Youthful Wolves plan on taking team approach

Coach: Joanne Warren, fourth season.

Key returners: Sean Allison (javelin), sr.; Jasmyn Bolar (1,600 relay, long jump), jr.; Erika Copeland (1,600), jr.; Sean Korf (javelin), sr.; Corey Galligan (400), sr.; Samantha Gulisao (javelin), sr.; Jolynn Jernigan (pole vault), jr.; Leon La Deaux (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), jr.; Annie Lundberg (400, 800), sr.; Porche Maniece (100, 200), sr.; Dan Nadeau (400), sr.; Karrine Nelson (javelin), jr.; Kadir Perez (100), jr.; Jon Phillips (800, 1,600), sr.; Molly Werder (300 hurdles), jr.

Key departures: Christina Boddie (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles), jr.; Caitlin Daniels (400, 1,600), graduated; Deandre Jackson (100, 200), graduated; Rachelle Jensen (triple jump), graduated; Devlan Miller (high jump, triple jump), graduated; Britta Peterson (1,600, 3,200), sr.; Lindsey Porter (high jump, pole vault), graduated; Juwuan Rattler (discus, shot put), sr.; Stephen Tucker (100), graduated; David Wells (long jump, triple jump), graduated; Roni Werder (shot put), graduated; Ryan Williams (100, 200), sr.

The discussion around South Kitsap’s track and field program usually begins with individuals.

Cedric Carter. Lindsey Porter. Renard Williams.

All garnered considerable attention entering the season in recent years. But with those athletes gone, the Wolves’ strength seems to be its 1,600-meter relay team, which features seniors Corey Galligan, Dan Nadeau and Jon Phillips and junior Leon La Deaux.

The quartet placed fifth last May at Star Track, in 3 minutes, 23.17 seconds, despite almost not making it to Pasco. They were embroiled in controversy when Nadeau and Kentwood’s Tristan Askew made contact during the West Central District meet at Mount Tahoma High School.

Askew, who replaced injured senior Demetrius Bronson on the team, hit the track first and Nadeau tripped over him.

The tangle-up resulted in the Conquerors’ disqualification.

Kentwood coach Steve Roche filed a protest after the race, saying that Askew interfered because he was pushed down by Nadeau. The claim was denied.

He filed a subsequent appeal to have the race run again between the three affected teams, South, Curtis and Kentwood, but that also was denied.

“I think it really just drove us to work our hardest,” Nadeau said. “It really drove us to show what we’re made of.”

Both Galligan and Nadeau hope to run the event in 3:20 this year, which would put South in state-title contention. Central Valley of Spokane ran it in 3:20.45 to take first at Star Track in 2008, and Galligan said the early workouts have been geared toward that goal.

“I think it’s a lot harder than the last few years,” he said. “It’s a lot better workout.”

In addition to the 1,600 team, senior Sean Allison also returns to throw the javelin. He won both the Narrows League and West Central District titles in that event and finished with a personal-best heave of 181 feet, 5 inches to place seventh in the Class 4A state competition.

With the exception of those athletes, there isn’t a lot of experience among the 65 boys that turned out.

“They’re very young; very raw,” Warren said. “There’s a lot of newcomers out.”

And with inexperience comes learning.

“It’s such an eye-opener for sophomores when they get up here,” Warren said. “It was snowing last week and it’s, ‘We’re not going to practice, are we?’ Yes we are. Dress warm.”

She said Ryan Williams didn’t return for his senior season in order to prepare for an opportunity to play college football. But two football players, quarterback Bryan Dorsey and offensive lineman Andrew Yaptinchay, have turned out for the first time as seniors. Warren said Dorsey will focus on jumps, while Yaptinchay will compete as a thrower.

The Wolves didn’t send any girls to state last season, and lost some talent before the season began when Christina Boddie, Riley Dopps and Holly Sieler decided to focus on club soccer. Between that and the usual high turnout for tennis, only 35 girls tried out to run this season.

“I like soccer every time except for the spring,” Warren said with a laugh.

Junior Erika Copeland, who was South’s top female runner during cross-country season, is one of two distance runners along with senior Annie Lundberg.

But even if the depth isn’t ideal, Warren likes what she calls a balance on the roster. Several of the girls, including junior Jasmyn Bolar (1,600 relay, long jump) and junior Molly Werder (hurdles), have varsity experience.

“We have a lot of talented sophomores coming up,” Bolar said. “I think by the end of the season we’ll have a really good team. We’ll get pretty far in the finals at state.”

Jose Andriano, who won the 100 and 200 and was second in the 800 and 1,600 wheelchair runs at state, also returns.

“It’s probably one of the hardest working I’ve ever had,” Warren said of the program. “You don’t have anyone disappearing or cutting practice short. They’re very good.”

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