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Track and field: Wolves move forward with youthful squads
South Kitsap 2012 schedule
Thurs. Mt. Tahoma
March 24 SK Relays
March 29 Stadium
April 12 at Gig Harbor
April 14 Eason Invite
April 18 at Shelton
April 26 at Mt. Tahoma
April 28 Shelton Invite
Coach: Kathy Ballew (boys) and Paul Zimmer (girls), first season.
Key returners: Chas Bauman (discus, shot put), sr.; Dominic Boddie (sprints), sr.; Eric Burk (sprints), sr.; Austin Fritz (distance), sr.; Eddie Meisner (shot put), sr.; Steven Pavlik (discus, shot put), sr.; Dan Schulte (distance), sr. Girls—Kelsie Forcier (discus, shot put), sr.; Sarah Lacey (distance relay, hurdles), sr.; Amanda Wilson (400, 800), jr.
Key newcomers: Boys—Isaiah Cotten (sprints), so. Girls—Alexa James (hurdles), so.; Mary Shaffer (hurdles), so.; Soriandy Sutman (sprints), so.; Justine Wolfe (hurdles), so.
Key departures: Boys—Isaiah Davis (jumps), graduated; Nathan O’Guin (sprints), graduated; Javier Scott (sprints), graduated. Girls—Ashlee Becker (pole vault), graduated; Hillary Hestead (sprints), graduated; Shelby Jackson (discus, shot put), graduated; Bethany Sanchez (sprints, long jump), graduated; Chelsi Swanson (sprints, long jump, triple jump), graduated.
He does not solicit comparisons.
After all, Isaiah Davis is one of the best athletes to come through South Kitsap.
But when it comes providing the Wolves’ boys track and field team with versatility, senior Eric Burk thinks he could help the program in a way similar to Davis as long as he can compete.
That might be the biggest issue.
Burk, who started at cornerback last fall for South, was felled with academic and injury issues that prevented him from competing in the postseason.
He acknowledges that the former was preventable and his grades now are solid.
As a sophomore, Burk ran the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 11.56 seconds. With two more years of experience, Burk hopes to beat that time and earn a spot at Star Track.
Last year, Steven Pavlik, who finished 16th in the discus with a throw of 128 feet, 9 inches, was the school’s one male competitor to qualify for state.
Burk also competes on the 400-relay team and hopes to get that unit, which finished one spot away last spring from qualifying for state, back to that level. Former coach Joanne Warren said at the time that she felt a healthy Dominic Boddie would have made the difference.
“We have some returners that look forward to getting farther,” said Burk, who also competes in the long and triple jumps.
Burk might be South’s best prospect in the jumps now that Davis, who plays football at Eastern Washington, has graduated.
Burk finished seventh in the long jump at last year’s South Kitsap Invitational (17-09). Davis won that event (21-04) and broke the school record in the high jump (6-10).
The Wolves might not have a similar standout on their boys team, but coach Kathy Ballew likes some of returning talent beyond the sprinters.
She mentioned a pair of seniors who throw the shot put, Chas Bauman and Eddie Meisner, and distance runner Austin Fritz as ones to watch.
Ballew, the school’s long-time fastpitch coach, is sharing coaching duties with Paul Zimmer. Ballew has served as an assistant under Zimmer on South’s cross-country team.
Officially, Zimmer is the girls coach but he said the coaches and teams work together collaboratively.
“It works well,” Zimmer said. “We’re a good team.”
The girls team has about 40 members, which is about 15 fewer than the boys program, but might have more state hopefuls.
It starts with senior Kelsie Forcier. She wore two medals around her neck after placing sixth and eighth, respectively, in the discus and shot put last year at state.
“If Kelsie focuses, I think that’s a possibility,” said Zimmer, referring to her winning a state title. “That should be a goal for her.”
South also sent its 400- and 1,600-relay teams to state last year. The 400 team placed 15th (51.0), while the 1,600 quartet was 11th (4:03.18).
The latter team only graduated one member, Hillary Hestead, but she was the group’s top runner. At districts, she finished her lap in a personal-best 59.7 seconds.
“We’re in a tough league in that event,” Zimmer said.
But he noted that the Wolves could benefit from having a healthy Sarah Lacey, who frequently has battled injuries, including a stress fracture in her left leg two years ago, at South.
“We made it to state last year, so hopefully we will (place) better,” Lacey said.
Zimmer said he was happy with how hard seniors Molly Wheeler and Amanda Wilson and junior Jessica Peterson prepared during the offseason.
Add those runners to Lacey and classmates Rhianna Boe and Christa Lane and distance appears to be a strength for the Wolves.
In the sprints, Zimmer said junior Megan Sherman has emerged.
“She is stepping into that role of being a leader,” he said.
With the exception of Forcier, South is youthful in most of its field events following the graduations of Shelby Jackson (discus, javelin and shot put) and Bethany Sanchez (long jump).
Others that Zimmer hoped would compete in those events elected to play different sports.
He is hopeful that sophomore hurdlers Alexa James, Mary Shaffer and Justine Wolfe can make immediate contributions.