Track: South Kitsap only places one at state meet

Coaches often talk about the importance of their athletes peaking near the season’s end.

For South Kitsap, that is exactly what needed to occur for its four individuals to place at Star Track XXVIII.

It did not quite happen that way as the Wolves saw only one athlete finish in the top eight on Friday and Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

Perhaps no one was more disappointed than junior Shelby Jackson. She placed 10th in 105 feet, 10 inches in the javelin last year and was South’s only state returner. But she fell to 16th this year with a throw of 97-02.

Jackson was critical of her preparation and said she will use state as a learning experience.

“Next year, I’m going to warm up better and practice harder and stronger,” she said. “Next time I come here, I’m going to be better.”

South coach Joanne Warren said Jackson’s performance would have been sufficient at the Narrows League and West Central District meets. But it was not enough against the state’s elite.

“Normally Shelby would be right there,” Warren said. “But it’s a different environment at this level.”

Sophomore Kelsie Forcier was the Wolves’ other competitor in a field event. She was the school’s lone placer in an event when was finished eighth in the discus (118-02). The one point she earned allowed South to tie for 51st in the team standings.

“Kelsie still is flying high,” Warren said. “She will have to ramp up her goals for next year.”

On the running side, junior Riley Dopps narrowly missed qualifying in the 400. She finished ninth in the preliminaries — the top eight advanced to the finals — in 59.32 seconds, which was one-tenth of a second behind Olympia’s Alexis Fesenbek.

“It was really rough about Riley,” Warren said. “It was a killer. She ran a good race — the girls 400 has gotten really fast.”

Senior Erika Copeland was 13th in the 800 (2:24.24) and 15th in the 1,600 (5:15.83).

Copeland is the only state competitor from the girls team who graduates. Jackson said she and her teammates will benefit from their state experiences.

“I can’t wait until next season,” she said. “We’ll do better.”

For the first time in Warren’s five-year tenure, no boys qualified for state. Isaiah Davis, Leon La Deaux, Steven Pavlik and Kadir Perez, along with Karinne Nelson on the girls team, were suspended before the Narrows League meet for a violation of the school’s extracurricular athletics and activities code. La Deaux placed third in the 300 hurdles last year at state.

“It’s not what I expected at the beginning of the year,” she said. “But you deal with what you’ve got to deal with.”

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