TRACK | Gascoyne finds redemption in Yelm

YELM — As South Kitsap senior Adam Gascoyne raced to midfield and raised his right fist in the air, it almost seemed like a football flashback.

A dominant victory.

And while Gascoyne rejoiced in the Wolves’ easy 1,600-meter relay victory during Friday night’s Mountain Invitational, his thoughts were not about South’s 42-3 football victory on that field in October. Instead, he reflected on the 42-17 wrestling loss Jan. 24 just a few hundred feet away in Yelm’s gym that ended the Wolves’ streak of 189 consecutive regular-season match win in Narrows League play.

“The last time I was here wasn’t the best ending,” Gascoyne said. “I wanted that win here. It was awesome.”

Gascoyne moved into first place shortly before handing the baton to Zach Sleigh. South never trailed again as Sleigh increased the lead and Mason Villarma did the same before senior LaForrest Church crossed the finish line in 3 minutes, 28.14 seconds. Central Kitsap finished second in 3:31.55.

“If we can get that first leg, nobody can beat us,” Church said. “We put all of our faith into Adam and he definitely delivered.”

Church, who also won the 800 in 1:59.13, said the windy conditions in Yelm made for less than ideal running conditions. Many athletes, including Church, ran slower times than normal in their individual races. He said that was an impetus to perform well in the relay.

“We had something to prove,” Church said. “Some of us didn’t have the best races — they were a little slow at times. We just wanted to come out here and basically assert our dominance. We want to be a name that people fear when we get to the state meet.”

With CK, along with some notable Class 3A schools at the meet, Church feels he is getting a gauge of the talent level South will see at state.

“It’s nice that we can see who our competition is,” he said. “It’s a nice confidence booster that we can go up against these guys that are ranked in state — just like us — and come out with a pretty big victory.”

The Wolves’ boys team finished fourth in the 16-team field with 61 points. CK won the meet with 75.5 points.

Along with Church and the 1,600 relay, Villarma, a sophomore, finished second in the 1,600 in 4:29.33.

On the field side, junior Marcus Burk placed second in the discus with a throw of 147 feet, 8 inches. Wilson’s Connor Patterson won that event at 147-01.

“He had a great day,” South co-coach Paul Zimmer said. “Just a little more relaxation and I think he’s going to be right there.”

South’s girls team, which was held scoreless in the April 13 Eason Invitational at Snohomish High School, fared a little better this time. The Wolves placed 14th with 16 points. Kelso was first with 94 points. Shannon Laupola was South’s highest individual placer when she finished fifth in the discus at 99-10. Zimmer also noted that the 400 relay, which finished seventh in 53.95, had its best time of the season.

“They’re taking steps,” Zimmer said. “We’re finally able to put some pieces together on both sides.”

The Wolves will have another opportunity to display those again during Saturday’s Shelton Invitational.

“We’re supposed to have some good weather,” said Zimmer, noting the stark contrast between the projected sunny weather in Shelton versus the last two invites. “Any time you have nice weather kids are expected to perform better. We’re ramping up for that.”

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