The Peninsula High School track and field team is young and looking to build on last year’s success.
Head coach Curtiss Hall said he was pleased with last season’s results and believes they can get back on the Class 3A state podium this year.
The Seahawks followed what Hall called the half-half-half rule. They started with about 150 athletes and had about 50 percent of them qualify for each level of the postseason.
Overall, the team advanced several athletes to the South Puget Sound League and West Central District meets, but the Seahawks didn’t have many standout performances.
“In terms of supreme accomplishments, it was not as good as, say, the 2012 team, where the boys were fourth in state,” Hall said. “But we had a number of good performances.”
Among them were Michala Zilkey’s second-place state finish in the discus as a sophomore and Ben Smith’s third-place finish in the javelin as a junior.
One of Smith’s main opponents, senior Taylor Wilson from Bainbridge, will provide his stiffest competition this year. But Smith, now a senior, thinks he can come out on top.
“I have the determination to outwork him,” Smith said.
Zilkey, a junior, said the goal for both teams is to win the South Puget Sound League championships.
“We want the boys and the girls to each be league champions,” she said. “We’re also hoping to send a lot of athletes to state.”
On the running side, the Seahawks will return senior O’Shea McLaughlin and junior Megan Eberhardt, among others. Eberhardt runs the 400 meters and the 200, and she contributes to the 800 and 1,600 relays.
“I really want to get closer to breaking 60 (seconds) in the 400,” Eberhardt said. “Then, having my relays, one of them or both of them make it to state this year (is a goal).”
Eberhardt said the team is ready to take the next step.
“All of us are wanting to do really well,” she said. “We made it to districts last year, so we want to make it one step further to state this year and trying to break all of our PRs (personal records).”
McLaughlin, who was sidelined last year with a shoulder injury, should provide an immediate boost for the Seahawks with his speed. He runs the 100, 200, 400 relay and competes in the long jump.
“The team and I and have been training hard all offseason,” McLaughlin said. “We’re getting better. We’re a really young team.”
The best competition on the league schedule likely will be Lakes High School on the boys side.
“We’re hoping to win league, which we think we’re going to have a good shot this year,” McLaughlin said.
Hall said there are no easy wins in the small league. Although Lakes could be the biggest test, every week will be a challenge, he said.
“Every Thursday, it’s, you better bring your A-game, because anybody can beat anybody at any given time,” Hall said. “There’s never a week off.”
Hall said he’s encouraged by the turnout so far, and as athletes continue to trickle in, the team will probably have about 150 athletes.
“You need to cover 17 events,” Hall said. “It takes a lot of people. That’s why I’m so optimistic. We get a lot of people out and, by in large, they’re good kids.
“We have some of the top people in the state,” he said. “We want to get on the awards stand here.”
Peninsula track and field
March 15SPSL 2A/3A jamboree at SumnerTBD
March 22at South Kitsap11 a.m.
March 27at Auburn Mountainview3:30 p.m.
March 29at Kent Meridian9 a.m.
April 3Decatur3:30 p.m.
April 5at Decatur9 a.m.
April 19at Pasco Invitational9:30 a.m.
April 24Enumclaw3:30 p.m.
April 26at Bellevue meetTBD
May 1Bonney Lake3:30 p.m.
May 3at Shelton Invitational9 a.m.
May 8at Lakes3:30 p.m.
May 10at DecaturTBDSports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.