The climb to the top of the Olympic League is an arduous one and it just got a little tougher in 2009.
North Kitsap joins the ranks of track teams vying for league titles, making it even tougher for a Sequim girls squad seeking to repeat as league champs after posting an undefeated 2008 mark.
The Wolves are hamstrung a bit with some key injuries and low turnout (just two dozen reported to tryouts this March), but when healthy, Sequim's girls are tough to beat.
All five state-qualifers - Alli Cutting, Lauryn Garrett, Anna LaBeaume, Audrey Lichten and Samantha Whiteside - are back, with Laura Moser and Christina Bruce joining Cutting and Lichten in dominating league distance runs.
Cutting took second in the 800-
meter race and third at 3,200 meters.
LaBeaume has a shot to medal once again at the state meet in both 200-meter dash and shot put events. She set school records at state last year in both.
Garrett, a senior, figures to be at the top of the league in both hurdles events, and Whiteside took third at state in the pole vault last season and figures to only improve.
Chase O'Neill, out of action due to a concussion injury she suffered from last fall, is a threat to medal in the triple jump at state as well.
Also likely earning big points for the Wolves this year are multi-
talented Persephone Nelson and Alex Rose-Albert.
The boys' side looks healthy in numbers with a 44-athlete turnout this spring, hoping to improve upon Sequim's 6-2 season mark and repeat as the 2A Olympic League champs.
Despite losing state champion (100 meter dash) and three-medal winner Kincaid Nichols, the Wolves see plenty of returning talent including pole-vaulter David Copeland, hurdlers Josh Fodge and Stephen Stilts, triple jumper Derrell Jensen and distance runners Chris Consoliver, Colby Robb and Tyler Wilson-Walters.
Newcomers give the Wolves depth and a great advantage heading into the league meet season. Runners Alex Clifford and Ben Ohnstad fill out the already strong distance crew while footballer Thomas Gallagher bolsters the team's throwing crew.
Freshman Emanuel Herrera and senior Brad Woolf give Sequim two more solid sprinters.
The Wolves are in action at home April 9 against Klahowya and Olympic.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.
Sequim High Wolves track & field
Head coach: Brad Moore (15th year)
2008 record: Boys - 6-2 in Olympic League (2A champs), second at districts; one individual and one relay to state, finished tied for 15th; state title in 100-meter dash. Girls - 8-0 in Olympic League (overall champs), second at districts; five individuals and finished tied for ninth at state 2A meet
_ Returnees: Boys - Kevin Beck (discus), Chris Consoliver (distance, javelin), David Copeland (pole vault), Josh Daker (throws), Josh Fodge (hurdles), Joey Gish (middle distances), Rexx Ingalls (sprints, relays), Derrell Jensen (sprints, triple jump, relays), Jared Lindorfer (sprints, relays), David McComas (discus), Steven Moore (javelin), Colby Robb, (distance), Stephen Stilts (hurdles), Tyler Wilson-Walters (distance, javelin).
Girls - Christina Bruce (distance), Sierra Clark (javelin), Alli Cutting (distance, relays), Lauryn Garrett (hurdles, jumps), Anna LaBeaume (shot put, sprints, relays), Audrey Lichten (distance, relays), Brenna Moore (discus), Laura Moser (distance), Chase O'Neill (jumps, relays), Persephone Nelson (jumps, throws, sprints, relays), Alex Rose-Albert (jumps, discus), Sam Whiteside (pole vault, sprints, relays), Megan Zumbuhl (sprints, long jump, relays)
_ Newcomers: Boys - Alex Clifford (distance), John Berkes (sprints), Thomas Gallagher (throws), Emanuel Herrera (sprints, relays), Ben Ohnstad, (distance), Brad Woolf (sprints, throws).
Outlook: A strong spring turnout and newcomers help the boys' team outscore most competitors. The girls' team is lean in numbers but well off in returning state qualifiers. If the girls stay healthy, they'll move plenty of athletes on in the postseason, but scoring enough wins for a league championship may prove too tough.