Big 4A names punch tickets to state track and field meet

Efraimson, Gilbert win girls, boys 1,600 meters

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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KENT -- The big names performed as expected, but Friday's Class 4A bi-district track and field meet was really about people like Camille Parsons.

The Camas senior finished eighth in the final of the girls 1,600 meters at Kent-Meridian High School, ensuring a return trip to the state meet.

"I wasn't seeded in the top eight," Parsons said. "So there was a little bit of doubt, but I was confident. With around 300 meters to go, I started counting, 'Where do I need to be?' "

She finished right where she needed to -- seven spots behind teammate Alexa Efraimson, who won the event in 4:58.70. Alexis Fuller of Union was second in 4:59.70.

The boys 1,600 was won by Skyview's Colby Gilbert, who is ranked No. 2 in the state in the event. Gilbert finished in 4:15.22, edging the 4:15.94 posted by Wolfgang Beck of Gig Harbor.

Andrew Kaler of Camas advanced by finishing eighth in 4:20.89.

While Efraimson and Gilbert clinched spots in the 1,600 at the state meet, other athletes essentially punched their tickets. The top eight finishers in each event qualify for the state meet at Mount Tahoma High School, meaning those who advanced from the preliminaries merely have to avoid being disqualified from the final in order to advance.

Efraimson coasted to a second-place finish in her heat of the 800, advancing to today's race and promising big things for the final.

"I wasn't trying to PR (personal record) or anything," she said after winning the 1,600. "I just wanted to go at a pace where I had a chance of winning, but I didn't want to go all out.

"I want to PR in the 800 tomorrow, so I toned it down a bit. I know I need to share the energy, so I can't go all out."

Simply making it to the state meet doesn't fulfill Efraimson's goals, but it was a grand accomplishment for Parsons.

Other highlights from the 4A meet:

• Union's Jessica Ojukwu advanced with an eighth-place finish in the 100 and a sixth-place finish in the 400.

• Heritage's E'Lon Mack, who missed three weeks of action late in the season with a calf injury, qualified sixth in the boys 100 with a time of 11.15.

"I got a quick start," he said. "I just shot off. I guess I just wanted to get it over with. I want to surprise people. Because I was injured, people didn't see my name coming up."

• Skyview's Kevin Washington advanced as the No. 4 seed in the boys 200 with a time of 22.28. The top six seeds finished between 22.22 and 22.28.

• Guadalupe Mendoza of Heritage and Nicole Corbett of Camas finished third and fourth in the girls discus, qualifying for the state meet.

• Two Clark County athletes qualified for state in the girls pole vault. Caleigh Lofstead of Camas tied for fifth with a mark of 10 feet, while Jacinda Rose of Skyview was seventh with the same height.

• Jabari Marshall of Skyview was third in the boys javelin, qualifying for state with a mark of 168-6.

• Devin Scott of Heritage finished third in the boys long jump at 22-41/2, advancing to state. Josh Ryan of Camas was sixth, and Forrest Russell of Skyview was eighth, both advancing.

• Madison Lanford of Skyview qualified fifth in the girls 300 hurdles, while Heather Browning of Union was eighth, advancing to today's final.