Alexa Efraimson qualifies for 1,500 finals at World Junior Championships

Skyview grad Colby Gilbert finishes 9th in 5,000 meters

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Updated: July 25, 2014, 9:17 PM

 
photoAlexa Efraimson, from Camas, is The Columbian's All-Region athlete of the year for track & field.

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One challenge down, one to go for Alexa Efraimson.

On Friday, the Camas runner qualified for Sunday's 1,500 meter finals of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene.

The 17-year-old was part of a four-person breakaway pack that finished within 1.25 seconds of each other. With a time of 4:16.87, Efraimson was fourth in a qualifying heat won by Ethiopia's Gutaf Tsegay in 4:15.62.

The top four in each of two heats plus the next four fastest times advanced to Sunday's finals, which begin at 3:55 p.m.

Fellow American Elise Cranny also qualified for the finals, finishing fourth in the other heat won by Ethiopia's Dawit Seyaum in 4:14.72.

Efraimson won bronze in the 1,500 last year in Ukraine at the World Youth Championships open to athletes age 16-17. The World Juniors are open to athletes younger than 20.

"All year we've set a race plan for two events, the Nike Cross Country Nationals and the World Juniors," her coach Mike Hickey said last week. "As for the most important, I would say it's this weekend."

Gilbert places ninth in 5,000

photoColby Gilbert

Skyview graduate and University of Washington runner Colby Gilbert placed ninth in the 5,000 meters.

The redshirt freshman's time of 14:09.98 was just two seconds off his personal best.

Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia won in 13:25.19 in a race where runners from east African nations placed first through seventh.

“You get a new perspective on what’s good, and that makes you better,” Gilbert said. “You get your ass handed to you by some Kenyans, that’s good for you.”

Click here to see a post-race interview with Gilbert via Flotrack.

In the 2012-13 season as a Skyview senior, Gilbert placed third at the Class 4A state cross country championships and third in the 3,200 at the 4A state track meet.

The event is being live-streamed on http://oregon14.com.