Sports

No more free rides for 4A track athletes

Unlike other team sports in the spring, regular-season standings don’t count for anything in track and field.

It’s all about how you do in the at the league meet.

“And the way I look at it, anybody who makes it out of our league meet this year has a great chance of making it to state,” said Central Kitsap coach Mark Ward of the new alignment with the Narrows League. “This is what I’ve been begging for for 10 years, to get into the Narrows League so we could see some competition every week.”

Athletes must meet a certain standard to even get into the league meet, which will combine the best athletes from the Bay and Bridge divisions at Bremerton’s Memorial Stadium on May 10-11.

In the past, the Olympic League held a three- or four-team sub-district, depending on how many 4A schools there were at the time, before heading off to the West Central District meet.

“This is the only way it should be,” Ward said. “It’s a true championship meet. The best of the league are there. There are no free rides. In the Olympic League, everybody used to get two or three entries in every event. We had kids getting lapped in the mile.”

Because of the severe cold and wet weather that area teams have had to deal with this year, you’d think times would be slow. But Central Kitsap’s served notice early that it could be a factor in several events.

Once again, the Cougars are loaded in the relays. Central won a state title in 2000 in the 4x100 and finished fifth at Star Track in 2001, but was later disqualified for running outside its lane.

Central ran a 43.8 in a season-opening meet at Port Angeles and clocked a 43.3 on Thursday, March 21 in a win at South Kitsap. The times compare favorably to what CK was running at this stage last season.

Ward must find out who has the best chemistry out of Dustin Wilson, Kevin Pentz, Adam Roy, Ryan Hansen and Jake Anderson.

Wilson placed sixth at Star Track in the 110 hurdles a year ago and Pentz advanced to state in the 400. Roy’s the only returner from last year’s 4x100.

CK’s 4x400 relay might have even more potential with Pentz, Anderson, Tommy Driver Jr., Tyler Start and Aaron Nadeau all available. Central ran an impressive 3:30.5 earlier this week at South. Pentz has already run a 50.6 400. Anderson toured SK’s new oval in 51.9.

“I consider it a tremendous honor to be on a relay team,” Ward said. “It’s one of those things where a kid can bite and claw and scratch their way on to it. We’ve had some good ones in the past, not just the past two years. We’ve had decent ones before that that didn’t get the exposure. The kids take it seriously and I take it seriously. We just do a lot of technical work.”

On paper, Central’s distance runners, led by sophomores Kim Reiland and Crystal Lundahl, are probably the strength of a pretty balanced girls’ team.

At Olympic, sprinter Jarrell Nelson and pole vaulter Erin Shafer lead the Trojans.

Nelson, who advanced to state in the 100 a year ago, ran a career-best 10.8 on Thursday, March 21 against Gig Harbor in a meet at South Kitsap. Sophomore Ryan Benko (51.4) looks like a comer in the 400, too.

Shafer was fourth in the state in the pole vault as a junior.

“Going over 11 feet (11-3 at district) at an early stage put her up on a pedestal real fast,” Olympic coach Greg Chapman said. “But with more people jumping, the pedestal will be a little more crowded this year. You’ll have to go over 12 feet to go anywhere now. If she can stay healthy, I think she’ll go over 12 feet for sure.”

At Klahowya, Ally Hoover returns after making it to state in the 400 a year ago. Combined with Hilary Crisman, another solid quarter-miler, the Eagles have potential for a competitive relay.

Senior Chris Swanson, who led the Eagles to state in cross country, is a top 3200 runner.

At a glance

KLAHOWYA EAGLES

Coaches — Dennis Sheline/Brandon Stevens co-coach the boys and girls teams. This is Sheline’s second year and Stevens’ first.

Boys

Top returners — Chris Swanson, 1600/3200, sr.; Cory Scott, sprints, jr.; Wilson McDonald, long jump/triple jump/high jump, sr.; Tyler Reese, long jump/javelin, sr.; Joe Godsey, high jump/long jump, triple jump), sr.; Scott Brougher, shotput/discus, jr.

Top newcomers — Rory Lee, sprints/relays/discus, jr. Andrew Hoffman, high jump/long jump/shot put, pole vault, so.

Best bets for state — Swanson in 3200, Scott in sprints,. Hoffman in high jump or pole vault.

Girls

Top returners —Sarah Sheridan, hurdles/relays/sprints, jr.; Hilary Crisman, sprints/relays, sr.; Aly Hoover, sprints/relays, sr.; Carlee Larson, shot put/discus, jr.; Mary Moore, distances, so.; Elisa Moore, sprints, so.; Brenda Baxter, sprints, so.; Cristen Andersen, distances, so.

Best bets for state — Hoover in 400 (went to state last year); 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

OLYMPIC TROJANS

Coaches — Joel Grindeland/Greg Chapman co-coach the boys and girls. This is their fifth year at Olympic.

Boys

Top returners — Jarrell Nelson, sprints/relays, sr.; Robert Hodge, sprints/relays, jr.; Joshua Johnson, hurdles, jr.; Dan Frederick, distances, jr.; Andy Rockford, shot put/discus, jr.; Andri Nelson, javelin, sprints, jr.

Top Newcomers — Ryan Benko, sprints, so.; Christopher Hunt, sprints, jr.; Jonell Hodge, sprints, so.

Best bets for state — Jarrell Nelson in sprints, Benko in 400, Frederick in 3200, 4x100 relay.

Girls

Top returners — Anna Buster, hurdles, sprints, jr.; Rose Buster, hurdles/sprints, jr.; Tiffany Jess, shot put/discus, sr.; Megan Walker-Richards, distances, sr.; Carly Wilson, 800, sr.; Erin Shafer, pole vault, sr.

Top newcomers — Shakira Dixon, sprints, so.; Miah Harris, throws, so.

Best bets for state — Shafer in pole vault (4th last year), Walker-Richards in 3200, Jess in discus or shot put.

CENTRAL KITSAP COUGARS

Coach — Mark Ward (11th year with boys; 7th with girls).

Boys

Top returners — Dustin Wilson, sprints/hurdles, sr.; Kevin Pentz, sprints, sr.; Jake Anderson, sprints, sr.; Patrick Hunley, distances, sr.; Aaron Nadeau, distances, sr.; Tommy Driver, Jr., long jump, sr.; Adam Roy, sprints/triple jump/300 hurdles, jr.; Darren Adams, shot put/discus/javelin, jr.; Adam Stephenson, shot put, sr.; Ray Cotinola, pole vault, sr.

Top newcomers — Shad Stansell, shot put/long jump, so.; Peter Van Datta, shot put/discus, sr.; Tyler Start, so, distances; Alex Eddington, distances, so.; Ryan Hansen, sprints, jr.

Best bets for state — Wilson in high hurdles (6th at state last year); Pentz in 400 (went to state last year); 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay; Adams in javelin (went to state last year).

Girls

Top returners — Lauren Sato, hurdles, sr.; Brittany Healy-Tuke, sprints, sr.; Christine Murray, sprints/jumper, sr.; Stephanie Wallace, sprints/jumps, sr.; Rachel Robinson, high jump, sr.; Audrey Wicks, high jump, jr. ; Amber McKinnis, javelin, sr.; Jannel Emery, distances, jr.; Mandy Roberts, middle distances, sr.

Top newcomers — Brittany Rozier, sprints, so.; Kim Reiland, distances, so.; Crystal Lundahl, distances, so.; Ashley Nozolino, sprints, jr.; Crystal Fentress, hurdles, so.; Aimee Carrroll, jumps/throws, so.

Best bets for state — Wicks in high jump (went to state last year), Rozier in sprints, Reiland in distances, Lundahl in distances.

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