PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles girls track and field team could do no wrong this weekend.
With a win in Friday afternoon’s three-way home meet against rivals Sequim and Port Townsend, as well as a first-place finish at Saturday’s 14-school Crescent Invitational in Joyce with a roster that included several junior varsity athletes, the Roughriders stole the show on the North Olympic Peninsula.
“This is a great group,” said Port Angeles coach Bill Tiderman, whose girls scored 92 points to beat Sequim (71 points) and Port Townsend (26).
“We just enjoy being here. The practices are fun. The meets are fun.”
Beating Sequim, which trounced the Rider girls team last season, was especially sweet.
Throw in the Rider boys’ victory in their three-way against Sequim and Port Townsend on Friday, edging out the Wolves by one point, 71.5-70.5, and things couldn’t get much better.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” Tiderman said. “It’s a fun rivalry. It’s an opportunity to not just go to a track meet and wish everybody good luck.
“You actually get to go out and coach and make decisions and set up the meet just right.
“There was tension, the kids all knew, both teams. That was fun.”
The Crescent girls and boys track teams had a good time hosting the Crescent Invite on Saturday.
Both teams ended up taking fourth in their respective competitions, beating out their North Olympic League rivals, not to mention Class 1A Forks, in both competitions.
“Crescent has got the horses this year,” said longtime Clallam Bay coach Steve Erickson. “Neah Bay, they are right there also, but Crescent has got a really nice team. They look really good.”
Crescent’s 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 meter relays each took second in their respective races. The 400 relay team anchor, Dylan Christie, also won the 800 with a breakneck pace down the stretch for a time of two minutes, 8.3 seconds.
Peter Lester took the 110 hurdles in 16.4 seconds as the Logger boys other first-place finisher. Kylie Mitts won the javelin for the Crescent girls with a throw of 113 feet, nine inches.
“[The Crescent Invite] has always been a break-out meet for us,” Crescent coach Darrell Yount said. “It’s the one point in the season that we take a pause and try to peak for. We tapered our training for this. That’s the best part, because our kids stepped up and ran great [personal records] today.”
Cedar Park Christian won the boys meet going away, while the Port Angeles girls cruised to an easy win in theirs.
The Rider girls scored 124 points despite not fielding a full varsity team. The next closest school was Cedar Park Christian with 79.5 points.
Freshman Kiah Jones won the 400 meter dash and Vicky Nunez the shot put (30 feet, nine inches) as the lone title-winning Riders.
Cece Stevenson wasn’t too shabby either.
One day after claiming three individual title against her rivals (100 meter hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump), the long-striding junior had a pair of second-place finishes (100 hurdles and 33 hurdles) and a third (high jump) at the Joyce meet.
“She’s just a natural athlete,” Tiderman said. “She’s a hard worker and just a nice kid. The other day she came out to just run an extra 300 [meters] at the end of the practice just because she wanted a little more burn. That’s the kind of kids you want.”
Forks Chanda Romney appeared to be in midseason form as well, as the Spartans junior took both the 1,600 and 3,200. All-everything Spartan Luke Dixon led the boys team with a win in the shot (46-4).
Courtney Winck and Nick Ward each won the long jump for Neah Bay’s girls and boys teams, which finished 12th and eighth respectively on Saturday.
The Port Townsend boys’ claim as the Peninsula’s long-distance leaders took a tiny hit at Friday’s three-way.
Sophomore Bereket Piatt — the Olympic League’s second best cross country runner last fall — was chased down twice.
In the 800 it was Port Angeles’ John Christian and Sequim’s Alexander Jenkins who finished first and second, respectively, ahead of him. And in the 1,600, it was Brad Garrett who ran past Piatt down the stretch for an upset victory.
Of course, Port Townsend senior Quinton Decker restored order in the 3,200, lapping half the field for a first-place time of 10:10.40.
“I said, ‘See that pack? You’ve got to lap that pack,'” Port Townsend coach Kevin Sanford said. “And he did.”
Port Angeles’ Nick Peterson and Sequim’s Anna LaBeaume each showed off their multiple talents during the three-way meet. Peterson won three events (110 hurdles, long jump and high jump), as did LaBeaume (100, 200 and shot put).
Other multiple winners in the girls three-way meet included Port Angeles’ Elise Reid (javelin and discus) and Sequim’s Audrey Lichten (1,600 and 3,200).
“We said we’re going to try to spread these girls out as much as we can, score as much as we can on the individual events and hope everything else falls the way we want it to,” Sequim coach Brad Moore said. “I’m very proud of the way the girls competed, [and ]PA’s girls did a really good job too.”
Port Townsend’s Khloe Frank was the Redskins’ lone individual winner in the 400, and also helped lead her team to wins in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relays.
“Since I’ve been coaching for 16 years we’ve always had a girls relay team going to state, and lots of times we end up medaling,” Sanford said. “We want to try and keep that tradition.”
Sequim’s Derrell Jensen was a triple winner in the boys three-way meet, taking the 100, 200 and triple jump.
In the end it wasn’t enough to overtake the Riders, who also got wins from Troy Martin (javelin and discus) and Spencer Moorman (shot).