Saturday, July 13, 2013

Camas' Alexa Efraimson finishes third in girls' 1500 at IAAF World Youth Champs; Cunliffe in finals of 200...

DONETSK, Ukraine--Camas High School's Alexa Efraimson (left/photo by Kirby Lee, Image of Sport) scored a bronze medal in the finals of the girls' 1500 meter run at the IAAF World Youth Championships for athletes 16 and 17 years of age Saturday evening.

Efraimson, the WIAA 4A champ this season at 800 and 1600 meters, positioned herself in the lead pack of the women’s 1500m and never quit charging. Efraimson came through the bell lap in fourth place and motored over the final 400m to move into third place. Efraimson held off a late charge by Bobby Clay of Great Britain to win the bronze medal by less than four-tenths of a second in 4:16.07.

Ethiopia's Tigist Gashaw took the victory in 4:14.25, with teammate Dawit Seyaum second in 4:15.51.

Afterwards, Efraimson said in quotes gathered by USA Track & Field, “It feels amazing to be on the podium. Even being here is humbling, so to get on the podium is even better. I could feel the other girl behind me on the straight and I was thinking I can’t let her beat me in the last 50 meters. Everything made this such an amazing experience, and I’ll never forget it. Hopefully I’ll be able to do things like this in the future for the professional team.”

Earlier Saturday, Federal Way's Hannah Cunliffe advanced to the finals in the girls' 200, finishing in second in 23.63, the fourth fastest time of the day, as Sweden's Irene Ekelund won in 23.56.

“It feels good. I’m really excited. I just kind of ran my race and did what I had to do. I am relieved. It is nice to get past the rounds and know where I stand. It was a good race, and I'm excited for the finals tomorrow,” said Cunliffe, who runs for the Seattle Speed TC.

Cunliffe races Sunday afternoon at 3:05 pm, local time (5:05 am in Seattle).  You can watch her race Sunday by clicking this link.

In Heusden, Belgium, Auburn-Riverside HS alum Jordan McNamara emerged victorious in the men's 1500 at the KBC Nacht meeting, running 3:35.39, slightly off of his personal best of 3:34.00 set last week.

McNamara held off Spain's David Bustos (3:35.69) and Morocco's Abdelaati Iguider (3:35.74) to take the win.

In the men's 800, Tacoma's Mark Wieczorek finished sixth in 1:46.53, as Abdulaziz Mohammed of Saudi Arabia won in 1:44.36, as Matt Scherer of Tacoma served as the pace setter before dropping out.

Wieczorek's Brooks Beasts teammate Cas Loxsom, the Penn State grad who recently moved to Seattle, won the B section of the 800 in a season best 1:45.98.

University of Washington alum Katie Mackey finished fourth in the women's 1500, running 4:05.35, her second fastest time ever, as Eritrea's Merak Bahta won in 4:05.11.

Tacoma's Brie Felnagle was sixth in the race, running a personal best of 4:05.64.

In a short note to, Washington State University alum Joe Abbott, who won the 800 meters at the final two meets of the Canadian National Track League series--the Harry Jerome in Burnaby, and the Victoria International--confirmed that he will be racing in Europe, beginning on the 16th at the Meeting Internazionale di Atletica Leggera meet in Lignano, Italy.

NOTE:  USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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