All-Region girls cross country: Alexa Efraimson

Camas' Alexa Efraimson is The Columbian's All-Region girls cross country runner of the year

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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In one year, Camas’ Alexa Efraimson went from strong to stronger, fast to faster, from one of the best in the state to the best in the state.

Success drives one to more success.

“I realized the capabilities of myself and my teammates. If we were going to repeat as state champions, I had to do my part,” Efraimson said. “My teammates pushed me to do a little bit more.”

Rest of All-Region team

Alexis Fuller, so., Union: Placed third at 4A state meet; district runner-up.

Nicole Goecke, jr., Prairie: Placed seventh at 3A state meet; district and regional champion.

Cassie McKinney, fr., Union: Placed 17th at 4A state meet; first-team all-4A GSHL first team.

Megan Napier, sr., Camas: Placed 15th at 4A state meeet; battled back from early-season injury.

Alissa Pudlitzke, so., Camas: Placed fifth at 4A state meet; all-4A GSHL first team.

Maddie Woodson, fr., Camas: Placed 14th at 4A state meeet; all-4A GSHL first team.

Actually, a lot more.

Last year, she had a couple close races in Southwest Washington. This year, the sophomore left no doubt about who was the top runner. After a dominating regular season, Efraimson won the Class 4A state individual title while leading her team to its second consecutive state championship. With that, Efraimson is once again The Columbian’s All-Region girls cross country runner of the year.

Finishing third as an individual at state last year was not good enough for Efraimson. She focused more on training this summer. She changed her diet. No added sugar. She pushed herself to do her push-ups and sit-ups, all while making sure she drank plenty of water.

This was going to be her season.

Even when the high school season was over, it really wasn’t over. The team, competing as a club, made it to the Nike Cross Nationals, placing 13th out of the 22 squads. Efraimson took fourth in the race.

Moments later, Efraimson celebrated the cross country season in style.

“I had my first doughnut in a really, really long time,” Efraimson said.

The next day, she had frozen yogurt and went all out with the sugar flavors.

She had earned it.

No worries, though. She will get back into training soon enough. She will have track and field, and then, before she knows it, Camas will be looking to defend its team title in cross country and the rest of the state will be trying to chase down Efraimson.

Efraimson will be ready for the challenge.

“Running is a stress reliever for me,” she said.

She and her teammates make competitions a lot more stressful for their opponents.

Season highlights

• Won the Class 4A state championship, finishing close to 40 seconds faster than her nearest competitor.

• Led the Camas Papermakers to their second consecutive team title. Camas won the 3A title last year, then the 4A championship this year.

• Finished fourth in the Nike Cross Nationals, which featured 22 of the best high school clubs in the nation.

More about Alexa

• Favorite movie: "Hunger Games." "I read the books, and I was just really happy with how they did the movie. It was just so good."

• Favorite book: "I am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore. "Romance. Action. Lots of twists and turns."

• Favorite subject: "Math. Because I understand it."

Next year and beyond

• Only a sophomore, Efraimson has plenty of time to figure out college and beyond. For now, she wants to focus on winning a third consecutive team title next fall.

"Continue with what we've been doing and make sure we don't let down. Stay strong, and no injuries."

"We had to stay focused. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. Knowing we were able to do it before, we knew we could do it again."

Alexa Efraimson

On defending the team state title