The Camas boys swept the top four places and five of the top seven spots to complete a Papermaker sweep of the district meet.

The Camas boys scored 17 points to easily outdistance second-place Columbia River’s 43.

“That was a goal of ours — to beat River, because they’ve taken it to us over the years,” Camas coach Mike Hickey said.

Junior Andrew Kaler outkicked teammate Tucker Boyd at the wire to defend his 3A district title. Both runners covered the 3-mile course in 15 minutes, 3 seconds.

“Tucker has really been improving over last few weeks,” Kaler said. “If Tucker goes out and beats me, I’m happy, because it means he’s pushing me to run my best and it’s good for the team.”

Camas’ Alex Pien ran his best race of the season to finish third in 15:19, and Andrew Duffy (15:34) completed the Camas top-four sweep.

“These guys really committed themselves to train hard over the summer,” Hickey said. “We set some big goals for ourselves this year, and it’s been nice to watch them grow up and push themselves to get better.”

Kelso (93) and Mountain View (97) also advanced to next week’s regional meet in Tacoma.

The Camas girls did not disappoint, easily outdistancing second-place Prairie 20-46 for the team title.

Freshman Alexa Efraimson said she felt like the race went by quickly for her. That’ll happen when you’re beating the field by 49 seconds.

Efraimson led from start to finish to win in 16:53. Teammate Austen Reiter was second in 17:46, and Prairie’s Nicole Goecke was third in 17:47.

“When I’m running by myself, I just try to stay focused and think of my teammates,” Efraimson said. “I know that they are running their hardest, so I might as well, too.”

The Camas girls also placed five runners in the top five. Megan Napier was fourth in 17:56, followed by Alissa Pudlitzke (6th, 18:09) and Lindsay Wourms (7th, 18:14). Even the Papermakers’ No. 6 runner — Camille Parsons — had a top-10 finish.

“We go out focused on two things,” Reiter said. “We want to run as a group, and we try to have everyone have a good day on the same day.”

The Papermakers are looking for two more good days — Oct. 29 for the Westside Classic regional meet and the state meet on Nov. 5 in Pasco.

“This is just a special team,” Hickey said of the Camas girls. “They understand that they’re a special team, and they’re comfortable running to those expectations.”

Kelso (89 points) and Columbia River (96) also advance to regionals.