Salt Creek sweet for prep runners

Spotlight on Sports

It’s like an old-fashioned family picnic, like a class reunion, it’s like nothing else on the Olympic Peninsula and it unfolds this Saturday at the Salt Creek Recreation Area west of Port Angeles.

I’m talking about the Salt Creek Invitational cross country meet, hosted by the Port Angeles Roughriders.

There will be 25 schools sending runners to this premier cross country event that covers three miles in and around the trails, roads and bunkers at Salt Creek.

Teams will start arriving Friday night as many teams camp on site. Families bring trailers, tents and fifth wheels, along with big motor homes, to spend the weekend.

Many teams visit the site during August to become familiar with the surroundings and make it a team bonding experience.

The day of the race comes and school buses from all over western Washington and some schools from east of the Cascades converge on Salt Creek. Paved RV sites are now where bus parking used to be, so buses park up on the hill by the two bunkers that were manned with huge guns in World War II.

By the time the last bus arrives, the yellow line will stretch all the way around the loop.

The 31st Salt Creek Invite begins at 9:45 a.m. with the so-called open race. This is for anyone on the team who does not qualify for top 14 runners. The public is invited, coaches run, parents run, probably between 600-700 runners.

After that it’s the junior varsity girls, then JV boys, varsity girls and varsity boys every half hour from 10:30 a.m. with awards at 1 p.m.

Rider coach Dwayne Johnson and longtime mentor Bob Sheedy and company set up the course, arrange for the 50 or so volunteers it takes to run the meet and work closely with park ranger Lori and Bruce Giddon.

If you haven’t watched a big meet with hundreds of kids running, be sure to take this one in. There is no charge. Remember, each school gets seven runners and the first five across the finish line count toward the final score. Low score wins.

The sixth and seventh runners for each school sometimes decide who wins, even though they might not finish in the top 20. That’s why the spring to the finish line in a three-mile race is a sight to behold.

Port Angeles will miss Sequim’s entry this year, as the Wolves committed to another event (the Seaside Three-Course Challenge), but all Olympic League schools will be at The Cedars at Dungeness golf club for the league meet in October.

Football weekend

Sequim’s Wolves rolled to an easy 38-7 win over the Port Angeles Roughriders before 2,000 plus fans in P.A. last Friday and made it look easy after a 62-yard opening kickoff return to set up the first score.

The Wolves took advantage of every Rider mistake to score and Sequim’s huge linemen enabled the speedy, shifty tailbacks to find even the slightest hole to run through.

The Sequim squad kept defensive pressure on at all times and now face a tough Cascade Christian team at home before league play. Go Wolves – you did a number on the Riders.

Dawg time

Washington won the coin toss and that was it as the Oklahoma Sooners showed why they are rated No. 3 in the football polls Saturday before 67,716 fans at Husky Stadium.

The Sooners scored on their first possession and then took advantage of three fumble recoveries to begin the 55-14 rout.

Good teams convert mistakes.

Husky quarterback Jake Locker fumbled after a 19-yard run in first period. Oklahoma went 47 yards in two plays to score.

Washington caught a pass and fumbled on the Sooner 21. The 23-yard gain resulted in a 10-play, 79-yard drive for a score for the visitors and they had one score called back in the drive.

After the kickoff, Washington fumbled on the first play and it took Oklahoma five plays to go 24 yards and it was 34-0.

If I had a vote, the Sooners would be No. 1 in the country. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE got tired of the "Boomer Sooner" song, folks.


Seattle sent 68,000 fans home exhausted after a 33-30 overtime loss to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon at sun-drenched Qwest Field.

A couple of costly turnovers resulted in two Niner scores and that proved to be the difference in the third period as the Hawks lost a 20-13 lead.

Seattle did show flashes of being a pretty good squad, but the defense, touted as the strong point this season, gave up way too many third down and long plays to the 49ers and kept them alive.

Don’t be too discouraged, however, as the NY Giants lost their first two last year and went on to win the Super Bowl.

Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at