SNOHOMISH — Consider it a successful first test.
While South Kitsap features a reconfigured 1,600-meter boys relay team, it experienced the same result as last year when junior Mason Villarma crossed the finish line first in 3 minutes, 31 seconds during Saturday’s Eason Invitational at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“We ran about the same time as we did here last year,” said South co-coach Paul Zimmer, whose team ran 3:28.64 a year ago. “It is four new guys, so that is really nice.”
But taking the top spot was a little more difficult than last year. That is because junior Troy Delgado took the baton near last place on the second leg.
“Troy just absolutely had a wonderful leg,” said Zimmer, adding that Delgado has battled hamstring issues and previously focused on sprints. “He’s come in the best shape of his life.”
Delgado and senior Bastian Tabacchi recovered to hand the baton off to Villarma in the lead for the final leg.
“I think everybody’s got the mentality that no matter where we’re at we’re going to get into the lead,” Villarma said.
Zimmer said earlier this month that he believes the 1,600-relay team, which won the Class 4A state title in 2013, should at least place again there this season. The quartet’s performance at Eason did nothing to change that — as long as they continue to improve.
“I think all of those guys are capable of dropping a couple of seconds by the end once we rest them,” Zimmer said.
The performance of South’s 1,600-relay team helped the Wolves tie River Ridge for the team championship with 63 points. Fifty-two schools participated.
South also found success outside of the relay. Freshman Nolan Van Amen won the discus (160 feet, 9 inches) and shot put (51-11 ½). In the discus, Van Amen almost defeated the second-place finisher, Squalicum’s Joel Jensen (145-11), by 15 feet.
“The weather wasn’t right,” said VanAmen, whose season-bests in both the discus (172-07) and shot put (55-0 3/4) are the top marks in 4A. “I was lucky enough to win both events. I’m thankful for that.”
Along with those first-place finishes, Tabacchi was second in the 200 (22.95), while Villarma was third in the 1,600 (4:23.15).
On the girls side, South finished tied with Mount Baker for 27th with five points. Arlington and Skyline tied for the team title with 80 points.
The Wolves’ top placer was junior Shannon Laupola, who finished fourth in the javelin (111-01).
South next hosts its lone home meet of the season Thursday against Bellarmine Prep and Gig Harbor. The Wolves then compete again May 3 at the Shelton Invitational. Zimmer thinks both the boys and girls teams will be stronger at that meet.
“We’re missing a lot of people from injuries or soccer — and there’s a big singing competition on the other side of the mountains,” he said. “We haven’t put everything quite together yet.”