Sports

Cross Country: South Kitsap boys and girls teams advance to districts

South Kitsap junior LaForrest Church placed 14th in a time of 16 minutes, 52.57 seconds Wednesday at the Narrows League Cross Country Championships at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.  - Chris Chancellor/Staff photo
South Kitsap junior LaForrest Church placed 14th in a time of 16 minutes, 52.57 seconds Wednesday at the Narrows League Cross Country Championships at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood.
— image credit: Chris Chancellor/Staff photo

LAKEWOOD — “The dog ate my homework” is a timeless homework excuse.

But South Kitsap’s Jessica Peterson takes it to a whole new level.

She said she was “run down” by the family’s Saint Bernard-Labrador mix two days before school started in September. The accident resulted in back and hip injuries that curtailed her performance up to this point.

“But it’s feeling good now,” she said Wednesday, adding that the dog was playing and meant no harm. “No complaints.”

Peterson displayed the form that made her one of the area’s top newcomers last year again as she placed fifth in 19 minutes, 17.88 seconds, in the girls race of the 5-kilometer Class 4A Narrows League Cross Country Championships at Fort Steilacoom Park. Gig Harbor freshman Brenna Peloquin won the race (18:51.72).

The top 20 girls and boys automatically advance to the Oct. 29 Westside Cross Country Classic at American Lake Veterans Golf Course in Lakewood. Because South’s boys and girls teams finished in the top four, the Wolves will be able to take both squads to the meet.

Peterson said she now feels completely healthy, but is still working to build her endurance.

“I’m just working on getting my lungs back in shape,” she said.

Her time was more than 20 seconds worse than last year’s Westside meet, when she placed sixth (18:55.4).

“I expect that I’ll just keep getting better with a little more practice,” said Peterson, who broke the 800-meter record in 2009 at Cedar Heights Junior High. “I think I’ll just drop my time again to where I was planning to be this year. I expect better from myself this year.”

In addition to Peterson, three other South girls placed in the top 20: seniors Molly Wheeler (20:17.4, 14th place) and Amanda Wilson (20:20.69, 15th) and junior Keegan Tasker (20:42.26, 17th). That helped the Wolves finish second in the team standings, with 78 points.

“Our girls are so strong this year,” Peterson said. “I heard them right behind me and they just kept pushing me.”

South coach Paul Zimmer agreed.

“We’re finally putting together a top seven to push each other,” he said. “It makes the whole team better.”

On the boys side, senior Daniel Schulte said the Wolves are determined to go to state after none qualified last year. Schulte (16:28.5, 12th) was the team’s highest placer Wednesday. Gig Harbor sophomore Wolfgang Beck won the event (15:42.69).

“We stayed in a group and went for it,” Schulte said. “We totally ignored the guy in front (Beck) because he does that every year. He’s a beast.”

Junior LaForrest Church (16:52.57, 16th) was the only other South competitor to place in the top 20. But the entire team will advance to the Westside meet after the Wolves finished third with 103 points.

“The boys weren’t happy with the way we performed — but we’re moving onto the district meet,” Zimmer said.

He said the team recently was hurt when junior Kyle Norris suffered a season-ending stress fracture in his left foot.

But Schulte still sees a team that can qualify for state.

“We’ve been looking forward to state all year,” he said. “Our times are better and we have more energy and skill. Making it to state is pretty much one of my only goals this year.”

Class 4A Narrows League Cross Country Championships

Girls

Team scores-1, Bellarmine Prep 33; 2, South Kitsap 78; 3, Central Kitsap 87; 4, Gig Harbor 94; 5, Olympia 107; 6, Stadium 123; 7, Shelton 225.

Individuals (top 20 and South Kitsap only)-1, Brenna Peloquin (GH) 18:51.72; 2, Sofia Kane (O) 18:55.52; 3, Daryl Phill (BP) 19:02.11; 4, Rose Christen (CK) 19:04.66; 5, Jessica Peterson (SK) 19:17.88; 6, Hannah Derby (BP) 19:27.3; 7, Jordan Thurston (BP) 19:27.56; 8, Zoe Willis (BP) 19:48.21; 9, Izze Arens (BP) 19:51.05; 10, Hayley Hustead (BP) 19:58.97; 11, Danielle Rowe (BP) 20:01.86; 12, Sophie Carroll (CK) 20:07.78; 13, Emily Coic (ST) 20:10.87; 14, Molly Wheeler (SK) 20:17.4; 15, Amanda Wilson (SK) 20:20.69; 16, Eloise Ryser (O) 20:23.02; 17, Keegan Tasker (SK) 20:42.26; 18, Kristen Murray (GH) 20:47.8; 19, Alison Johnson (CK) 20:50.31; 20, Michaela Rubenstein (CK) 20:50.87; 27, McKenzie Henry (SK) 21:24.85; 31, Justine Morris (SK) 21:42.31; 40, Laura Rill (SK) 22:19.71; 46, Claire Polley (SK) 23:16.38.

Boys

Team scores-1, Gig Harbor 17; 2, Bellarmine Prep 71; 3, South Kitsap 103; 4, Olympia 110; 5, Shelton 125; 6, Stadium 147; 7, Central Kitsap 172.

Individuals (top 20 and South Kitsap only)-1, Wolfgang Beck (GH) 15:42.69; 2, Logan Carroll (GH) 15:57.38; 3, Casey Peloquin (GH) 16:02.55; 4, Tristan Peloquin (GH) 16:05.91; 5, Michael Thorsen (CK) 16:07.28; 6, TJ Grant (BP) 16:09.99; 7, Joseph Gagliano (GH) 16:13.06; 8, Peter Kesting (O) 16:13.28; 9, Cody Williamson (SH) 16:19.95; 10, Will Drinkwater (GH) 16:21.6; 11, Zach Parker (GH) 16:25.75; 12, Daniel Schulte (SK) 16:28.5; 13, Casey Kendall (BP) 16:33.78; 14, Luke Hoffman (GH) 16:37.29; 15, Cameron Freshwaters (ST) 16:46.37; 16, LaForrest Church (SK) 16:52.57; 17, Tavin Jensen (BP) 16:55.61; 18, Quentin Purtzer (BP) 16:56.98: 19, Nate Van Haitsma (O) 16:58.8; 20, Kyle Karalus (BP) 17:00.77; 24, Nick Sleigh (SK) 17:15.5; 26, Jacob Yarbrough (SK) 17:20.75; 30, Austin Fritz (SK) 17:24.12; 39, Zach Sleigh (SK) 17:50.74; 40, AJ Mercado (SK) 17:51.64; 43, Mason Villama (SK) 18:01.77; 47, Nathan Ford (SK) 18:20.61.

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