When you are as good a runner as Camas' Alexa Efraimson, cross country can be a solitary sport.
Running by yourself, way ahead of the pack, winning races by a minute or more, even at the state meet.
So what does Efraimson think of when she's running by herself to keep focused on running her best?
"My team," she said. "We've got this saying on our team 'Give everything you've got for your teammates, because they are giving everything they've got for you."
Inspired by her team, Efraimson ran to her second consecutive Class 4A state cross country title in November.
And that led her to earn her third consecutive selection as The Columbian's All-Region girls cross country runner of the year.
It capped an unusual season for Efraimson that began with a late start because her track and field season ended so late with her running in the World Youth Track and Field Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Then her season hit a bump when an eligibility issue kept her away from her Camas teammates for almost two weeks in October.
But once her eligibility was restored, Efraimson returned to post district, regional and state championships, setting the state meet course record of 17:01 at Sun Willow Golf Course in Pasco.
"People sometimes don't understand that cross country is a team sport," she said. "In track, I don't know everyone because there are some many kids on the team. I know the distance crew, but not so much with the rest of the team.
"But in cross country, it's all about the team. Pushing each other, supporting each other. That's what I love about cross country."
The wins continued for Efraimson after the high school season with wins in the Nike Cross Regional in Boise, Idaho, Nike Borderclash and Nike Cross Nationals at Portland Meadows earlier this month.
Now, she's taking time away from running to allow her body to recover.
She's taking a two-week break before beginning to train for some indoor track meets then getting ready to run for Camas High track team this spring.
"I'm getting really antsy," she said. "It's hard for me not to be running. I get home from school, do my homework, and then it's like 'Now what?' I just don't feel healthy when I'm not running."
All-Region girls cross country team
Runner of the year
Alexa Efraimson, jr., Camas
Efraimson raced to her second consecutive Class 4A state individual championship, breaking the state-meet course record at Sun Willow Golf Course to win in 17:01. She also posted easy wins at the Nike Pre-Nationals, 4A district meet and the regional meet.
Rest of All-Region team
- JAMIE FERRIS, JR., PRAIRIE: Prairie’s No. 2 runner was the runner-up at the 3A district meet, the runner up at the 3A regional meet and placed 16th at the 3A state meet in 19:12.
- ALEXIS FULLER, JR., UNION: Fuller won the Sunfair Invitational in Yakima, was the runner-up at the 4A district and regional meets to Efraimson and placed third at 4A state meet in 18:05.
- NICOLE GOECKE, SR., PRAIRIE: The Oregon State signee was the 3A district and regional champion, runner-up at the UW Sundodger Invitational and Sandelie Golf Course XC Classic and placed third at 3A state meet in 18:13.
- MARLEY LEFORE, FR., CAMAS: The freshman had an impressive debut, finishing second on the medium course at the Seaside Three-Course Challenge. She was fourth at distrct, ninth at state and 17th in the 4A state meet (18:44).
- ALISSA PUDLITZKE, JR. CAMAS: The junior won on the easy course at the Seaside Three-Course Challenge, placed third at district and regionals and was sixth at the 4A state meet in 18:18.
- KATIE WHITTEN, JR., LA CENTER: Whitten was the Trico League champion, placed third at district and finished 11th in the 1A state meet, running the seventh-fastest local time (19:38) at state.