Sports

Building the perfect beast is no easy task

"For two guys who want to be part of the fastest relay team in the state, Zach Renzo and Eric Roy are in no hurry.The two Central Kitsap High School seniors know that a winning 4x100 relay team - just like Rome - wasn't built in a day.Last year, we didn't know until midseason who would be on the team, and what position they'd be in, says Roy. Coach (Mark) Ward uses the early meets as experiments.Renzo adds, You try different things, and see who does what best.Last year, what worked best was a running order of senior Marlon Bascom, Renzo, senior Ryan Calliham and Roy - the team that sprinted to the state Class 4A championship last May at Star Track, posting a time of 42.06 seconds in the race of their lives.The experience taught them that in this speediest of races, actual speed is secondary.What coach Ward looks at is how you work together, says Roy, a first-team All-Olympic League running back last fall. Speed's not the top priority. He told us that out of the top five teams in the relay, they all had at least one guy in the 100 finals, except for us.But we were clean, Renzo says. Our handoffs were all good. We worked together better as a team.Both runners say they have individual goals for the new season. But those will take a back seat once the 4x100 spots vacated by Bascom and Calliham have been filled, and the team is ready to begin its state title defense in earnest.We'd like to repeat, sure, just to defend our title, says Roy.There's a lot of work to do between now and then, though. Identifying the new team members and finding their strengths is only part of the process.Mostly, as Renzo says, it's Practice.We might not know it for a while, he adds. We'll probably try a lot of combinations, just to see what works. "

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