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Saturday, February 24, 2024
Feb. 24, 2024

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All-Region Boys Cross Country: Evan Jenkins, Camas

Running is in the blood of this Papermaker

By , Columbian Sports Editor
2 Photos
Evan Jenkins of Camas led his team to the first boys cross country state title in program history in November.
Evan Jenkins of Camas led his team to the first boys cross country state title in program history in November. (Nathan Howard/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Perhaps no family has meant as much to Camas cross country as the Jenkins.

Emma Jenkins, now a sophomore at University of Portland, won district titles in 2016-17 and placed no worse than seventh in four state meets.

Halle Jenkins, now a senior, repeated as district champion this fall.

So when little brother Evan Jenkins surged to the district title that same day, it added to the family’s Camas cross country legacy.

But Evan wasn’t done. Less than three weeks later, the sophomore played a key role in something that had never happened before in program history.

In placing fourth, Jenkins helped Camas win its first boys team title at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships Nov. 9 in Pasco.

That highlighted a season of marked improvement for Jenkins. He bettered his state placing by 96 spots and 93 seconds, covering 5,000 meters in a personal best time of 15:18.

For his accomplishments, Jenkins is The Columbian’s All-Region boys cross country runner of the year.

Emma, Halle, Evan and youngest sister Maci are all close-knit. They’re also competitive.

Watching his older sisters succeed made Jenkins want to try track and field in middle school.

“It made me jealous,” Jenkins said. “They get all this stuff. I wanted that, so I said I’ll try it.”

Jenkins’ sisters lit his competitive fire. They also stoke him to not get complacent.

“They really push me to do everything I’ve been doing,” Jenkins said. “Sometimes I don’t want to do a workout. They’re like ‘Evan, you have to do it. Don’t you want to get better?'”

And get better is all Jenkins has done this season. His breakthrough came at the Hole in the Wall Invitational Oct. 12 in Arlington. There, Jenkins placed sixth in a stacked field of runners from across the West. His time of 15:26 was his fastest to that point by 28 seconds.

One week later, Jenkins was eighth in another tough field at the Warner Pacific XC Classic in Portland. Just four days later, he won the district title with a blazing final mile at Lewisville Park.

“My confidence definitely boosted,” Jenkins said. “I knew I could do better than at Hole in the Wall because my races had gotten better since the start.”

The season culminated in a stellar state meet, not just for Jenkins but the entire team. All five scoring runners finished within 35 seconds of each other, allowing the Papermakers to post an outstanding score of 53 and outdistance second-place Tahoma by 44 points.

Now the Camas boys program can boast a state title, adding to four state titles won by the girls program.

“This one group, people in the future will look back at us,” Jenkins said. “It was cool to be a part of that. Every single one of us has this bond. We all have our backs. We help each other during the race. We never discourage each other.”

The rest of the All-Region Team

Joseph Blanshan, La Center

1A district champion as a freshman. Placed 11th in state by running a PR of 16:22.

Sam Geiger, Camas

Junior was district runner-up, placed sixth in 4A state. Finished third at Hole in the Wall with PR of 15:15

Luke Lund, Prarie

Senior won his second 3A district title. Ninth at bi-district Westside Classic. Season best of 16:20.

Aidan Rowley, Columbia River

Senior won 5 of 12 races this season, including 2A district title. Personal best of 15:48.

Spencer Twyman, Camas

Senior was a key member of state championship team, placing 20th in 4A race. Three-time state qualifier. Personal best of 15:40.

Luc Utheza, Camas

Overcame mid-season injury to place 16th at state. Personal best of 15:17 at season-opening meet.