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Track teams in the blocks for state tournament
KINGSTON — Memorial Day weekend marks the pinnacle of the high school track and field season.
On Friday and Saturday, athletes from all over Washington will gather and compete at the state high school track and field championships at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School. And the North End is well represented.
Sixteen athletes from North Kitsap High and eight from Kingston High will compete at the state meet. For some, it’s their first time as part of the spectacle. For others, like Kingston’s Ruby Roberts, it’s the last.
“It’ll be sad when I finish,” said Roberts, who is competing in the 4x400-meter relay and 1,600 meters.
Roberts, who will run for Washington State University with teammate Ramona Morshead next year, has qualified for state in each of her three years at Kingston. In 2008 she won the state title in the 1,600 meters with a time of 4 minutes, 59.76 seconds. It’s the fastest she has ever run the race.
During the past two seasons, a hamstring problem has bothered Roberts, and she took fourth in the 2009 state meet with a time of 5:11.95. This year, she won the West Central District title in the 1,600 in 5:01.38. She hopes to break the five-minute mark again at the state meet.
“I have before, so I know it’s in there somewhere,” she said.
The state meet will also be the last competition for Roberts’ teammate, Jaime Schultz. Schultz will compete in the 300-meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump and 4x400-meter relay. She placed eighth in the hurdles, triple jump and long jump at last year’s state meet. She hopes to improve on that performance before hanging up her shoes to pursue a music degree at Central Michigan University.
“It’s scary that it’s my last time,” Schultz said. “But it’s kind of exciting to know that it’s the peak of my track career.”
Joining Roberts and Schultz at the state meet are five teammates from the Kingston High girls squad — which placed second at the district championships — including Marina Roberts, Tatum Larson, Melia Beckwith, Sarah Wahl and Renee Henderson. Nick Schippers, a junior, is the only member of Kingston’s boys team going to the state meet. He placed first in the 1,600 meters at districts with a time of 4:26.02. Schippers is hoping for a better showing than the one he had last year at state.
“I got 14th there, and I was really unhappy with that,” he said. “I knew I could come back and run with the top group of guys. And that’s what I’ve done.”
Visiting the grand stage of the state championships for the first time are North Kitsap freshmen Reagan Colyer and Alex Lanzafame. Lanzafame qualified for state in the girls long jump and triple jump, while Colyer qualified in the girls 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Joining them are veteran competitors Siara Byers, Taylor Ottomano, Annelise Weinmann, Ellie Staker, Addie Carion, Melissa Kunold, and Indigo Williams. Byers will compete in the 100 meters and the 4x100-meter relay. Ottomano will compete in the high jump. Weinmann will run the 3,200 meters. Staker will race in the 800 meters. Carion and Kunold will be part of the 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams, as will Williams, who will also compete in the 100 and 200 meters.
“They’re all naturally talented,” North Kitsap coach Cristi Frank said. “I see a lot of maturity in this team.”
Alex Flores leads the North Kitsap boys into the state meet. Flores, a senior, will compete in the 100 and 200 meters, as well as the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. Also on the relay teams are Tolen McGregor, Alex Fuchs, Tyler Spear and Paolo DeGuzman. Jesse Banda, Nate Roberts, Sebastion Ford and Conner McCorkle will be alternates. Tabor Reedy will compete in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters and Joel Brose will race in the 800 meters.
“The guys coming in have been pretty solid all along,” North Kitsap head coach Dave Snyder said.