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Originally published October 27, 2012 at 6:08 PM | Page modified October 27, 2012 at 6:46 PM

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Camas' Efraimson tops Mount Rainier cross country ace McPhee again

Jordan McPhee is miffed. And motivated. She doesn't like to lose and rarely has since taking up cross country as a sophomore at Mount Rainier...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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LAKEWOOD — Jordan McPhee is miffed. And motivated.

She doesn't like to lose and rarely has since taking up cross country as a sophomore at Mount Rainier High School last year. She won every regular-season meet and captured the 4A state title.

So it didn't feel good to finish second in the Class 4A girls race of the Westside Classic at American Lake Golf Course Saturday.

A distant second at that.

It's another sophomore hotshot, Alexa Efraimson from Camas, who has raced into the spotlight this year.

Efraimson, who placed third at the 3A state meet as a freshman, is ranked No. 11 in the nation by MileSplit and No. 3 among sophomores. She covered the 3.1-mile course Saturday in 17:52.0 — 33 seconds ahead of McPhee, who ran 13 seconds slower than last year.

McPhee, who considers herself a basketball player first and runner second and trains accordingly during the summer, admitted she wasn't used to running from behind and didn't handle it very well mentally, letting Efraimson pull away from her in the second mile.

"There were some spots where I wanted to push myself more than I did," she said. "But, state is what I'm really focusing on. It's just a stepping stone."

It's McPhee's third loss of the year. She placed seventh at the Nike Pre-Nationals and third at the Richland Invitational behind North Central's Katie Knight and Efraimson.

This one gives her added motivation for next Saturday's state meet in Pasco, and she believes she can outrun Efraimson there.

"I really want to, that's my goal, and if I can that would be great," she said. "It's like I'm the underdog this time and (being) not supposed to win will hopefully push me more."

Top-ranked Camas also ran away with the team title with 29 points, putting five runners in the top 11. No. 4 Tahoma took second with 71 points.

Notes

• A bad back forced Abdi Mohamud to sit out last year's Westside Classic, although he was able to run at state. Despite finishing a disappointing 54th, he helped Lindbergh win the 2A state title. Now Mohamud is running pain-free and won the district title Saturday in 16:19.4. He hopes to be on the awards stand at state.

"My goal is to get top-five, and I'll be happy with that," the senior said.

Sumner beat Lindbergh for the team title Saturday, 83-89.

• It was a big day for the seventh-ranked Tahoma boys team, which upset No. 1 Gig Harbor for the 4A title, 93-96. Riley Campbell (sixth) and James Dagley (eighth) led the way. Gig Harbor junior Wolfgang Beck, fifth at state last year, was the individual winner in 15:33.2.

• In Class 3A, the team winners were the Columbia River boys and Prairie girls. Enumclaw took second on the boys side, with Alec Rhome finishing ninth overall. Hazen's Daniel Karpman was third.

• Senior Sally Larson of Cedar Park Christian was the 1A girls winner in 18:46. The team title went to No. 5 Meridian with 106 points. No. 3 Kings finished in a second-place tie with No. 7 Northwest School, but Northwest won the tiebreaker with the faster sixth runner.

• The 1A boys race featured teams ranked 1-2 in the state, Charles Wright Academy of Tacoma and King's of Shoreline. Charles Wright delivered a victory with 101 points, but King's wound up third with 122.

Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or sringer@seattletimes.com

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