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Wolves' post-season streak ends after 16 straight years
For Tiffany Picinich and the South Kitsap girls cross-country team, it was just one of those days.
Riding high after a fourth-place finish at last weeks Narrows League meet, the Wolves stumbled on Saturday at American Lake Golf Course in Lakewood, finishing a disappointing 13th and out of the running for a 17th consecutive berth at the state meet.
It was so hard watching the race, said Picinich, the Wolves first-year co-coach. You could obviously tell halfway through the race that it was not looking good. It was heartbreaking because the girls wanted it so bad. And breaking the 16-year streak as a first year coach, thats never a fun thing.
But the teams spirits were somewhat lifted a bit later in the day when the boys team placed seventh, qualifying for its 14th trip to the state meet in the past 17 years.
We knew we were on the bubble, Picinich said. But we were pretty excited when we heard that Bellarmine was ninth and knew that that got us in.
The ending of the streak was big news at the race, especially since the Wolves had been to the state meet every year since 1989, all under former coach Ed Santos, who took over as the schools athletic director last summer.
Two of his assistants, Picinich and Joanne Warren, were named co-coaches this year.
And while everyone involved figured on a top-five finish for the girls, the 13th place performance came as quite a shock.
Picinich said it wasnt really a matter of everyone just having an off day at the same time because there were some good races run.
Britta Peterson was the lone South girl to qualify for the state meet, finishing 18th with a time of 19 minutes, 30 seconds.
Shannon Polley also ran well but as a group, the numbers were just not there.
We were thinking that fourth or fifth is probably where we should have placed, Picinich said. But you have good days and you have bad days and unfortunately for us, our bad day happened to be at the district meet.
The boys got in under the wire by running how they have all year, consistent and solid, Picinich said.
As a team, the Wolves finished just two points ahead of North Kitsap and just five behind sixth-place Heritage.
Individually, Kenny Kemper paced the Wolves with a time of 16:22, good enough for 30th place. Jon Phillips was right behind in 32nd place with a time of 16:26.
Kenny ran about like he has all year, Picinich said. He and Jon, they both ran well.
South will take it easy this week in preparation for the state meet Saturday at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
West Central District meet
At American Lake Golf Course, 3.1 miles
Team scores (Top eight to state)
1. Tahoma 71; 2. Auburn Riverside 123; 3. Olympia 170; 4. Gig Harbor 176; 5. Capital 231; 6. Heritage 253; 7. South Kitsap 258; 8. North Kitsap 260; 9. Bellarmine 266; 10. Kentwood 280; 11. Battle Ground 298; 12. Puyallup 301; 13. Evergreen 303; 14. Enumclaw 310; 15. Wilson 312; 16. Emerald Ridge 347; 17. Skyview 368; 18. Jefferson 369; 19. Auburn 373; 20. Port Angeles 409.
South Kitsap Individuals 30. Kenny Kemper 16:22; 32. Jon Phillips, 16:26; 62. Kyle Stolp 16:57; 76. Trevor Boaz 17:21; 77. Devon Wright 17:23; 101. Aaron Terry 17:40.
Team results (Top seven to state)
1. Gig Harbor 54; 2. Jefferson 63; 3. Bellarmine 146; 4. Capital 152; 5. Tahoma 178; 6. Olympia 223; 7. (Tie) North Kitsap, Heritage 233; 9. Curtis 255; 10. Sumner 269; 11. Auburn Riverside 275; 12. Mountain View 289; 13. South Kitsap 303; 14. Puyallup 323; 15. Evergreen 324; 16. Rogers 405; 17. Central Kitsap 411; 18. Port Angeles 422; 19. Enumclaw 491.
South Kitsap individuals: 18. Britta Peterson 19:30; 52. Shannon Polley 20:31; 74. Marie Spiker 20:59; 76. Shyla Coleman 21:08; 111. Brianna Coundrum 21:39; 125. Shannon Vreeland 22:17; 126. Alegra Waldron 22:19.