KIRKLAND – On paper, the 37th annual Lake Washington Invitational looked like a blockbuster of heavy-hitters – the best girls in Washington high school track and field going head to head.
From the schools represented, every track event coming into the meet – from the 100 meters to 3,200, to both hurdles races – featured the top two ranked participants in the state, based on season times.
Most of the time, the marquee matchups materialized – led by the star-studded 1,500 race, which featured three runners who broke the 32-year meet record at Mac Field.
In the end, talented Camas’ sophomore Alexa Efraimson, the reigning Class 4A state cross country champion, won in 4 minutes, 24.70 seconds – outkicking Glacier Peak’s Amy-Eloise Neale (4:26.52) and Kamiakin’s Megan Beauchene (4:27.93).
The old record of 4:28.6 was shared by Bellevue’s Patty Matava and Gig Harbor’s Patty Ley, set in 1981.
Also the winner in the 800, Efraimson joined Curtis High’s Kennadi Bouyer (long jump, 100, 200) and Holy Names Academy’s Cecelia Jackson (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles) as the meet’s only multiple-event winners.
Efraimson, who is quickly establishing herself as one of the all-time distance-running greats, added to that legacy taking on Neale, who is the national leader in the 1,600 (4:43.57).
“I was looking forward to it so much,” Efraimson said. “It was fast – but not my fastest time. But any time you get to race Amy and Katie (Knight, of North Central), it is a good race. And that is the last time I’ll get to compete against them in high school … so I am super sad.”
Two hours later, Efraimson ran a smooth 2:10.56 in the final heat of the 800 to win easily over Beauchene (2:15.69). Down the line, she feels like she has a real shot at one of the herculean marks of girls’ track in Washington – the all-time best 2:03.73 of Rogers of Spokane’s Becca Noble, set in 2005.
Bouyer took care of business against South Puget Sound League rival Brandi Williams, the reigning Class 4A state champion, in the long jump. The Curtis senior jumped 18 feet, 83/4 inches in preliminaries to win by more than three inches over Garfield’s Baileh Simms (18-5) and Williams (18-21/4), who left early because of prom dance.
Bouyer also captured the 100 in 11.99 and 200 in 25.46.
Then there was Jackson, who thought a pair of hurdles’ showdowns with Emerald Ridge’s ShaRaya Quinn loomed Saturday. Jackson had the best marks in the state in both races; Quinn was No. 2, and right behind.
But Quinn was a no-show, instead opting to attend a journalism conference. It might not have mattered – Jackson lowered her state-best mark in the 300 hurdles from 44.40 to 43.69.
Wearing boys’ shoes, Kamiakin’s Ellie Heiden improved her state-leading 400 mark. She went 56.47 – better than her previous 56.52. … Mountlake Terrace’s Chinne Okoronkwo, a ninth grader, bettered her state-best triple jump distance to 39-63/4. … Kamiakin, of Kennewick, won the team title.