Girls Cross Country preview: Camas brings everyone back in state title chase

first_img Follow The Columbian on Instagram Share: [email protected] Buy this Photo Camas runners, center, race during the 4A district meet. Nathan Howard/The Columbian GO By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Girls Cross Country preview: Camas brings everyone back in state title chase Papermakers look to build off third-place finish This article is part of The Columbian’s High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online. With four state titles and three second-place finishes since 2011, the Camas girls cross country team has rarely fallen off the pace.Even a so-called rebuilding year last season turned out pretty well. A Camas team with no seniors placed third at the 4A state meet, winning the bi-district and district titles along the way.“They were constantly surprising us last year,” Camas coach Laurie Porter said.With everyone back, Camas enters this season a popular pick to win its first 4A state title since 2015. The Papermakers return district champion Halle Jenkins and fellow senior in Aspen Ashcraft, who finished sixth in last year’s state meet.Also back are a trio of talented juniors. Ashley McKinstry, Camryn Mock and Lenna Lukowiak all broke 20 minutes at the state meet, finishing within six seconds of each other to place 31st to 36th. Jenkins thrives on fast courses, running the best time of any Camas runner last season (18:14).Ashcraft fared better on hilly courses, including the state meet where she surged from 14th to sixth place over the final mile.The seniors plan to work together toward a common goal — returning Camas to the top of the podium.Runners to WatchAspen Ashcraft: The Camas senior placed sixth at state and third at the bi-district Westside Classic. “They know what they have to do to be successful at the state meet,” Porter said. “They younger ones, they got a taste of it.”Experience is definitely important when it comes to chasing titles. Yet Porter hopes her team enters this season with the same hungry mentality that powered last year’s success.“It you think you have it in the bag, that can be your biggest mistake,” said Porter, who is entering her seventh season a Camas head coach. “It’s better to come from a humble position.”In Jenkins and Ashcraft, Camas has two runners who are equally talented, but bring different strengths. Lara Carrion: Placed 10th in state last year as a Seton Catholic freshman. Was the district runner-up.Meri Dunford: The 2017 3A district champ and 2018 runner-up, the Prairie senior has two top-20 finishes at state.Sydnee Dyer: The Seton Catholic junior won the district title and placed seventh at the 1A state meet.Halle Jenkins: The defending 4A district champ, the senior placed 11th at state and sixth at the Westside Classic. Oct. 31 2A/1A District Meet: Small-school runners vie for titles at the scenic Lewis River Golf Course east of Woodland.Nov. 2 Westside Classic: State berths are on the line as top 4A/3A runners compete at the bi-district meet in University Place.Nov. 9 State Meet: Champions for all classifications will be crowned at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. @col_mrice Receive latest stories and local news in your email: Allyson Peterson: The Hockinson junior placed eighth in state and was 2A district runner up to eventual state champ Amelia Pullen.Key DatesSept. 13 Run-A-Ree: The unofficial kickoff to the local cross country season, the 59th annual Steven Mass Run-a-Ree takes place at Hudson’s Bay.Sept. 28 Nike Portland XC: One of the largest races in the Northwest, locals join elite prep runners from across the west at Portland Meadows.Oct. 23 4A District Meet: Camas hopes to extend its local dominance in the annual race at Lewisville Park near Battle Ground. By Micah Rice, Columbian Sports Editor Published: September 3, 2019, 7:20pm Share: Camas Papermakers (360) 735-4548 Follow Tags Micah Rice Columbian Sports Editorlast_img read more