Having mastered high school running, Alexa Efraimson is moving on.
Efraimson will forgo her senior year of competition in cross country and track at Camas High School, her coach Mike Hickey confirmed Monday.
This doesn’t mean Efraimson has decided to turn professional yet. The decision is based on finding competition tougher than what high school meets offer.
“It’s challenging to get competition,” Hickey said. “Many females, they get faster during their freshman and sophomore years. Then they find fewer opportunities to get pushed.”
Efraimson did not return calls seeking comment.
After breaking the national high school record in the 1,600 meters at the Washington state meet in May, Efraimson has spent the summer racing against professional and elite amateur competition.
Efraimson’s season culminates this weekend at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore. She will race in the 1,500 meters with preliminaries on Friday and finals on Sunday.
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,” Hickey said. “As for the most important, I would say it’s this weekend.”
Efraimson leaves high school running as one of the state’s most decorated athletes. She won back-to-back state cross country titles and repeated as state champion in the 800 and 1,600 meters. She owns the fastest times ever by a Washington high school girl in those events.
In interviews earlier this summer, Efraimson said she might turn professional this summer but wanted to keep open the option to run collegiately. She reportedly has said Oregon and Stanford are her top choices.
If she doesn’t turn pro, Hickey said Efraimson could compete as an unattached runner in high-caliber cross country events such as the Bill Dellinger Invitational in Eugene and the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. She would then dive into the rigors of the indoor track and field season.
Hickey said high school athletics will always have a place in Efraimson’s heart.
“She loves her teammates,” Hickey said. “I know this was probably a hard decision for her, but I think it’s a good choice.”