Running (and throwing) strong

Senior Emily Pierce makes her return this year from knee surgery. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Senior Emily Pierce makes her return this year from knee surgery.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

Off-season work has Spartan track and field looking tough.

SILVERDALE – It was cold, windy, raining and there was even a brief moment of hail Wednesday at the Central Kitsap Invite at Silverdale Stadium.

But the Bainbridge track team performed very well despite the poor conditions.

Head coach Andy Grimm thinks they’ll be a better team as they have several talented returners on both squads who have trained hard in the offseason and are ready to make tracks in the 2006 prep season.

“Hats off to the kids,” he said. “They’ve been real workmanlike and got their workouts in despite all the craziness weather-wise.”

He also liked the placement of talent on both teams.

“I think if the kids stick with it on both sides, it’ll be fun to watch,” he said. “We’re pretty well-rounded on both sides.”

On the boys side, junior Quinton Agosta, the lone qualifier for Star Track last year in the discus, returns to throw and takes part in the jumping events.

Seniors Nathan Draper, Jake O’Malley and junior Patrick Wauters, all district qualifiers, join him in the throwing events, with Wauters placing fourth in the shotput Wednesday.

In the running events, senior Clif McKenzie, a member of the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that qualified for Districts, returns to man both teams.

He’ll be joined by swimming star Austin Hallett, his football teammates Max Kauffman and Nick Stone, senior Nazar Kamenchenko and junior Nate Mallove.

“It’s looking really good,” he said of the team. “A lot better than I thought it would. We’ve got a whole bunch of people from football and lacrosse doing track. I don’t know what prompted it, but I’m glad they’re here.”

Sophomore Joel Turkheimer and junior Bevan Taylor, both district qualifiers in track and state qualifiers for cross-country, are back as well.

Taylor won the 1600 meter run at the Invite with a time of 4:31.60.

Cheyne Clark, a finalist in diving, is a newcomer taking part in two events that haven’t been populated by Spartan athletes the past few years – the pole vault and the hurdles.

On the girls side, three-fourths of the 4x400 relay team that won silver at State are back, as senior Alana MacWhorter and juniors Geneva and Hillary Pritchett ready themselves to make a return trip.

They’ll be joined by juniors Morgan Nottingham and Maren Swanson, both of whom were alternates at State in the 4x400; Nottingham was a qualifier on the 4x100 relay team.

Also returning are junior Zena Hemmen, a state qualifier in the 4x100; senior and district finalist in the distance events Caroline Johnson; senior and district qualifier Christina Garrigues; junior and district qualifier Tess Sadowsky; and sophomores Teresa Johansen, who was a Metro qualifier in the throwing events, and distance runner Emily VanVleet.

Two other returners who are coming back from injuries are sophomore sprinter/relay runner Elizabeth Brackett and senior Emily Pierce, a state qualifier in 2003 and a three-time district qualifier in the discus but who couldn’t get medically cleared for last year’s meet due to her recovery from knee surgery.

MacWhorter feels they’ll be better thanks to their offseason work, including running at some indoor meets at the University of Washington.

“Everyone has been training a lot this offseason,” she said. “So far it’s looking really promising.”

They’re joined by several newcomers in senior sprinter and relay runner Kelsey Devereaux, junior distance runner Callie McKenzie, sophomore distance runner Emily Farrar and talented freshman sprinter and relay runner Madeline Sheldon.

Sheldon won her heat at the invite in the 100 meter dash and helped the 4x100 relay team recover from a mishap with the baton to place third.

Both teams have good chances to do well in a tough Metro League, and several could get back to Districts and even the State meet in Pasco. Grimm knows it’ll be a wait-and-see approach, but he likes what he sees.

“You never really know until halfway through the season to see if your marks stand up at a regional or state level,” he said. “But that’s the thing about track.You’re always trying to better your marks.”

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