Sports

SHS track teams' prospects a mystery

The fictional Forrest Gump's mother had this saying, something about a box of chocolates and how one never knows what one is going to get.

That's a little like the prospects for Sequim High School's 2010 track and field season.

With 55 athletes on the roster - not as many as in some seasons, says SHS head coach Brad Moore, but a good number for a pay-to-play year - the Wolves aren't hurting for bodies. Included in that roster are four returning state qualifiers including defending state shot put champion Anna LaBeaume.

But it's the depth and experience (or lack thereof) and how certain athletes have healed from injuries that are daunting, Moore says.

"These young kids, you just don't know how good they can be," he says, watching

Sequim athletes practice at the pole vault pit.

"I'm very optimistic," Moore adds. "We don't have tons of depth but we have some great kids. The biggest key for us is staying healthy."

That's something a pair of his top returning female athletes have struggled with. Chase O'Neil missed the 2009 season dealing with effects of a concussion she sustained in soccer. As a freshman in 2007, she qualified for state in the triple jump and narrowly missed another state berth as a sophomore.

Allison Cutting, a cross country state champ and two-time state track and field medalist as a sophomore in 2008 (second in the 800-meter race, third in 3,200 meters), also sat out the 2009 season with injuries.

Both look to boost a girls team sure to miss all-around spark plug Lauryn Garrett. The 2009 SHS grad qualified for state in four events as a senior: 100- and 300-meter hurdles, long jump and high jump.

But the Wolves do have Samantha Whiteside, a three-time state qualifier in the pole vault who snapped the school record at the West Central District meet with a vault of 11 feet.

"Sam lifted weights all year and vaulted over the summer," Moore says. "I expect her to top that school record several times this season."

Audrey Lichten joins Cutting to solidify the girls distance crew, once an obvious strength of the track team that is seeking some depth.

Lichten was runner-up in a pair of races at districts and earned a pair of top-10 finishes at the state 2A meet in 2009.

And then there's LaBeaume, the three-time state qualifier and school record holder in the shot put. She seeks to defend her state 2A shot put title after breaking through as champion in 2009 with a throw of 40 feet, 11.25 inches.

While Moore knows the senior can compete with any female at any classification in the shot, he'll test LaBeaume a bit in some other events such as discus and javelin.

The girls have a great young crop of freshmen, Moore points out, including jumper Haleigh Harrison and runners/hurdlers Courtney Webber, Lauren Bell, Nicole Pino and Jasmine McMullen.



Boys seek depth

On the boys' side, the future is murkier. The Wolves return just one of five state qualifiers from last season: Emmanuel Herrera, part of the Wolves'

4 x 100 relay team.

Herrera looks to improve his specialties - 100-meter sprint and 300 hurdles - while possibly anchoring the relay teams.

The Wolves will look to other veterans, such as distance runners Alex Jenkins, Adrian Clifford and Drake Apablasa, sprinters Jared Lindorfer and Sam Schwab and pole vaulter Mack Grinnell.

The Wolves may need a boost from football converts Thomas Gallagher (throws), Travis Decker (throws, sprints), Kahn Mills (jumps) and Frank Catelli (throws) to provide needed points in key league match-ups.

"There's not as much depth ... (but) there's potential," Moore says.



Foes aplenty

Moore says the top competition in the Olympic League should come primarily from the 3A squads, particularly Port Angeles, Olympic and North Kitsap.

On the 2A side, Moore says, "North Mason could be a power."

Kingston's girls' squad should be solid this year, the Sequim coach noted, with its strong distance running program.

The Olympic and Nisqual-ly League advance just two athletes per event to the class 2A state meet, set for May 27-29 at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.

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