Wolves expect to run well in districts

"The South Kitsap track team survived the worrisome twinges of aching backs at the Narrows League meet and now turns its focus to this weekend's district meet at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Back spasms hindered top sprinters, A.J. Edwards and Ryan Cole, on the track Saturday at Lincoln Bowl, where Rachelle Cooper, sixth at state in the shot put last year, was a no-show. The Wolves placed fourth in the boys competition with 64 points, 70 behind champion Wilson. The South girls placed sixth with 56 points, far behind Bellarmine Prep. The Lions ran away with the team championship with 153.5 points. Teresa Schlafer epitomized a gritty team effort for the Wolves, anchoring all three girls relays, each of which qualified for district. Schlafer also will compete at district in the long jump after placing fourth with a leap of 15-8 1/2. In the meet's final event, Schlafer doggedly held off a Gig Harbor challenge down the stretch and held onto fifth place for the Wolves' 4-by-400 relay team, which kept its season alive for at least one more week. Schlafer was joined on the 4-by-400 by Adie Hendrixson, Beth Rosapepe and Kindel Stepper and on the 4-by-100 and 4-by-200 by Lynette Mallard, Kristen Ritchie, and Stephanie Robinson. Both Ritchie, who placed third, and Mallard (fifth) advanced to district in the 100-meter dash.Natalie Rasmussen and Sam Rodgers won individual titles in the 3,200-meter run and pole vault, respectively. Rasmussen cruised to victory in Friday's 3,200 meters, then came back Saturday to place third in the 1,600. Bound for the University of Tulsa in the fall, Rasmussen won the 3,200 in 11:14.11, more than 25 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Rosapepe came home fifth in 11:49.41 to grab the league's last district berth. Rodgers won the boys pole vault competition by clearing the bar at 13 feet. Next week, the competition increases exponentially for Rasmussen, who will run against Enumclaw's Alison Tubbs. But she knows it's not a one-on-one deal.She just ran a 10:24; I don't expect to run 10:24 or anything near that, Rasmussen said. If she beats me at district and state and I run a 10:45 and she runs 10:20, that's fine. If I can compete with her, that would be awesome. But that's not my goal. My goal's to get a really good time.That, she defined as being in the low 10:50s or upper 10:40s. I'm very capable of running that, Rasmussen said. I've been running very fast workouts. It's just a matter of putting together the right race. I don'tthink I had a very good week racing-wise. With Alison in there, at least I'll have someone to chase an not be out there all alone.For Edwards, Saturday was a painful day in more than one way. After finishing as the top qualifier Friday in preliminaries for both the 200 and 400- meter dash, he pulled up in the homestretch of the 400 after his back seized on him. That was a bit of a disappointment, because that's his best race, South coach Ed Santos said. His back was tying up, so just to get him through in the 200 was a big deal.Edwards managed to qualify for district in the 200, but walked away from the track stiffly, absorbing obvious pain. The last few weeks have just murdered me, Edwards said. It's annoying more than disheartening. It's something else to do, some other mental game to play.Edwards also handled the anchor leg in the Wolves' 4-by-100 relay team that barely snuck into district. Lorenzo Bryant substituted for Cole in the openingleg, followed by Victor Valle, and Landon Edwards, A.J.'s younger brother. Cole, dogged by spasms in his lower back, pulled up lame in the 100, finishing eighth, one place behind Valle.Marcus Meddles placed second in Friday's 1,600, then returned Saturday and got the same finish in the 800, where he was overtaken by Peninsula's Micah Hulbert in the stretch.Micah always gets me in the last 200 meters, he said. I just tried to go out fast enough so he didn't get me. It didn't happen.Meddles said the rewards of having worked with former 800 ace Zach Sahlberg last year has paid a considerable dividend on the track this spring.That helped a lot last year, Meddles said. I wish he was here still. Last year I always knew where I needed to be behind him to run what time.Cooper, who placed sixth at state in the shot put last year, was a conspicuous no-show at the Narrows League meet. Santos said her volleyball schedule just became too hectic to accommodate track and field.Something had to give, and we gave I guess, Santos said.Elsewhere for the Wolves, Nick Anderson's 42-2 was good for second in the triple jump and is the best-ever mark for a South sophomore. RyanDouglas-Reid placed third in the high jump with a leap of 5-10. "

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