Gig Harbor flashes talent in league meet

Senior Garrett Steuk returns from injury to lead talented sprint group

Staff writerApril 16, 2014 

The Gig Harbor Tides had a strong showing Thursday in their meet against Central Kitsap and Stadium at Gig Harbor High School.

On the boys side, the Tides top distance runners sat out the meet because they were gearing up for the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Ore., coming up Saturday. The Tides talented distance team is composed of many of the members of the cross-country team that won a national title in December, so they receive much of the attention surrounding the track team. Their absence, though, allowed others to step up and shine Thursday.

Among those given the opportunity to showcase their talents were the sprinters, led by senior Garrett Steuk. Steuk has been battling injuries for the past couple of weeks and had practiced just one day leading up to Thursday’s meet. Despite the lack of practice time, Steuk finished first in the 100-meter race with a time of 11.53 seconds and finished second with a time of 23.51 in the 200-meter.

“I definitely think if I wasn’t injured, I would’ve done a lot better,” Steuk said. “But coming off of 2 1/2 weeks of not constantly training with the team and being with trainer Dave, I think I did pretty well.”

Being able to compete against the best runners from two schools while recovering from injuries speaks to Steuk’s athleticism, head coach Kevin Eager said.

“He can just kind of walk out and run fast,” Eager said. “He’s gotta get a couple weeks of training under him, so that’s what we can kind of hope for here.”

In the 100-meter behind Steuk were sophomores Noah Samsen and Liam Kavanaugh in third and fourth, senior Matthew Garries in fifth and junior Cole Rau in sixth.

“There’s definitely some guys coming out and they’re definitely showing that they can run,” Steuk said. “We’re showing that we can be both a distance and a sprint team, definitely.”

With a dominant distance team and a strong set of sprinters, the Tides believe they have a shot at the state title.

“We’re getting one step closer to achieving that and getting that state title,” Steuk said. “We’re just doing our hardest and trying our best and just getting there.”

On the girls side, the Tides raced to a 1-2-3 finish in the 100-meter hurdles, led by senior Naphtali Ward’s 17.49 first-place finish. Junior Alison Corsi and freshman Leahi Manthei finished second and third. Ward has been battling injuries this season and is returning to form.

“I feel like I’m just trying to get back into the groove of running the hurdles,” Ward said.

Ward is also gunning for a high jump mark above 5 feet 5 inches. A couple of weeks ago, she cleared 5.2.

“I’m just trying to figure out where my mark is,” Ward said. “I pretty much know how to high jump, it’s just applying it.”

Despite sweeping the top three spots in the hurdles, Eager said the best is yet to come.

“They’re gonna look a lot better than that later on,” Eager said. “We’ve got six weeks left in the season before we’ve gotta worry about who’s getting state and stuff like that.”

Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 Twitter: @gateway_jon

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