SK sends small contingent to state track meet

"It was quality over quantity for the South Kitsap High School track and field teams at the West Central District meet last weekend.Although injuries kept a number of SK athletes from qualifying for the meet at Puyallup's Sparks Stadium, SK coach Ed Santos said he was pleased with quality performances he got from those who did compete at the meet.We had a bit of a rocky finish to our league meet, Santos said. But the kids who got through the league meet and ran here did a nice job. We got a lot of kids through.Five girls and four boys earned a berth to Star Track XIX, the state meet at Lincoln Bowl in Tacoma that runs this Friday and Saturday.The 400-meter relay team of Lynette Mallard, Kristen Ritchie, Stephanie Robinson, and Teresa Schlafer earned a state berth after advancing to the finals and placing fourth (51.91 seconds).Senior Natalie Rasmussen will be the lone female athlete competing individually.The University of Tulsa-bound long distance runner took second place in the 3,200-meter run in a personal record 11 minutes, 2.39 seconds. Enumclaw's Allison Tubbs showed she's the state favorite after winning the event in 10:23.Rasmussen also placed fifth in the 1,600-meter run, the weakest of the two events.A state title in the 3,200 is impossible, barring an injury to Tubbs, though Rasmussen concedes Tubbs is the odds-on favorite to win. Being a champion isn't on her mind as much as finishing her prep career with her best race.If I get second to (Tubbs) and run a 10:45 and she runs a long as I get the time I want to get I'd be excited, Rasmussen said. There's a bunch of girls who are running 10:59s so I'm right there with them. That'll be good to have someone there with me. Rasmussen treats the 1,600 more as a hobby. She will never lay claim to being one of the state's best milers.In the 1,600 my goal is to just get a good time, she said. I've never had a good race at state in the mile.After placing eighth and seventh respectively at state in the 3,200, Rasmussen said she still hasn't put the perfect race together.I've never felt like I've run as well as I can, she said. So if I can just run a good solid race and get a good time I'll be happy.On the boys side, A.J. Edwards has the best opportunity of placing high this weekend in the 200-meter dash.Edwards, who will attend Washington State University, placed second at districts (22.51), losing to Puyallup's Cody Ellis by one-tenth of a second.Though back spasms kept him from going to districts in the 400-meter run and helping his 400-meter relay team advance, Edwards said having to compete in only one event may be a blessing in disguise.Just having one event will keep me healthier, Edwards said. It's better for my back.Though a state title is obviously the ultimate goal, Edwards said he's got his sights set on the school record of 21.9 seconds, set by Jon Schuck in 1989.Edwards is three-tenths of a second off the record.I'd love to be in the top three at state and a state title, that would be wonderful, he said. But right now I'm just going for the record.Edwards will draw a better lane assignment because of his second-place finish.Last year I was in lane eight in the finals, he said. I like the position I'm in this year.Other boys state qualifiers include senior Sam Rodgers (pole vault), sophomore Nick Anderson (triple jump), and senior Marcus Meddles (800).This will be their first trip to state.Meddles only started running track last year and has made great strides to get to the point he's in now.My first 800 time was 2:04, so I've cut six seconds off in a year, Meddles said. Having Zach (Sahlberg) helped a lot.Meddles ran a personal best 1:58 in the preliminary heat. He did that after placing 10th in the 1600.With only the 800 to concentrate on Meddles said he thinks he can run a 1:56 or a 1:55.My goal is to make it to finals, he said. I think I can do it. Anything can happen.Santos said the goal every year is to get as many kids in the finals as possible.You just have to compete well and take what you can get, Santos said. "

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