Sports

SK aims for smooth transition

For the first time in 18 years, “Tos” won’t be at the helm of the South Kitsap cross-country dynasty. But don’t think the Wolves will become toast.

Despite Ed Santos’ departure to become the school’s athletic director this summer, the program, which has sent its girls team to the state meet 16 years in a row while the boys have gone 13 consecutive times, has already enjoyed a smooth transaction to new coaches Tiffany Picinich and Joanne Warren and is looking like it won’t skip a beat as the new season starts, even though there may have been a few raised eyebrows at the beginning.

“I think the kids weren’t confident in our knowledge at first, especially in mine,” Picinich said. “I don’t think they were confident at all in me because of last year’s track season.”

Last year was Picinich’s first as an assistant and she said she wishes she could have handled it a bit differently. And because of that, some members of the cross-country team may have felt like she, along with Warren, were in over their heads.

But not any more.

“They’ve started coming on board,” Warren said. “I asked (senior Kenny) Kemper on the third day of practice if he was with us or against us. And after (Thursday’s) practice he said he was with us.

“It was just a question of them needing to know that we’re as tough as Ed,” Warren said. “We have their best interest at heart and that we have high expectations of them.”

Even though this is Picinich’s first year as a head coach at any level, she did run for Santos for three years and was a key member of the 1997 state championship team. Warren has coached at Cedar Heights Junior High and has been with Santos for five years.

And knowing that the kids are on board, the job becomes more about replacing some key members from a girls team that was 12th in state and a boys team that finished 10th.

And once again, there is more optimism than anything on both sides.

Back are sophomore Alegra Waldron and senior Shyla Coleman, along with seniors Catie Fairgreive and Shannon Vreeland. Add in juniors Lisa Hayek, Shannon Polley, Marie Spiker and Cera Olsen, along with newbies Gina Guariz and Britta Peterson, and the girls have experience and youth along with plenty of depth.

“I think the girls are together, and I think, mentally, they are pretty tough,” Picinich said. “They work and they really want to do well.”

Even though the boys team lost five outstanding seniors in Sean Coleman, Nate Jones, Joe Daniels-Hall, Justin Schenck and Treve Bartlett, a group that placed 10th at the state meet, both Picinich and Warren are confident in the group that follows.

That much was obivious at the Wolves’ time trial last Friday, when the top seven boys on the team were within a minute of each other.

“That’s close. That’s really good,” Picinich said. “That’s going to be powerful. When they’re in a race and it’s close, they’ll be able to really run together.”

Kemper brings with him the most experience while seniors Chris Morley, Devon Wright and Shane Vreeland have also run before.

Juniors Bobby Arendsee and Trevor Boaz along with sophomores Kyle Stolp, Caleb Krueger and Aaron Terry and freshman John Phillips round out what could be a very deep and talented group.

2005 South Kitsap Cross-Country schedule

Date Opponent Location Time

Sept. 10 Capital Invite Capital 9:30 a.m.

Sept. 14 Gig Harbor/Olympic Gig Harbor 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 21 Brem/NK/Cap. Cedar Heights 3:45 p.m.

Sept. 24 Northwest Classic Eugene, Or. 9:30 a.m.

Sept. 28 Capital JV meet Capital 3:45 p.m.

Oct. 5 GH/Lin/Bell/NK/CK Wright Park, Tacoma 3:45 p.m.

Oct. 8 Wolf Classic Cedar Heights 9 a.m.

Oct. 12 Olympia/Capital/PA Cedar Heights 3:45 p.m.

Oct. 19 Narrows League meet Ft. Steilacoom Park 3:45 p.m.

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