TRACK | League meet offers mixed results for Wolves

Coaches often say that it is their job to prepare their teams for the postseason. From that point, many contend that success often is based on good fortune.

Count South Kitsap co-coach Paul Zimmer among those that believe in that.

And that was more negative than positive for the Wolves’ track team during last week’s Class 4A Narrows League Track and Field Championships. South’s boys 1,600-meter relay team, which once had aspirations to repeat as Class 4A state champions, lost most of that hope before the postseason began.

Junior Mason Villarma, the team’s anchor runner, sustained a season-ending right ankle sprain May 4 while jogging in Banner Forest.

“It was black and blue all over it,” Zimmer said. “We thought we could get him to go, but it just didn’t happen.”

The 1,600-relay team, which consisted of Josh Rhynes, Troy Delgado, Albert MacArthur and Tabacchi, finished fourth in 3 minutes, 30.98 seconds, was fast enough to qualify for the West Central/Southwest Bi-District meet, which begins today at French Field in Kent. The top four placers in each event at the 4A Narrows meet advanced to districts. But Zimmer estimates the loss of Villarma will cost the relay team about 3 seconds.

“Losing Mason Villarma and having to replace him on that thing was really hard to do,” he said. “It definitely put a damper on things.”

That was not the only challenge the boys team encountered. Freshman Nolan Van Amen, who entered the meet with the top shot put throw (55 feet, 3/4-inches), scratched on all three of his hurls at the league meet and did not qualify for districts in that event.

“He had a rough day in the shot,” Zimmer said. “It was a big lesson learned.”

Van Amen and his teammates also had some positive moments, though. He returned to win the discus (155-09) — an event where South had the top three placers. Senior Marcus Burk (155-03) finished second, while junior Chandler Van Amen (139-04) was third.

Those performances helped the boys team to a second-place finish with 125 points. Bellarmine Prep (143) won the meet.

On the track side, the Wolves’ boys team had four first-place finishes. Senior Brayden Maynard won the 110 hurdles (15.28) and classmate Caleb Rodriguez (41.18) finished first in the 300 hurdles.

“He’s pretty focused this year,” said Zimmer, referring to Maynard. “He was a little banged up the last few weeks, so we took him out of the 300 hurdles. We’re just trying to keep him healthy.”

Tabacchi also won the 200 (22.5), while the relay he serves as an anchor on — the 400 — finished first (43.1).

“We got a little lucky,” Zimmer said. “Gig Harbor, which is one of the better teams in the state, dropped the baton so that opened the door for us.”

That performance just reinforced Zimmer’s perception of the playoffs.

“I compare it to the NCAA Tournament,” he said. “There’s a reason why you have [top-seeded teams] knocked off. You play the games to see what happens. Sometimes it doesn’t line up the way you want it.”

South’s girls team, which finished sixth with 51 points, featured one individual champion. Junior Shannon Laupola, won the javelin (124-02). Despite that, Zimmer was pleased with the volume of top placers on both teams.

“I don’t think we’ve had that many in a long time,” he said.

Junior Alexus Richardson did not win any events, but placed in two. She was fourth in the shot put (34-02 ¾) and third in the discus (98-09).

The top seven finishers at districts will advance to the May 29-31 state meet at Mount Tahoma.


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