Sports

Phillips off to 'Hot' start

With a pair of talented seniors in Cedric Carter and Renard Williams, South Kitsap’s Jon Phillips might have been overshadowed in track last season.

A repeat seems unlikely this year.

That’s because Phillips, who placed third in the 800-meter run in May at the West Central District track meet, had a variety of alignments — including knee problems and tendonitis in his right foot — in addition to the flu, which he said hindered his performance from the league meet to state. He also didn’t perform up to his standards in cross country when he “took 39th at state when I should’ve taken 18th.”

The non-school season already has been better for Phillips. In the June 24 HotFoot run at South Kitsap Community Park, he set the five-kilometer course record in 16 minutes, 2 seconds. That mark broke the record of former South standout C.J. Godfrey, who finished in 16:13 in 2005, the last of his five wins in the event.

“It was very encouraging,” said Phillips, adding that it is a slow course. “I was surprised to beat his record.”

Phillips said he would like to run another five-kilometer event this summer, but cannot find another locally. That means he might just compete in the four-mile July 28 Whale of a Run in Silverdale.

He also is busy training for the United States Track and Field Federation National Junior Olympics championship July 24-29 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

Phillips, who runs for the Federal Way track club, said he feels he can compete for a national record in the 1,500 run and 2,000 steeple in the intermediate age group, which consists of athletes born in 1991 and 1992.

Once he completes that, Phillips will prepare for cross-country season. He said based on improved ability and health, he should be a much better runner in the fall.

“Last year, I didn't do too great,” he said. “I took 39th at state when I should’ve taken 18th. This year (South coach Paul Zimmer) thinks I can take fifth.”

Phillips advanced to state in the 800 in track — where he finished at 1 minute, 57:58 seconds in the preliminaries and didn’t qualify for state, but expects to be back again in that event in addition to the 1,600.

“My goal for next year is to get under a 1:51 in the 800, break 4:12 in the mile and break 50 (seconds) in the 400,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll run the 400 at state, but I’ll run it throughout the season.”

With Williams, who had South’s lone state championship in the shot put, graduated along with Carter, one of the area’s top sprinters, Phillips knows he and his teammates need to be even more productive next year to compensate for their losses. Williams (Eastern Washington) and Carter (Idaho) will participate in football and track in college.

“We lose a couple of our sprinters and a couple of our throwers,” Phillips said. “It looks like our distance crew is going to have to step it up next year.”

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