SK's track & field program reinventing itself

When a coach’s wife can sense her husband is having more fun than usual, it’s always a good sign.

And that’s the signal that Ed Santos has been getting during his first two weeks of practice since returning as South Kitsap’s track and field coach.

“My wife made the comment ‘man, you are really having fun’ and I said ‘yeah, I really am,’” Santos said. “I love this sport. I love track and field and I’m having a good time.”

Santos returned to the sport he coached for 15 years at South after just coaching the cross-country teams the last two seasons. And he’s glad to be back.

“I think the two years I didn’t coach made me a better coach, Santos said. “I realized some of the things I did before might not work as well.

“I feel like I’m doing a better job of being a head coach,” Santos said. “I am excited and I’m having fun.”

And he has his hands full in trying to restore the program he once helped build.

The Wolves sent just four individuals to the Class 4A state track & field meet last May, a pole vaulter, a printer and two distance runners, none of which placed. Santos’ first order of business is to begin the process of getting a larger group headed to Pasco in June.

“Over the last week, some of the new kids are starting to find where everybody’s nitch is a little bit,” Santos said. “We’ve done quite a bit of testing and trying kids out in other events, even though they may have never done that event before.”

South will be young, on both sides, this season but Santos said he likes that. And he does have a few seniors to work around, including Samantha Godfrey, the lone wolf that competed in the state meet last year. Godfrey finished 11 at the state cross country meet and will lead a talented group of distance runners that includes Shyla Coleman and Katie Rosapepe Ashley Russ and Ashley Nigbor, although Nigbor and Russ may move down to the sprints or at least run the 400.

Santos said he has a nice group of hard-working sophomores that should see plenty of action but he is still on the lookout for jumpers.

But as far as the sprinters are concerned Santos has seen a few he likes, led by sophomores Armeena DeWalt, Cera Olsen and Kellie Dalrymple along with junior Kellie Bates.

“Those four girls have looked really good in the sprints,” Santos said. “And we’re working on the relays right now.”

Rachel-Diane Frank is another sophomore that should score well in the high jump for the Wolves

Others that figure to help out immediately include Mariam Karbassi, the team’s top returner in the long jump and Santerra Holler, who comes over from the soccer team and could find a place in the sprints or maybe even throw the javelin.

Jennifer Villalva anchors the team’s throwers, going in both the shot put and discus. Santos said there are others to choose from in those areas as well.

“I’m pretty encouraged with the girls team,” Santos said. “It’s just a matter of getting some more work in and getting them some experience.”

On the boys side,  the distance runners will once again be the strength of this team.

“We have five pretty good distance runners,” Santos said. “And some of the younger kids are being pushed by me and they need to step up because we need them for next year too.”

Seniors Justin Schenck, Sean Coleman, Joe Daniels-Hall, Nate Jones and Treve Bartlett will spread out between the 800 and 3,200 races and should give the Wolves stability in the distance races.

Junior Zach Lawrence will lead a talented but young sprinter group this year that includes juniors Bruce Fernie and Vincent Flores and sophomores Jose Gidican and Greg Caplan. Flores will runs sprints and hurdles while Caplan will do a bit of everything, Santos said.

Kyle Saltsgaver and Crandall Cardinal top the list of throwers that also includes newbie Dan Tajalle.

Vaulters will include Fernie, Tony Larsen and Kyle Cryder who was a league qualifier last year.

The jumping events are a different story Santos said since there are no outstanding returnees from last year. But Santos is hoping for big years out of Flores and Mike Pulkrabek.

“That’s starting to come together,” Santos said. “They look pretty good. The boys look quite good already in terms of handoffs (on relays). And the girls are learning.”

But in the end, it will come down to how good the distance runners and throwers are.

“That’s definitely the strength of our group,” Santos said. “That’s kind of been our MO. The way South Kitsap has typically won meets over the years is with good throwers and good distance runners.

“We’d always have a solid team, with a good jumper or sprinter,” Santos said. “We’ve always been good in the relays because we practice them so much. And it will be that way this year, we may not have a guy that can run a 10.9, but we’ve got a bunch of guys that are going to work their (butts) off.”

South opens the season Thursday at home with a jamboree with Olympic and North Kitsap. The Wolves first big meet is the March 26 Bremerton Invitational while the South Kitsap Invitational is set for April 30.

“It’s been a good first couple of weeks,” Santos said. “They are coming together as a team and we are trying to do a lot of team activities to make them feel like a team.”

2005 South Kitsap Track & Field schedule


3-24    OLYMPIC-NORTH KITSAP 3:30 p.m.

3-26  at Bremerton Invite 10 a.m.

3-31    at Olympia 3:30 p.m.

4-15  at Central Kitsap 3:30 p.m.

4-21    at Port Angeles 3:30 p.m.

4-28    at Gig Harbor 3:30 p.m.

4-30  SK INVITATIONAL 10 a.m.

5-5    SHELTON 3:30 p.m.

5-13    At Kitsap Co. meet


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