TRACK | Relay helps Wolves finish on high note

South Kitsap senior LaForrest Church anchored the Wolves’ 1,600-meter relay, which placed first, and also won the 800 dash during Saturday’s Eason Invitational in Snohomish. - Chris Chancellor/Staff Photo
South Kitsap senior LaForrest Church anchored the Wolves’ 1,600-meter relay, which placed first, and also won the 800 dash during Saturday’s Eason Invitational in Snohomish.
— image credit: Chris Chancellor/Staff Photo

SNOHOMISH — It was a difficult lesson.

And South Kitsap co-coach Paul Zimmer was relieved that it occurred before the playoffs.

The Wolves won the 400-meter relay in 44.26 seconds — two hundredths of a second better than Squalicum — but were disqualified when one of their runners did not wear a standard uniform during Saturday’s Eason Invitational at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

“At least we know we have somewhere to go from,” Zimmer said. “It’s just a learning experience. The guys took it pretty well.”

It was part of a mixed performance for South.

But the Wolves ensured their boys team would finish in the top 10 — they were sixth with 35 points in the 34-team field — when the 1,600 relay placed first in 3 minutes, 28.64 seconds. That easily outdistanced second-place Snohomish (3:32.11).

“Some of our exchanges were a little slow,” senior LaForrest Church said. “If we do that, we can probably cut a couple of seconds off. But I think we did a pretty good job — we all ran previous races.”

Church, who signed to run track next year at the University of Memphis, anchored the 1,600 team.

It was not the only top finish for Church. He also won the 800 (1:56.85). Church said he was happy given the cool, rainy conditions.

“It’s good to know that I’m almost where I was at the end of last year,” said Church, referring to his time.

While Church and senior Adam Gascoyne, who finished third in the 400 (51.52), helped South score most of its points on the track, the Wolves were not shutout in field events. Junior Marcus Burk placed fifth in the discus with a throw of 143 feet, 4 inches.

South also sent its girls team to the competition, but the youthful squad did not score any points. Sophomore Shannon Laupola, who was ninth in the javelin (94-02), was the closest.

“We had a lot of young girls who stepped up,” Zimmer said. “We were missing bodies.”

This marks the second straight year the Wolves have participated in the Eason Invitational. Zimmer and Kathy Ballew decided to discontinue the South Kitsap Invitational when they became the school’s coaches last year. Zimmer said that it was too difficult to compete against larger meets around the state, such as Eason, that occurred during the same weekend. The Kurt Wagner Memorial Relays, which occurred last month, replaced the South Kitsap Invitational.

Church, who is one of the last Wolves to compete at both events, likes the change.

“There’s no separation between the [classifications] in this meet, so we get to see some people we normally don’t,” he said. “We never really had the competition that we do here.”

South next competes in the Mountain Invitational on Friday in Yelm. The Wolves also will participate in the April 27 Shelton Invitational.

“I think it’s kind of a taste of what college is going to be like traveling to all of these different places to compete,” Church said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for all of us.”

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