Cupboard far from bare as Wolves ready for season

Losing as many as 13 runners from two teams that placed eighth at state in the 2003 season would completely kill most programs. But the South Kitsap cross-country team isn’t most programs.

And beginning today, South coach Ed Santos and his 43 runners begin the quest for another strong showing at the state meet as the Wolves get the season going at the Tacoma Relays.

And losing the top four runners from each team doesn’t seem to matter.

“In our program, over the years, we’ve seemed to have the ability (to reload and not miss a beat),” Santos said. “We did lose more than usual last year in terms of fire power.”

The Wolves sent four runners — C.J. Godfrey and Drew Polley on the boys’ side and Danielle Friend and Eileen Morley on the girls’ side — to Division I college programs and have a score of others running somewhere this year. That would devastate most programs, but not this one.

“The kids have done a nice job of working hard over the summer,” Santos said. “They’ve done a lot of the little things right and put the miles in. So I think the goals aren’t all that different.”

Santos said the obvious goal for both teams was to compete for the Narrows League title. The boys team won yet another one last year while the girls took second.

“That’s going to be a little more difficult for the girls,” Santos said. “Bellarmine is ranked 10th in the nation, and they’re ranked as the No. 1 team in the entire Northwest. They are a very good team, but we won’t fold up our tent against anyone, so we’ll race them head-up as much as we can.”

Samantha Godfrey returns to lead a girls team finished eighth at the state meet.

“Our whole team is doing really good right now,” Godfrey said. “It’s going to be a fun year.”

Godfrey, entering only her second year of cross-country, has picked up right where she left off last year, but she won’t be alone.

“We have a lot of good people,” Godfrey said. “I know we lost a lot of our seniors but we also got in a lot of new people. It’s going to be interesting.”

Godfrey won the team’s final time trial last week by almost a minute and will be tapped to lead a very deep but young group.

“She’s one of the top returners in our league and in our district,” Santos said. “And we’re looking for her to place high in the state meet.”

Godfrey’s supporting cast will include returning seniors Shyla Coleman, Katie Rosapepe, Ashley Russ, Ashley Nigbor and freshman Alegra Waldron, along with junior Charlotte Duren, who comes over from the tennis team and just missed out on gaining a varsity spot at the time trials.

“We have all these senior girls that have been JV kind of kids over the years that have just kind of worked their way up,” Santos said. “It’s their year. They’ve put the time in and all of the work in."

The boys will have a bit easier time but will face some very good teams in Capital, Olympia and Port Angeles.

“With the boys, if it all comes out, we should be there in the end,” Santos said. “We kind of have the big four.”

Joe Daniels-Hall returns to anchor a team that will be very top heavy with seniors. Joining Daniels-Hall are Nate Jones, Justin Schenck and Sean Coleman.

“This year we actually have four returning, really solid runners,” Daniels-Hall said. “They all ran on the varsity last year and the rest of the varsity isn’t far behind. So we have very good depth on the team.”

Santos said there is not a clear-cut No. 1 guy like last year, when Washington State-bound C.J. Godfrey was on hand, but that the group will most likely take turns at the top, all depending on times.

Others fighting for the final three spots on the seven-member varsity include Treve Bartlett, Dustin Kemp, Kenny Kemper and Alex Jones.

Santos said the top spots on both sides should remain the same but he is expecting lots of movement each week as kids fight for the bottom slots.

“There’s a lot of competition out there for the bottom varsity spots,” Santos said. “And that’s always a good thing because it just drives it. There is always intensity and guys competing so it just drives it. And that makes for great teams.”

Those in the tops spots agree.

“I find that if you run in a varsity race, your times are always going to be faster,” Daniels-Hall said. “There’s more motivation, and I think it’s really good for you.”

“Same for the girls,” Sam Godfrey said. “We’re going to be changing a lot. And it gives everyone varsity experience so I think it’s really good.”

As good as Narrows League titles are, this team knows there is always a bigger prize out there.

“Obviously, both teams have the expectation of competing in the state meet,” Santos said. “We do that every year. The goal is never to make it to the state meet, the goal is always to run well at the state meet. And I think both of these teams are capable of doing that.”

Date Opponent Site Time

Sept. 11 Tahoma Relays Lake Wilderness Park 8:30 a.m.

Sept. 15 Gig Harbor/Olympic Gig Harbor 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 18 Woodbridge Invite Irvine, Cal. 8 a.m.

Sept. 22 Bremerton/North Kitsap North Kitsap 3:34 p.m.

Oct. 2 Sunfair Invite Yakima 9:30 a.m.

Oct. 6 Shelton/Central Kitsap Central Kitsap 9 a.m.

Oct. 9 Wolf Classic Cedar Heights 9 a.m.

Oct. 13 Port Angeles Port Angeles 3:45 p.m.

Oct. 20 League Meet Ft. Steilacoom Park 2:30 p.m.

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