Sports

SK ready to run

Every season Ed Santos beams with excitement as the prep cross-country season nears.

The SK coach, entering his 14th year at the helm, said he’s especially fired up this season because his expectations are high for girls and boys teams.

While the girls team is expected to make its 14th straight appearance at state, the boys team will look to end its three-year drought from the state meet this year.

Santos said good things should come if his runners stay healthy.

Six juniors will lead the way for the boys team.

Josh Cobb, SK’s No. 1 runner, returns but is being heavily challenged by C.J. Godfrey, who only ran track last year.

Pushing the top runners will be Justin Culver, Drew Polley, Steven Millard, and Jacob Warren.

Santos said he started getting excited about the boys team after watching it compete in track last spring.

“They were doing a great job,” Santos said. “As sophomores, they had a great spring and ran really well.”

Their super spring carried over into the prep camp in which the boys participated this summer.

Their hard work was rewarded with a pre-season No. 10 ranking in the state by the Washington State Cross Country Coaches Association.

The girls are ranked No. 8.

While other of the top teams may have more talented No. 1 runners, Santos said the key to a successful program is to have a deep team.

“There’s the old adage that you’re only as good as your No. 5 (runner),” Santos said.

One of the keys to the success of the girls program is the lack of ego within the top runners, Santos said.

Though high in confidence, Santos said there is no individual glory unless it helps the team.

“Everyone is very together,” he said. “They want to win for each other. Cross-country is so team-oriented.”

That should be the key to the girls success this year, just like past years.

Though SK lost No. 1 runner Kindel Stepper to graduation, SK will bring back five of seven varsity runners this year.

Leading the way is Kayle Peterson, the team’s lone senior.

Nipping at Peterson’s heels will be junior veterans Danielle Friend and Eileen Morley.

SK’s depth will show with its No. 4 through No. 7 runners.

Junior Lynette Millard and sophomore Katie Rosapepe will round out the top five.

But playing key roles in the team’s success will be the contributions from juniors Brianna Mercer, Katie McCausland and sophomore Ashley Nigbor.

Though the No. 6 and No. 7 runners don’t score points, they can finish in front of an opponent’s top five runners to prevent them from scoring points.

While dual meets don’t carry much weight, Santos said the fourth dual meet of the season — a home meet against rival Bellarmine — will provide a measuring stick to where the team stands.

“The girls are very solid,” Santos said. “But the Bellarmine dual meet will give us an indication of where we are.”

Other than the state tournament, the scheduling highlight of the season will be both teams’ trip to a Las Vegas Invitational Sept. 14.

As for the Narrows League, Santos said it’s always hard to tell what teams will be competitive, but the one certainty is Bellarmine, which returns all but its No. 1 runner.

Santos said he won’t have any problems motivating his teams to succeed this year.

“They have that competitive desire,” he said. “During the first workout in the summer I couldn’t remember another team that had as much intensity.”

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