Sports

Team goal matter most in state meet

It’s the “weapon” no one else in the state of Washington knows anything about.

It’s served the South Kitsap cross-country teams so well in the past seven years that coach Ed Santos refuses to disclose any information pertaining to it.

“It’s our secret weapon and I’m not going to tell you anything,” Santos joked, as he watched his teams practice for the final time before heading out to the state meet Saturday at Suns Willow Golf Course in Pasco.

The girls are making their 15th straight trip to the state meet while the boys team is running for the 12th time in the last 15 years.

But don’t think the trip east is getting old.

“My stomach wouldn’t feel this way if it got old,” Santos said. “It doesn’t get old. It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s a great meet. It’s fun to watch them race.”

The “weapon” has worked so well in the past, it’s no wonder Santos will go to any length to keep it a “secret.”

In the last seven meets the SK girls have run it, they have finished seventh, sixth, fifth, third, third, third and won it all in 1996. The boys team has seen similar success and finished eighth last year.

“Every year, there’s still a lot of anxiety and stuff before the race,” Katie McCausland, a senior, said. “Maybe we’re more comfortable with the course and a little more confident in ourselves just as far as being there every year. But you’re still definitely hyped up every year.”

Santos said he has been talking with coaches in the eastern part of the state and they all agree on one thing: This may be the best year, depth-wise, in a long, long time.

“There are five or six, seven really good boys teams,” Santos said. “I mean, teams that in some years you’d look at and say they’re the best team in Washington, but not this year.”

“There are seven very, very solid boys teams,” he said. “They’ve all won invites this year and all have beaten teams from other states. It’s definitely a very good boys year and we’ll have to be on our game.”

That would mean a strong finish by senior C.J. Godfrey, who has won six individual titles this year and finished third at last week’s West Central District meet. The boys as a team placed second behind Auburn-Riverside at the meet.

It also means getting some top performances from the team’s No. 3, 4 and 5 runners, like Steven Millard, who missed last week’s race, Joe Daniels-Hall and Jacob Warren.

But the boys are looking for good times, not thinking too much about finishing positions.

“Top 50 would be really good,” said Daniels-Hall, a junior. “Finishing first (as a team) is kind of in the back of my mind; mostly it’s doing the best I can do, giving my best effort and top 50 would be great for me and Jacob.

The girls, led by junior Sam Godfrey, have a much tougher road to a top five team spot. The girls finished third last week and face some of the same teams, including Bellarmine Prep and Tacoma, who went one-two at district.

“I think it just gets us more pumped up,” Bre Mercer said. “It makes us want to go after it more.”

The girls will be counting on strong performances from Godfrey, Danielle Friend, Eileen Morley as well as Mercer and McCausland.

But like the boys, they are not looking at specific places, just better times.

“I don’t think we really try to think about it like that,” Mercer said. “Just do our best. Not so much numbers but specific teams we want to go after.”

As for the “secret weapon”, it’s the restaurant that the Wolves have eaten at each of the past seven seasons. But Santos won’t give out the name.

“We have a really good history of running well at the state meet,” Santos said. “If they just believe that and belive in all the work we’ve done, we’ll be OK.”

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