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Crop of new and familiar faces lead field of Kingston, North Kitsap track stars
For this year’s North Kitsap and Kingston high school track teams, experience is a major factor. So is raw talent.
Both teams have a strong group of returning athletes. But some young, new faces are also in the mix, giving the upperclassmen a run for their money.
“We’ve got a lot of young kids that are excited to be here,” said Karla Laubach, Kingston High’s girls track and field coach.
One familiar name this year is Kingston’s Ruby Roberts. Roberts, a senior, has competed at the state track and field championships each of the past two seasons and won the 1,600-meter run in 2008. Last year, she placed fourth in both the 800 and 1,600 meters. This season, Roberts won the 800- and 1,500-meter races at the March 20 Port Angeles Invite, the first meet of the season. Ramona Morshead looks to lead the Buccaneer girls in the long distance races. She placed second in the 3,200 meters in Port Angeles.
Following closely on Roberts’ heels in the 1,500-meter race was North Kitsap senior Elizabeth Staker, who also competed at the state tournament last year. North Kitsap’s girls team has promising athletes in multiple areas this season.
“They’re strong in sprints, they’re strong in distance, and they have jumpers,” Laubach said of North Kitsap.
Staker is joined by fellow senior Annelise Weinmann, who is making her mark in the long distance events. Weinmann placed first in the 3,000 meters at the Port Angeles Invite and won the 1,600 meters March 27 at the Kent-Meridian Invite.
In sprints, North Kitsap is led by senior Siara Byers and sophomore Indigo Williams. Byers, who took fifth in the 100 meters last year at state, won the 100-meter race at the Port Angeles Invite. Williams took first in the 200 meters in Port Angeles. Both sprinters, along with teammates Melissa Kunold and Ashley Cole, won the 4x100-meter relay in Port Angeles as well. Byers, Kunold and Williams also won the 4x200-meter relay with teammate Delanee Nilles. The Vikings’ 4x400-meter team, made up of Staker, Reagan Colyer, Becca Cates and Kendall Rock, also placed first at Port Angeles.
North Kitsap’s top girls hurdlers are young but talented. Colyer, a freshman, won the 100-meter hurdles at Port Angeles, while sophomore Jordan McCullough took second in the 300 meters.
Senior Taylor Ottomano, a state qualifier in 2009, leads the Viking jumpers after placing first in both the high jump and triple jump at the Port Angeles Invite.
For the Kingston girls, senior Jaime Schultz returns after taking eighth place at the state competition in the triple jump, long jump and 300-meter hurdles. Schultz is already leaping farther than she did at state in the triple jump. Freshman Melia Beckwith is showing promise in the 200 and 400 meters and coaches believe freshman Sarah Wahl could be a threat in several events.
“She’ll be our all-around heptathlete if we can get her,” Laubach said.
Dana VanWyck, a junior, returns as one of two Kingston pole vaulters along with sophomore Tori Gerken. VanWyck has already tied her 2009 personal record of nine feet, and hopes to return to the state meet this year. She said her gymnastics experience will help, but knows how tough the pole vault — an event with plenty of wannabes but few who stick with it — can be.
“Everything has to be just perfect if you want to get the best,” VanWyck said. “It just takes a lot of practice. It’s not something you can just try and think you’re going to be good at it.”
On the boys side, both schools have strength in the long and middle distance runs. Tabor Reedy and Joel Brose, both seniors, lead North Kitsap along with junior Tyler Spear. Reedy, a state qualifier last year, won the 3,000 and 3,200 meter races at the Port Angeles and Kent-Meridian invitationals, respectively. Brose won the 1,500 meters in Port Angeles, while Spear took second in the 800 meters (half mile), just 0.07 second behind Kingston’s Nick Schippers.
Schippers, a junior, is running some of his best times ever this season.
“He’ll be under two minutes in the 800 before too long,” said Kingston boys coach Lee Willson.
Schippers also placed first in the 1,600 meters at the Kent meet.
North Kitsap also has some strong sprinters. Senior Alex Flores won the 200 meters in Port Angeles and placed third in Kent. Alex Fuchs took second in the 100-meter race at Port Angeles. The 4x100-meter relay team of Flores, Fuchs, Paolo De Guzman and Daniel Mitchell also took first in Port Angeles.
North Kitsap senior Glenn Runnels may be one to watch in the pole vault. He took first at Port Angeles, clearing a height of 11 feet, six inches.
Kingston is young on the boys side, mostly fielding sophomores and juniors. The team has a tough road ahead if they hope to compete in the postseason.
“We’re expecting those that went last year to compete equally as hard, plus some others to step up,” Laubach said.