Track: South Kitsap coaches happy to face 'tough decisions'

South Kitsap
South Kitsap's Nichole Saenz finished 13th at 8 feet in the pole vault at Saturday's Shelton Invitational.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes photo

SHELTON — South Kitsap track and field co-coach Paul Zimmer said he has some “tough decisions” when it comes to the boys 1,600-meter relay team.

He probably received little clarity on that at Saturday’s Shelton Invitational.

Senior Dan Schulte replaced Bastian Tabacchi, who suffered a calf injury in the meet, and teamed with Adam Gascoyne, LaForrest Church and Nick Sleigh to push the Wolves into second place in that event in 3 minutes, 26.8 seconds. Wenatchee was first in 3:24.54.

In essence, it is a good quandary for Zimmer to have as he and co-coach Kathy Ballew determine which four runners they will use as the regular season winds down. The Class 4A Narrows League meet begins May 10 at Shelton

The 1,600 relay was just one reason why Zimmer left Highclimber Stadium elated, though.

“I’m thrilled with how we competed,” he said. “We’ve improved in just about every event.”

South’s lone first-place finisher was Kelsie Forcier. The Eastern Washington University-bound senior won the discus with a throw of 113 feet, 1 inch.

“It went really well,” Forcier said.

That was different than earlier in the day when Forcier finished fourth in the shot put at 36-04. Orting’s Mykaelynn Powers won the event in 39-01.

“The last two meets I haven’t done my best,” said Forcier, adding that she will concentrate on technique as the playoffs approach. “I am just learning the rotation of the spin for the shot.”

Forcier acknowledged that she has struggled with consistency this year. At the April 14 Eason Invitational at Snohomish High, Forcier placed first in the shot put and fourth in the discus.

“I am a competitive athlete and it gets frustrating,” she said. “I got upset and it started getting mental. I need to work on the mental aspect.”

Zimmer agreed.

“She’s so hard on herself,” he said. “If she just relaxes, I think she’s ready to pop one.”

Forcier helped the Wolves’ girls team finish 13th with 20 points. Gig Harbor (69) won the 35-team field. On the boys side, South tied for 12th with 20 points. Wenatchee (80) won the 38-team competition.

Zimmer said other notable performers included juniors Adam Gascoyne and Jessica Peterson and senior Amanda Wilson.

Gascoyne finished fourth in the long jump in 19-09 ¾.

“He’s so explosive,” Zimmer said.

Peterson was fifth in the 3,200 (11:24.54), while Wilson finished ninth in the 200 (26.89) and eighth in the 400 (60.86), respectively. Wilson is healthy this year after being plagued with knee problems in the past.

“I think it was kind of a mental breakthrough,” said Zimmer, adding that Wilson’s time in the 200 was a personal best. “She got through and felt like she had more.”

Wilson and her teammates competed in a league meet two days earlier at Mount Tahoma and Zimmer was happy with how they responded.

“It’s not like any of them have rested,” he said. “We’ve seen how far we can take some of them.

“That kind of is why we picked this competition. Now they know how it will work and how competitive they are.”

Zimmer said it comes down to confidence.

“The kids just have to believe,” he said. “They can perform even more.”

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