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Numbers favor Wolves
Going into its third season with a third head coach, it would easy for the South Kitsap track and field team to simply slide into the mediocre portion of the Narrows League standings this year.
But when first-year coach Joanne Warren stepped out onto the SK practice field last month, she was greeted by more than 100 athletes ready to put the program back on top.
Its been busy and kind of crazy with a 105 kids, Warren said. I dont think weve ever had a program that big, which is exciting, because my goal when we started off the year was to have three buses (of kids), and we met that already.
The real goal, as always, is to get as many kids as possible to the state meet in Pasco. Especially after the school, which has been a traditionally strong track program in the past, has taken just seven kids in the past two years.
The number of athletes out this year is one thing that will help. But its not just the sheer number of kids that are participating that matters.
For the first time in three years, the Wolves wont have to rely solely on its strong distance runners and usually potent throwers for points.
Were going to be a lot more balanced, Warren said. Theres a lot more depth than weve ever had.
Unlike in years past, the South football team will be coming to the rescue.
Joining senior Bruce Fernie, who did run track last year, are sophomores DeAndre Jackson and Stephan Tucker and junior Cedric Carter.
With that trio coming out for track this season, it gives the Wolves not only some much needed speed but a lot of depth at the sprinter positions.
Weve got a lot of juniors that have come out, and about eight of them are fighting to run the 400 (relay), Warren said. Â Weve got the depth on both sides, whereas before we were lucky to see one or two sprinters. Were going to be two or three deep (in each event).
With Fernie, Tucker, Jackson and Carter, the Wolves will have a chance to give Central Kitsap a run in some of the sprinter races, including the 100, 200, 400 and 4-by-100 relay.
Its always been the long distance and the throwers, thats where we always got our points from, Fernie said. Now I think thats going to change a little bit.
Armeena Dewalt is back after a strong sophomore year and should pace a pretty good group of sprinters for the girls. Angela Pappuleas and Cera Olson also give the Wolves some depth in the hurdles.
All of that speed should blend nicely with the depth and quality South already has at its distance and throwing events.
Back for his junior season is Renard Williams, the only underclassmen to qualify for the state meet last year for South. With a year of experience and his natural talent in the shot put, Williams could be the breakout star of the team.
Kyle Saltsgaver and Bryan Bayly return for his senior year while junior Carl Welch adds plenty of depth.
The girls may not be as deep, yet, but there is talent here, led by senior Jessica Cousins, who throws both the shot and discus.
I think we (as a group) will do really well this year, said Cousins, the only senior thrower. Im already throwing much better this year than last year.
As always, distance events will be another stronghold for the Wolves, as many members of its cross-country teams are here to run, including Kyle Stolp, Trevor Boaz and Devon Wright on the boys side while Shyla Coleman, Britta Peterson and Shannon Polley on the girls side.
South may start the year a little short in the jumping events but Kyle Cryder and Cera Olson should be strong in the pole vault. Cryder has the boys school record in his sights while Olson is trying the pole vault for the first time but has already shown signs of being very good at it.
Besides the pole vault, Olson will compete in both the hurdles and the 4-by-400 relay.
There are others who will be counted on to score this year, like Jose Gidican in the long jump and Jacque Sampson in the hurdles.
As a whole, South should make a push for the Narrows League title, as well as start rebuilding is reputation as a track & field power in western Washington.
Getting the numbers up was the first thing, Warren said. Once you have the numbers there, you have people pushing as well as supporting you. You dont feel like youre alone out there. And it makes it more fun.
2006 South Kitsap Track & Field Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME
March 22 PORT ANGELES/NORTH KITSAP 3:30 p.m.
March 25 @Bremerton Relays 10 a.m.
March 30 @Bellarmine 3:30 p.m.
April 12 WILSON/BREMERTON 3:30 p.m.
April 20 @Central Kitsap 3:30 p.m.
April 22 SK INVITATIONAL 11 a.m.
April 27 GIG HARBOR 3:30 p.m.
April 29 Girls @Lake Washington Invite 9 a.m.
April 29 Boys @ Shoreline Invite 9 a.m.
May 3 @Bremerton Last Chance Qualifer3:30 p.m.
May 5 @Silverdale Kitsap County Meet 4 p.m.
May 11 NARROWS LEAGUE MEET 3:30 p.m.
May 13 NARROWS LEAGUE MEET 10 a.m.
May 19-20 WCD Meet Mt. Tahoma TBD
May 26-27 State Meet Pasco TBD