TRACK | Discus throwers lead Wolves into districts

Sophomore Alexus Richardson won the Class 4A Narrows League title with a throw of 108 feet, 1 inch in the discus. - Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo
Sophomore Alexus Richardson won the Class 4A Narrows League title with a throw of 108 feet, 1 inch in the discus.
— image credit: Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo

When South Kitsap’s Marcus Burk entered high school, he was entrenched in track.

But Burk now finds himself making his biggest contribution in field events.

That continued during last week’s Class 4A Narrows League championships when Burk, a junior, placed first in the discus at 142 feet, 1 inch.

“It was a nice day to throw,” Burk said. “Good weather conditions.”

He did not always envision himself as a thrower. Burk was a sprinter until high school, when an injury to his left hip necessitated a move from running events. It did not take long for him to experience success as a thrower, which Burk said led to him sticking with the discus.

He credits assistant coach Rob Ells for working on his mechanics, which include a full rotation before throwing. Burk believes he can increase his distance during the West Central District meet, which begins today at Kent Meridian High School.

“I’ve been throwing even farther in practice,” he said. “I just have to practice more on staying inside the ring and staying in control.”

South co-coach Kathy Ballew was pleased with a variety of performances during the league meet. The Wolves’ 1,600-meter relay team of LaForrest Church, Adam Gascoyne, Devon Newquist and Nick Sleigh finished first in 3 minutes, 22.3 seconds. That easily outdistanced second-place Central Kitsap, which finished in 3:26.25. Ballew attributed that to the group’s competitiveness. In each of the last two seasons, Ballew and co-coach Paul Zimmer repeatedly have stated that squad’s depth extends well beyond the quartet running at any given meet.

“It’s kind of the elite event that everyone wants to do,” Ballew said. “A lot of meets come down to that event.”

Along with winning the 1,600 relay, Church also placed first in the 800 run (1:55.39). Sophomore teammate Mason Villarma was second (1:56.05) in that event.

“I’m really pleased with Mason Villarma,” Ballew said. “Amazing performances. I’m not surprised because of his work ethic and competitiveness.”

On the girls side, sophomores Alexus Richardson (108-01) and Shannon Laupola (106-06) finished first and third, respectively, in the discus.

“That’s not all they have,” Ballew said. “I bet they get a personal record and qualify for state.”

The top eight placers at districts advance to the May 24-25 state meet at Mount Tahoma.

“We think everyone that is there is going to go onto state with us,” Ballew said.


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