SK coaches taking advantage of practice rule

South Kitsap High School coaches Ed Santos and D.J. Sigurdson couldn’t be further apart when it comes to their respective sports.

But both have one thing in common — they’re taking advantage of a coaching window that doesn’t close until three weeks before the school year begins in late August.

The rule isn’t anything new to Sigurdson, SK’s varsity football coach.

He’s used the rule in order to get his players ready for their annual trek across the mountains to the Eastern Washington University camp, which is held June 17-21.

Santos, the varsity cross-country coach, held workouts after the spring season for the first time in his career. Both coaches say the practices are a benefit to everyone involved.

“At first I wasn’t sure I’d like it,” Santos said. “I was wondering if the 4A had gone too far, so I questioned it philosophically. But really, it’s a time for teaching and team-building.”

While Santos said it’s a great opportunity to evaluate the young talent coming into the program for the first time, he said the greatest benefit is for the younger runners to get acclimated to the program and school surroundings.

“I saw a real connection with kids at the varsity level with the younger kids,” Santos said. “(These practices) have allowed everyone to relax and just run. There is no pressure to train at this point.”

Santos said he’s had 51 runners involved with practice, including a handful of entering eighth and ninth graders. Giving the younger runners a taste of what the program is about will only boost the program, Santos said.

“This has allowed me to where the kids are (talent-wise) and get them in the proper training group,” Santos said. “We’ve also been able to teach all our warmup drills, so everyone is doing things correctly.”

Santos said he’s made sure his runners have a good time in the spring and take a more relaxed approach.

“We’re not in a situation where we have to hurry,” he said. “It’s allowed me a time period to teach, but we’re also doing fun activities and fun contests.”

While the informal spring practices are a first for Santos, the workouts in the summer are nothing new to him and his runners.

“We’ll be running every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” he said.

While Santos has enjoyed a laid-back approach to the spring practices, Sigurdson has felt like a chicken with its head cut off.

“We pretty much had one week to get these kids prepared for the Eastern camp,” Sigurdson said. “We have to make sure they know the plays and how to line up.”

Sigurdson said he’ll have approximately 50 players going to the camp this year, eight more than last year.

After the camp, Sigurdson will see his players July 21-25 and in early August, just before the three-week dead period begins.

While Sigurdson enjoys having some coaching time in the spring and summer time, he and the coaching staff doesn’t want football to take up too much of the players’ time in the spring and summer.

“We try not to monopolize their time,” Sigurdson said. “But we make sure they are all on the same page.”

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Football notes: Sigurdson and graduating senior Victor Valle will both participate in the 4A East-West all-state football game June 28 at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Valle, who will attend Central Washing-ton University this fall, enjoyed a stellar senior season as SK’s star running back.

Sigurdson will be one of four coaches for the West squad. This is his first all-state game as a coach.

“It was real neat to get the opportunity,” Sigurdson said. “It will be a learning experience but it will also be a lot of fun.”

Sigurdson said coaching responsibilities have been divided between the four coaches, with him taking responsibility for an offensive and defensive position.

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