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Spring Sports Preview: Much anew for large BHS track team
There are several new elements in this year’s BHS track season: the newly resurfaced track, a new format at Star Track, even new hurdles.
But one thing remains the same. The team’s primary strength is in middle distance, in particular the 4x400 relay teams. Last year the girls were second at Star Track, while the boys finished fourth.
Sadly, Pat Logan, the man primarily responsible for coaching the runners who developed this strength, died of an apparent heart attack last fall. With island runners Gary Osmond and Mike Shiach and several volunteers stepping up in Logan’s stead, many of the athletes he worked with have dedicated the season to his memory.
More than 100 athletes are participating in early season workouts.
“It’s great to see those numbers,” said head coach Andy Grimm, who anticipates that at least 80-85 of them will still be on hand in May.
Six runners who competed at Star Track last year head the list of returning athletes. They include three members of the girls 4x400 relay: senior Maddie Sheldon, junior Sylvia Stellmacher and sophomore Courtney O’Dell. Senior Anthony Carter is the lone holdover from the boys’ relay team, and he’s joined by seniors Griffin Dunn and Ryan Vogel, who were alternates.
This year Star Track moves to Mount Tahoma in Tacoma, and not only adds 2A to the usual 3A and 4A mix but also expands to a three-day event. It begins on Thursday, May 28.
The first day consists of several prelims with finals in the 3200 and several field events. Friday features many more prelims, 100/110 hurdles finals and a number of field events finals. Saturday presents more than seven hours of virtually non-stop finals in running events plus the remaining field events.
The new surface on the track in Memorial Stadium also results in an unprecedented five home meets, starting with Rainier Beach and Lakeside on March 26. That’s five days after the team opens the competitive season at the Kitsap Relays.
A number of athletes who were in the district meet but didn’t advance to state provide much of the team’s depth.
Junior Annie Taylor, the top runner on the girls cross country team, will run the 800. Kelly Crane is a sprinter and relay runner. Grimm calls thrower Anna Kaminski “a legitimate threat to go to state. She led Metro all year but just missed in district.”
Grimm has high hopes for throwers James Herman and Zane Zackett. Kiyle Playter and Kyle Szarzynski compete in the relays, with Playter also sprinting and Szarzynski doing the long jump.
In addition, sophomore triple jumpers Corey Touchette and Brad Wilmot and junior hurdler competed in the Metro championships.
Grimm singled out several athletes who didn’t qualify for Metro but are likely to go at least that far this year: sophomore jumper Drew Wickens, sophomore distance runners Sean LaBelle and John Murphy, and junior middle- distance runners Rebecca Sharar and Josh Peters.
Grimm also welcomes a number of first-year athletes whom he feels have an excellent chance of doing well. They include four juniors: distance runner Emily Barreca and middle-distance runners Win McCurdy, Will Wenzlau and Annique Rice.
Freshmen are distance runner Chad Haus and middle distance runners Colin Chupik, Ed Hawley, Isabel Ferguson, Pearl Terry and Kate Gawloski. Ferguson and Terry also high jump, a very uncommon double. Ferguson cleared 4-10 in a recent indoor meet at the University of Washington, a height that would have made her Metro League champion last year.
Overall, Grimm sees an especially strong girls team. “And we have a lot of quality boys as individuals,” he added.
The Spartans’ road to Star Track may be slightly smoother because of Skyline, Issaquah and Newport moving up to 4A.
“They all have good girls teams,” Grimm said. “It opens up opportunities for us and for other Metro teams. It especially helps in relays.”
Between the returning runners and what Grimm terms some “very good young talent,” he feels he has enough depth to push all five relays: boys 400 and 1600, and girls 400, 800 and 1600.
“We have enough quality bodies to ride pretty far,” he said. “We’ll ride them through district and then see where we’re at.”
Coach Andy Grimm has issued a call for volunteers to help with timing and judging for the five home track meets.
The meets will be held on Thursdays: March 26, April 9, April 23, April 30 and May 7.
For more information or to sign up, contact Grimm at email@example.com.