PREP SPORTS: Area track and field athletes and baseball and softball players set to begin seasons

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

ASK YOUR FAVORITE high school softball or baseball player when their next game is and you’ll probably won’t receive a confident answer.

Something like: “Well, we’re supposed to have a game Thursday.”

Ah, spring sports.

Spring is the only sports season in which weather is the biggest competition.

Rain postpones softball and baseball games and tennis and golf matches on an unfortunately consistent basis and puts a damper on track and field meets (see: last year’s Port Angeles Invitational).

The life of a spring sports athlete is tentative. I imagine they spend as much time checking weather forecasts — or tweeting and instragramming about the rain — as they spend doing homework.

Except, of course, soccer. If the mailman delivers in the afternoon, then soccer players will be playing that evening.

I got a kick out of Port Townsend boys soccer coach Steve Shively pointing out a few times last season that his team played on in weather that had the baseball team sitting at home or practicing indoors.

Despite the weather, spring might be the sports season in which the North Olympic Peninsula is most consistently competitive at the state level, particularly in track and field, softball and baseball.

Here is a quick, basic primer for those sports:

At the track

This should be another banner year in track and field.

Only one member of last year’s All-Peninsula Girls Track and Field team graduated.

Leading the returners is Port Angeles’ Jolene Millsap, the fastest girl on the Peninsula, who will be chasing school records and another state berth after finishing seventh in the 100-meter dash in 2013.

The Roughriders also return Elyse Lovgren, who can run really fast and jump really far, and javelin thrower Brittany Norberg.

Right behind Millsap in the sprints is Jewel Johnson, one of four returning state participants from Port Townsend, along with Trish Reeves (high jump, triple jump), Rebecca Stewart (triple jump, hurdles) and Skyler Coppenrath (triple jump, long jump), who is one of the top returning boys athletes.

Crescent girls Devanie Christie and Ryan Lester should be competing against each other and the best in the state in the 100-meter hurdles.

Forks senior Sydney Christensen has recorded the top girls shot put and discus marks on the Peninsula the last three years.

Clallam Bay freshman Molly McCoy placed eighth at state as an eighth-grader in the high jump.

As a freshman last year, Chimacum’s Bailey Castillo was seventh at the state meet in the javelin.

The boys track and field scene isn’t quite as settled.

Only three 2013 All-Peninsula honorees return, led by Coppenrath and Sequim’s Oscar Herrera, who was one the area’s top hurdlers as a freshman last year.

Others to watch are Sequim’s Alex Barry, who throws javelin and runs, and for Port Angeles, do-it-all Tony Delgardno and distance runners Peter Butler and Simon Shindler.

The Crescent boys are consistent state competitors and should have athletes step up to fill the roles of the departed seniors.

Quinn’Tin March was one of the top hurdlers on the Peninsula last year, Quenton Wolfer had the second-best javelin mark and Martin Waldrip was among the best distance runners.

Clallam Bay’s Casey Randall is back for another crack at state in the long jump.

Port Townsend’s Ryan Clarke made mighty improvements during the cross country season and is looking to do likewise as a track distance runner.

And that’s only scratching the surface of the track and field teams.

On the basepaths

The Peninsula has had a state presence in softball recently, including the 2011 state championships won by Sequim’s softball team and Chimacum’s baseball team.

This year, the best bets appear to be Quilcene in both sports.

The Rangers placed third at state in baseball and fourth in softball in Class 1B, and both teams return the majority of last year’s players.

Among those returners are ace pitchers Jacob Pleines, the 2013 All-Peninsula Baseball MVP, and Sammy Rae, a two-time All-Peninsula Softball honoree.

The Sequim softball team again lost key pieces, but again appears to have other players fill those voids, if the Wolves’ 4-1 season-opening win over last year’s district champion White River on Saturday is any indication.

Port Angeles won a game at the Class 2A state tournament last year with only one senior on the roster, so the Roughriders return many of their top players.

This should be a good spring sports season, weather pending.

________

Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 17. 2014 5:12PM
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