Alexa Efraimson breaks state high school record for outdoor 1,600

By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor



KENT – Alexa Efraimson wanted more.

The Camas junior wasn’t content with having just run the fastest outdoor 1,600 meters ever by a Washington high school girl.

“I was hoping to go a little faster,” she said.

Such is the fire that has launched Efraimson into a stratosphere known by no other.

Efraimson finished in 4:37.85 Friday at the Class 4A bi-district track meet at French Field in Kent.

That beat the previous mark of 4:38.01, set by Bellarmine Prep’s Brie Felnagle at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in 2005.

According to DyeStat, a national database of track results, it’s the fastest high school girls 1,600 in the nation this year by more than four seconds.

In saying she can go faster, Efraimson isn’t overstating her ability. She ran a 4:32.15 mile indoors in February against elite competition at the Millrose Games in New York. A mile equals 1,609 meters.

“I know that I’m in faster shape,” Efraimson said. “I just need to focus on pushing the pace from the front.”

Efraimson said she is adjusting to running unchallenged, as she does in most high school races. Friday she led by 35 meters after the first lap, which she ran in 68 seconds.

Union’s Alexis Fuller placed second in 4:58.69. Alissa Pudlitzke of Camas grabbed the final state qualifying spot, finishing seventh in 5:01.01.

All eyes will be on Efraimson at the state meet next week in Tacoma. Last year, she set the meet record with a then personal best time of 4:39.25.

“I’m really thrilled to be able to represent Washington state history well,” Efraimson said. “But I like to continually try to get better.”

Other locals primed for state

The bi-district meet, which continues today, is a pressure-packed event for those on the cusp of qualifying for state. In most races, seven out of eight finalists move on to state, which runs Thursday through Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.

For others whose ambitions go beyond merely qualifying for state, the bi-districts are a chance to see whether a season’s worth of training is paying off at the right time.

That was the case Friday for Heritage’s Keaton Spiller. He won his preliminary heat of the 800 meters in 1:54.30.

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” Spiller said. “I haven’t felt that I’ve been able to do it until now. It’s not really about confidence. It’s just being more relaxed.”

Evergreen’s identical freshman twins, Jai’Lyn and Dai’Lyn Merriweather, were the two fastest qualifiers in the 400 meters at 57.38 and 57.58, respectively.

“I feel confident about my races,” Dai’Lyn said. “I’m not getting anxiety or anything.”

Seven field event finals took place Friday.

Heritage’s Guadalupe Mendoza won the girls discus in 130 feet, 4 inches. She has the state’s best throw in 4A this season (136-9). Nicole Corbett finished second in 127-8. Battle Ground’s Jossilyn Blackman also qualified for state by finishing sixth.

Camas pole vaulter Caleigh Lofstead won that event by clearing 11 feet. She has the state’s best mark this season of 11 feet, 9 inches. Battle Ground’s Laura Shannon qualified for state by clearing 10 feet.

Union’s Bailey King, among the state leaders in the boys shot put, finished second with a mark of 51 feet, 10 inches.

Union’s Alex Berfanger qualified for state in the javelin, finishing fourth in 172-4. Evergreen’s Costal David also qualified by finishing fifth.

Skyview’s Peyton Fredrickson placed second in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 6 inches. Teammate Aaron Yewman also qualified for state, placing sixth by clearing 6 feet even.

Heritage’s Devin Murphy qualified for state by placing sixth in the long jump with a leap of 22 feet, 1.75 inches.