Oly's Shafer vaults 11-4, CK relays shine at Bremerton

Eric Shafer sailed over the bar at 11-feet, 1-inch easily.

A couple minutes later, the Olympic High senior was bouncing out of the landing area after clearing a career-best 11-4.

“Let’s go 12 feet,” she said.

Why not?

Well, she didn’t make that height during the fourth annual Bremerton Relays on Saturday, March 23, but it’s certainly within her reach.

If Shafer seemed like she was in mid-season form, it’s because she is. She’s been practicing since mid-December at an indoor facility in Auburn that serves as a home to the Pacific Northwest Track Club’s vaulters.

“It’s paying off,” said Shafer, who cleared 12 feet the day before in practice.

Shafer’s probably going to be testing a longer pole in the near future.

“This one’s brand new and I’ve already blown through it,” she said of the 12-foot, 6-inch pole she was using.

Shafer won the West Central District meet a year ago with a leap of 11-3, but couldn’t duplicated the effort at state, where she placed fourth.

Her goals this year?

“I’m just taking it one step at a time,” she said. “I’m trying to be smart about it.”

At a meet where the emphasis is on fun and participation, Central Kitsap’s relays put on the best show on a day when Mother Nature elected to break out a little warmth and sunshine.

Central’s 4x100 relay team (Dustin Wilson, Adam Roy, Ryan Hansen and Kevin Pentz) won in 43.4. And the quartet of Tommy Driver Jr., Aaron Nadeau, Tyler Start and Pent won the 4x400 in 3:31.5 . The marks were off their season bests turned in two days earlier in a dual at South Kitsap (43.3 and 3:30.5), but impressive nonetheless.

Central’s school record of 42.02 in the 4x100 is probably safe, but the record of 3:27.7 in the 4x400 is within reach. “Very much so,” CK coach Mark Ward said.

Pentz, who ran a 50.2-second anchor leg on Saturday, thinks the Cougars can get into the mid-3:20s.

“I think we can get down there if we get some competition,” Pentz said.

Pentz, who popped a personal-best 50.5 the one time he ran the 400 this season, has lofty goals for himself, too.

“My goal is 47.5,” said Pentz, who was looking forward to hooking up with teammate Jake Anderson and Olympic’s Ryan Benko. Central and Olympic meet on Thursday, March 28 in a Narrows League dual at Silverdale Stadium. Anderson (51.9) and Benko (51.4) both showed some explosiveness in that event the previous week.

Individually, Central’s Wilson won the 110 hurdles (15.0) at the Bremerton Relays, but it was fourth-tenths off his personal best.

The Cougars placed fifth (girls) and sixth (boys) overall, but Ward wasn’t too concerned about winning the competition.

“Depth’s a problem,” he said, noting he didn’t enter teams in some of the non-traditional events like the sprint and distance relays. “This is a nice meet. It’s good for the kids, especially the younger kids. It’s an opportunity to see a lot of people compete. In the field events, you like to see how they do, but other than the relays (boys 4x100 and 4x400 and girls 4x100 and 4x200), it’s just a Saturday practice.”

Central’s girls, for the record, won the 4x200 in 1:51.39 and placed second to Port Angeles in the 4x100 (51.67).

Port Angeles (girls) and Yelm (boys) were the top teams.

In addition to Shafer, Olympic won the shot put relay with a total of 94-8. Tiffany Jess (36-3) and Miah Harris (35-6) had the top throws.

Oly’s Jess also had a decent effort in the discus (101-7) and teammate Shakira Dixon leaped 14-0 in the long jump.

Central won the high jump relays with Audrey Wicks and Rachel Robinson both clearing 5-0.

CK’s Christine Murray had the second-best effort (15-9) in the long jump.

Host Bremerton finished second in the boys meet. The Knights got victories from Kellen Alley, who lowered his school mark in the 300 hurdles to 40.19, and in the triple jump relay, where the trio of BJ Ray (41-1 1/2), Tieba Bropleh (40-5) and Alley (40-0) blew the competition away.

Bremerton’s Lih Kuhlman won the girls’ 2000 steeplechase (7:49.60).

KW’s Finney, Grey cited

Kelli Finney and Heidi Grey of King’s West were named “Warriors of the Meet,” at the Seattle Academy Invitational at West Seattle Stadium on Saturday, March 23. The Warriors, a first-year team, were competing in their first invitational.

Finney ran two 800s, a 1600 and competed in the shot put relay. Grey jumped 14-7 in the long jump and 28-7 in the triple jump and took her team from fifth to second in the final leg of the 4x400 relay.

James Meier had KW’s top individual finish, placing second in the javelin (138-6).

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