Track and field: Efraimson wins another title, sets another record

Camas sophomore adds 800 crown, but no showdown

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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TACOMA — Alexa Efraimson ran to another state title Saturday, but the most compelling race is one that won't take place.

The Camas High School sophomore won the girls 800 meters in 2 minutes, 08.17 seconds, breaking the Class 4A state meet record at Mount Tahoma High School. Alexis Fuller of Union finished third in 2:10.68.

Moments earlier, Amy-Eloise Neale from Glacier Peak of Snohomish had won the 3A title in 2:08.61, setting a meet record for that classification.

"There's a part of me that wishes I was still racing her," Efraimson said. "I love racing against her."

According to times posted on Athletic.net, Efraimson has the best time in the nation this year in the 800, while Neale ranks third.

A year ago, when Camas was at the 3A level, Neale edged Efraimson in the 800 at the state meet, providing 12 months of motivation that culminated Saturday.

"Last year was such a whirlwind," said Efraimson, who on Thursday ran the nation's best time in winning the 1,600. "This is my race where I needed to push through."

Efraimson quickly jumped to the lead and held it throughout the race, facing a challenge with 200 meters to go from Rose Christen of Central Kitsap.

"I could hear somebody behind me," Efraimson said. "The last 200, I thought, 'I can't give up now. I've got to give it all I've got.' "

Efraimson pulled away, winning by two seconds as Christen finished in 2:10.35. Fuller was a half-step behind while setting a personal record.

"I knew we were all really close coming into this," Fuller said. "I thought I had a chance, but I was trying my hardest and going as fast as I could."

In other highlights from the Class 4A, 3A, and 2A state meets:

• The Prairie boys finished third in the 3A team competition with 43 points. First-place Bellevue scored 65, while North Central of Spokane had 45.

"We're bringing home a trophy," Prairie coach Curtis Crebar said. "First time in school history."

The highlight for the Falcons was a second-place finish in the 400-meter relay. The team of Ja Mariay McDonald, Jacob Austin, Garrett Baltazar, and Colton Prestwich finished in 43.22, behind Bellevue's 41.63.

• Heading to the awards stand, a gimpy Emily Morgan didn't look as though she could walk 100 meters, let alone run them in 12.26 seconds.

Morgan, a junior from Columbia River, had ignored a foot injury long enough to finish second in the Class 3A girls race behind the 12.17 by Ellie Heiden of Kamiakin.

Morgan jumped out to a quick lead but eventually was chased down by Heiden, who also won the 200 and 400.

"She's a great competitor," Morgan said. "She's really fast; she's great at the end. My goal was first, second, or third, so I got my goal. It's worth the pain."

Danica Person of Mountain View finished fifth in 12.52.

• James Phillips of Prairie was awarded third place in the 3A boys 300 hurdles after race winner Brenden Kelly from Southridge of Kennewick was disqualified. Kelly was sanctioned for drawing his trail leg around the side of a hurdle instead of over the top.

"It sucks to see somebody go out like that, especially when he wins by such a large margin," Phillips said.

Phillips, who also placed in the long jump and the 110 hurdles at the state meet, is in his first season competing in the 300 hurdles. He finished in 40.13 -- the same time as runner-up Jaz Smith from Franklin of Seattle.

Fort Vancouver's Mohamed Conteh was sixth.

"It's pretty new to me," Phillips said. "Every race I try to do something different, try to learn something new."

• Marcus Gaylor of Columbia River finished third in the 3A boys 100 and fourth in the 200.

"I'm very happy," Gaylor said after the 100. "To come from seventh last year all the way to third is a big accomplishment."

The reason for the improvement?

"My work ethic," Gaylor said. "Last year I was a little lazy."

• Colby Gilbert of Skyview shook off a poor performance in Thursday's 1,600 to finish third in the 4A boys 3,200.

Gilbert ran near the front throughout, and surged to the lead with 300 meters to go. Andrew Gardner from Mead of Spokane went with him, and with 200 meters to go Gardner unleashed a devastating kick.

"I know Gardner has some serious speed, so I thought I needed to go early," Gilbert said.

Gardner finished in 8:54.48, and Sumner Goodwin from Lewis and Clark of Spokane was second in 8:58.07. Gilbert was next in 8:58.48 -- a PR by about eight seconds.