When Alexa Efraimson responded to her father's inquiry about potential alternatives to a professional running career, the Camas (Wash.) High junior wasn't kidding when she said, "There is no backup plan."
After Efraimson's effort at the Washington Class 4A state meet on Thursday, she may not need one.
The 17-year-old distance running sensation won the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:33.29, eclipsing former Irvine (Calif.) Woodbride High star Christine Babcock's 2008 record of 4:33.82. Babcock currently competes professionally for a team sponsored by Oiselle Running Apparel for Women.
Just how good is Efraimson? All one must do is watch the YouTube clip of her record-breaking performance to see she's in a class by herself. She was in a camera frame by herself, too, as runner-up Rose Christen finished second in Thursday's race some 15.14 seconds behind Efraimson. And Christen is no slouch, either. Her times in the 800 and 1,600 are ranked among the top 25 high school performances nationally this season, and she's headed to the University of Washington on a running scholarship.
"Honestly, this whole season I’ve been working on running by myself,” a rather nonchalant Efraimson told The Seattle Times following her historical race. “On pushing myself up front. Being here, with the people cheering me on, it helps me want to do more for them.”
Efraimson already owned the nation's top 1,600 time, and now has the top billing by almost nine seconds over Felton (Calif) San Lorenzo Valley senior Anna Maxwell, another Washington commit. This season, she also owns the nation's top 3,200 time (9:55.92) and a national top-15 clocking in the 800 (2:06.03).
All of this comes after Efraimson won Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year honors this past fall, breaking the course record with a winning time of 16:50.1 at the Nike Cross Nationals.
Did we mention Efraimson is only a junior? According to The News Tribune, she is considering turning pro as a high school senior — much like the Nike Oregon Project's Mary Cain this season — while keeping her sights on the 2016 Rio Olympics. Sounds like she's on the right career track.