King's West experiences first track win

Welcome to track and field 101 at King’s West.

The instructor is Dan Dittmer, the former North Mason High School teacher and coach who’s now part of the the King’s West staff.

“It’s like starting over again,” Dittmer said, before quickly correcting himself. “It is starting over again.”

It’s not a budgeted sport at the Class B Christian school and Dittmer, who teaches math, agreed to run the fledgling track program at no cost.

“No salary, no travel, no nothing,” Dittmer said. “The kids and parents are raising money. We’ve sold pizzas and the booster club gave us some money.”

About 25 students, or about a quarter of the student body, was turning out when practices started.

“One of the girls, I think, ran for Klahowya in the distances,” Dittmer said. “Everybody else is a complete novice. I mean novice. I was holding a relay baton in my hand and one of them asked me, ‘How do you throw that?’”

They practice on the grass field behind the Chico-based school. Dittmer cut up 10 pieces of conduit and uses them for practice javelins. There are no jumping pits. He takes chalk and draws circles on the pavement when it’s time to throw the discus and shot puts that friends have donated. He’s scrounged up some practice hurdles. Sprinters train on the grass, just like their coach used to when he was winning races at Chimacum.

“I bought a speed pulley and I’m teaching them how to use it,” said Dittmer. “The kids are so overwhelmed. I keep telling them it will be a three-ringed circus and it is.

“But it’s a lot of fun. The kids are eager to learn. Sometimes it’s a hard thing to hold back from trying to show them too much. Right now we’re teaching everybody everything. I’m teaching 15-20 kids how to throw the javelin at one time.”

Thanks to Klahowya, Dittmer’s Warriors got their first taste of competition on Thursday, March 14 at Silverdale Stadium, where the Eagles hosted Orting and Vashon in a Nisqually League meet

“Just as the meet was starting we were showing kids how to triple jump, high jump, etc.,” Dittmer said. “The weather was miserable but the kids were magnificent.”

The highlight was King’s West’s narrow victory over Klahowya in the girls 4x400 relay.

“They were never more than 3 meters apart the entire race” Dittmer said. “About 5 meters from the finish, Heidi Grey pulled out around Klahowya’s anchor and just nipped her at the finish.”

Orting let the Warriors use one of its batons for the race.

“After the race they told us to keep it,” Dittmer said. “We’re going to mount it with a picture of the girls with our first track victory.”

For the record, history will show that the team of Kaylee Ross, Lindsey Redfern, Britany Clemen and Grey won the race with a time of 4:46.7.

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