Underdog crew wants to lift Mount Si track team to new heights
April 11, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
On a warm spring day, Mount Si High School track and field coach Dave Clifford looked around at his crew of youngsters closing out a practice and sighed. If only more days looked like this, he seemed to be thinking.
Spring has taken its time appearing in the Snoqualmie Valley this year and the cold has affected the practices of Clifford’s squad.
“Wet, it’s not a problem as much as the cold and it has been an unusually cold March,” he said. “It’s been a problem especially for the sprinters and jumpers.”
For pole vaulters and hurdlers, it’s just flat dangerous, Clifford said, adding that he has had to cancel some practices.
“It’s just a drag on everything,” he said.
To the team’s credit, students have shown enough work ethic to overcome an uneven practice routine and post some good results.
More than half of the girls showed up for the voluntary practices over spring break.
The girls have won all of their dual meets.
“We’re competing well,” Clifford said of the girls. “We’re 3-0 so far and we have a lot of young kids. We only have four seniors.”
Daniele Curley (a junior), Hailey Johnson (a freshman), Hannah Richmond (a junior) and Lexi Swanson (a senior) are tied with Bellevue’s Michelle Louie and Interlake’s Savanna Stern for second in the KingCo Conference in pole vault, according to the Athletic.net website.
Senior Sally Miller and freshman Karlie Hurley rank among the top three long jumpers. Sophomore Sydney Leonard ranks third in KingCo in shot put. The 4×100 relay team of Johanna Cranford, Jesse Guyer, Hurley and Sophie Rockow ranks second. Junior Ashley Jackson is third in the 300-meter hurdles.
The boys have held their own against some tough competition, sporting a 2-1 record in KingCo.
The squad includes underclassmen among some of its potential stars, like freshman sprinter Sean Hyland and sophomore hurdler Jon Proctor. Both are ranked in the top 10 in KingCo.
That’s fine, Clifford said, but it underscores a gap between the Wildcats and some of the powerhouses in the district, like SeaKing’s O’Dea and KingCo’s Liberty.
In boys, Liberty has almost 30 top 10 entries. Four belong to underclassmen.
Among upperclassmen, junior Wildcat pole vaulter Jimbo Davis ranks fourth in the conference. Senior Brian Copeland ranks fourth among shotputters.
Junior Bradly Stevens ranks first in javelin and second in the 110-meter hurdles as of April 10.
More than 110 athletes turned out for track this season. One of the larger turnouts in the league, although with a young squad, coaching them can look a little like herding chickens, Clifford said. Now the herd faces what Clifford calls the meat of the season: April 12 at Bellevue, April 14 at Snohomish’s Larry Eason Invitational, April 14 a dual meet at home against Interlake and then April 28 at Shelton’s invitational.
“They are a good group of kids,” Clifford said, later adding, “We don’t have a shot at winning the league, but I think we have a shot at being in the top three.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com. Comment at www.snovalleystar.com.