Efraimson sixth in elite 1-mile race

Camas runner learns from being on the big stage

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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EUGENE — Chalk it up as a learning experience.

“Honestly, I felt like that was my worst race of the season,” Camas’ Alexa Efraimson said Friday. “I didn’t make good decisions.”

Efraimson, a sophomore-to-be at Camas High School, finished sixth in a field of nine in the Nike Elite mile run. The race was an exhibition conducted at Hayward Field in the midst of the Olympic Trials, and it featured some of the best high school runners in the nation.

Hannah Meier, a senior-to-be from Grosse Point Farms, Mich., won a strategic contest in 4:55.63, followed by Amy-Eloise Neale from Glacier Peak High School of Snohomish in 4:56.18.

Efraimson finished in 4:58.10.

“My coach always tells us, ‘Don’t slow down to speed up,’ ” Efraimson said. “If you’re behind somebody, don’t slow down to get around them.”

Efraimson didn’t heed that advice after finding herself boxed in with one lap to go.

“Instead of dwelling on it, I need to look at it as, ‘What did I do wrong? What can I learn?’ ”

Being in a stadium with 20,000 spectators can speed up the learning process.

“I think it’s going to help her a lot in years to come,” said Neale, a senior-to-be who edged Efraimson for the 800-meter title at this year’s Class 3A state meet. “Just the energy in the stadium. I don’t think anything matches up to Hayward Field, maybe the Olympics themselves.”

That can be daunting for a high school athlete.

“This is where the best of the United States are,” Efraimson said. “We need to prove that we’re a mature, young high school athlete and that we can compete here.”