Wilson healthy, ready to make a run for SK cross-country team

Redshirt is a term used in college sports, but it might benefit South Kitsap’s girls cross-country team this season.

While the knee problems that prevented junior Amanda Wilson from running last year will not allow her to preserve a year of eligibility, coach Paul Zimmer hopes she will be able to seamlessly replace Erika Copeland as the team’s top runner.

Copeland now is a freshman at Saint Martin’s University.

“She was running with Erika as a freshman,” Zimmer said.

Copeland, who finished in 19 minutes, 30 seconds at the state meet, was the Wolves’ only female to advance that far last season, but Zimmer thinks that number could increase this year. Sophomore Keegan Tasker returns after placing 57th in 20:56.6 in the Westside Cross Country Classic at Lakewood’s American Lake Veterans Golf Course last year. The top 30 competitors advanced to state.

There also is newcomer Jessica Peterson, a sophomore who, according to Zimmer, set the 800-meter record in the spring at Cedar Heights Junior High.

“We’ll have someone to push (Wilson) finally,” he said.

Tasker said she is excited about the team’s depth this year. Two other seasoned runners, junior Rhianna Boe and sophomore Claire Polley, also return.

“I think we have a really good chance to get to state this year,” Tasker said.

The Wolves’ boys team graduated its top two runners, Andrew Crock and Jeff Robinson, from last year.

Robinson, who finished 110th among 144 state competitors in 17:12, was South’s only male to advance to that point last year.

But junior Daniel Schulte actually had the team’s best time in the Narrows League meet.

He finished that event in 16:52.52 to place 14th, but fell to 122nd in 19:06.3 at the Westside meet. Zimmer said Schulte was suffering from an illness at the time.

“I expect big things from him this year,” he said.

Senior Cody Pace is expect to vie with Schulte to be the team’s top runner. He finished 111th in 18:24.7 last year at the Westside meet.

“It’s pretty competitive,” said Pace, referring to the No. 1 position. “I have no idea who is going to be there.”

Other returners include junior Austin Fritz and sophomores Kyle Norris and Brady Tinker. Zimmer felt that Norris and Tinker made the most progress on the team among those who ran during the summer.

Combine those runners with a pair of newcomers, sophomore LaForrest Church and junior Orrin Boese, and Zimmer thinks his team can be successful in the Narrows League — and perhaps beyond.

“I think they can be just as competitive as any boys team in the last three years, at least,” he said. “We have some hard workers; some pretty determined kids.”

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