South Kitsap track resisting temptation to look ahead

South Kitsap senior Andrew Crock will compete in the 800-meter run and 1,600 relay today and Saturday during the West Central District meet at Mount Tahoma High School.  - File photo
South Kitsap senior Andrew Crock will compete in the 800-meter run and 1,600 relay today and Saturday during the West Central District meet at Mount Tahoma High School.
— image credit: File photo

Even Joanne Warren cannot resist the temptation to look ahead.

As South Kitsap’s track and field team enters the West Central District meet today and Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School, its coach views it as just the beginning of a potentially successful run.

The Wolves send 13 competitors to the meet and most are not graduating. Warren sees plenty of potential, particularly on the girls team, which sent just one competitor to Star Track last year.

It begins with junior Riley Dopps, who was placed on a condensed schedule this year by Warren as she continues to play club soccer.

Dopps, who committed to play soccer at Boise State University, broke South’s record in the 400 dash in 58.24 seconds at last week’s Narrows League Championships.

Danielle Fessler previously held the mark of of 58.25 set in 1992.

“I think there’s more in her,” Warren said. “We ordered new plaques for school records ... but I’m going to hold off (updating them).”

The top six placers in each event at the Narrows meet advanced to districts. Sophomore Kelsie Forcier qualified in both the shot put (36 feet, 5 ½ inches) and the discus (104-10).

She placed second and third, respectively, in those events.

“I just wanted to go to districts because my main goal is to go to state,” said Forcier, adding that she hopes to contend for a state championship by her senior year. “Now I want to go to the next level.”

South’s lone state qualifier on the girls team last year also will compete at districts. Junior Shelby Jackson was third in the javelin (118-08).

Two other juniors also head to Tacoma to compete in field events. Ashlee Becker was sixth in the pole vault (8-0) and Dana Goularte was second in the high jump (5-02).

Another junior, Bethany Sanchez, will split between track and field events. She was third in the long jump (16-08) and fifth in the 100 (12.92).

One of the few seniors on the team, Erika Copeland, will have an opportunity to advance to state after qualifying in cross country during the fall. She was fourth in the 800 (2:21.78).

“She’s just coming on at the perfect time,” Warren said. “I will be shocked if she doesn’t move on.”

Junior Chelsi Swanson missed the cut in the 200 (26.89) when she finished seventh at leagues, but Warren said she will advance to districts because a runner who placer higher won’t compete there.

The Wolves also will send all three of their relay teams. The 800 team (1:45.78) placed second, while the 400 (50.31) and 1,600 (4:04.96) both finished fourth. Warren said she expects all three teams to advance.

South’s boys team qualified its 1,600 relay (3:30.84) by being one-hundredth of a second better than Central Kitsap. Warren said that team will include sophomores Aaron La Deaux and Nathan O’Guin, junior Zach Marshall and senior Andrew Crock.

“Andrew is a demigod to the other distance runners,” Warren said. “That leadership is there.”

Earlier this month, sophomore Steven Pavlik, junior Isaiah Davis and seniors Leon La Deaux and Kadir Perez were suspended from the boys team in addition to senior Karinne Nelson from the girls team for a violation of the school’s extracurricular athletics and activities code.

Even though none of the five competed at leagues, athletic director Ed Santos said any of the five could be listed as an alternate on the relay teams at districts. Davis, La Deaux and Perez all ran on those teams, but Warren said they will not compete at districts.

“I didn’t like the idea of that because you earn your spot to district,” she said.

Crock said the frequent changes have been challenging because three runners on the 1,600 relay team graduated after last year and now the team has been forced to adjust again because of the suspensions.

“It’s been pretty tough because we had pretty high hopes,” Crock said. “It’s going to be a little harder to get to state, but I think this group can do it.”

Both Crock and O’Guin also will compete in individual events. Crock, who plans to run at Olympic College next year, placed fourth in the 800 (1:59.74) and O’Guin was sixth in the 400 (51.52).

Senior Colin Burgh is the only individual on the boys team who will participate in a field event. He was second in the discus (136-08). Warren said that throw was a personal best for Burgh by about a dozen feet. She said he probably will need a similar improvement at districts to qualify for state.

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