Wolves limited, but not left out

South Kitsap’s Lindsey Porter, a favorite in the pole vault, was not able to clear 10 feet on her three tries and will not be moving on to Districts. Tahoma High School. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
South Kitsap’s Lindsey Porter, a favorite in the pole vault, was not able to clear 10 feet on her three tries and will not be moving on to Districts. Tahoma High School.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Joanne Warren has marveled at Juwuan Rattler’s athletic ability since track and field practice began, but the South Kitsap High School coach hasn’t been able to use perhaps her best athlete in running events because of hamstring issues.

Instead, the coaching staff has settled for his work on the field side.

Rattler showed his ability in the final day of the Narrows League Championships with a throw of 143 feet, 3 inches, to win the discus.

“Juwuan can pop one out,” said Warren, adding that she hopes the junior can run next year. “If he can pop out a 150 discus, he can go (to state).”

SK’s Jon Phillips had the best time in Wednesday’s 800-meter run preliminaries, but fell to third at 1 minute, 58.85 seconds in the final.

Central Kitsap’s Rustin Winger (1:57.73) and North Kitsap’s Ray Reedy (1:58.65) finished in front of him.

The top six individuals and teams in each event qualified for the West Central District meet, which begins Friday at Mount Tahoma High School, and Phillips also earned a spot there in the 400 dash with a time of 52.28 seconds to finish sixth.

Phillips, a junior, said his struggles where related to not eating most of Thursday. He forgot to bring his wallet to buy dinner at the Mariners game that evening.

“It’s always something with Jon,” Warren said.

Sophomore Leon La Deaux placed third in the 300 hurdles at 41.25 behind Central’s Sean Walker (40.43) and Derek Parrish (40.76).

“I’m proud of myself and I’m normally my biggest critic,” La Deaux said. “This is the first year I’ve done track.”

Warren also was impressed with La Deaux, who also plays football and basketball.

“He’s definitely got a bright future,” she said. “The fact that a sophomore qualified in three events is impressive.”

La Deaux and Phillips also were part of the Wolves’ 1,600 relay team that finished fourth at 3:28.53.

Mount Tahoma won the event in 3:27.44.

South also might have qualified in the 400 relay, but junior Ryan Williams injured his right hamstring on the last leg and the Wolves finished last.

“That was painful to watch,“ said Warren, adding that Williams has been sick this week. “He strained or pulled a hamstring.“

Other South competitors who qualified for districts from the final day include senior Stephen Tucker (11.38, sixth place) in the 100 dash; senior Kyle Stolp (4:29.72, fifth) in the 1,600 run; senior Devlan Miller (6-2, fourth) and Rattler (5-6, seventh) in the high jump.

The Wolves finished fourth among 11 schools with 71 points behind Gig Harbor (118), Mount Tahoma (101) and Wilson (95).

“I had some disappointments,” Warren said. “I thought our boys had a shot at the title.”

That extended to the girls team, where South finished eighth with 22 points.

Gig Harbor won the team competition with 177.5 points.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the event, at least for the Wolves, was senior Lindsey Porter’s failure to clear 10 feet at the pole vault in three tries.

Warren thought earlier in the year that Porter was the school’s best prospect to earn a state championship.

“That’s heartbreaking,” she said. “Her knees are killing her. We probably should’ve thought about passing her through.”

Molly Werder might have been the Wolves’ biggest surprise. She finished eighth in the prelims for the 100 hurdles, but jumped to fourth in the finals in 16.7 seconds.

Gig Harbor’s Bree LeRoy won the event at 15.23.

“I set a (personal record) and had a good time,” Werder said. “My confidence is up by far since the beginning of the year.”

Warren said she was pleased with her sophomores’ performance throughout the meet.

“It’s really hard for sophomores because they come from a very short junior-high season,” she said. “I went to a junior high meet the other day and they’re running around playing games and everything is a big zoo. Then they get to the high school and it’s a whole different world.”

The Wolves qualified in the 1,600 relay at 4:13.08.

Central won that event in 4:02.24.

Other South individuals who qualified for districts from the final day include senior Rachelle Jensen (33-0 ¼) in the triple jump and Karrine Nelson (101-0) in the javelin.

(“Jensen) kind of hit a plateau,“ said Warren. “She has power and technique, she just has to put it all together.“

Warren said she would like to change the format of the meet from its regular Wednesday-Friday setup next year.

Districts are Friday and Saturday and she would like to see something similar.

Warren said athletes are sorer when they have a one-day layoff than they would be when competing on consecutive days.

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