POULSBO — Cross country will be the first of the North Kitsap High School teams to reach into the postseason.
The team will travel to Lakewood’s Steilacom Park today to take part in the 15-part league meet.
The first competition will be boy’s junior varsity, which begins at 3:30 p.m. Boys’ varsity begins at 4:30 p.m.
Girls’ junior varsity starts at 4 p.m. Girls’ varsity starts at 5 p.m.
“I told the kids, it’s like the Super Bowl, but everyone’s invited,” head coach Helen Smith said. “The other meets don’t mean anything; they really don’t.”
At league, schools enter their top seven runners from the boys team, as well as their top seven runners from the girls team. Schools may also enter as many junior varsity competitors as they want, although in North’s case they will have only one girls’ JV runner because they have eight runners total.
“You’re looking at over 400 runners,” said Smith.
The top 40 individuals will move on to district competition. Smith hopes and believes some of North’s competitors will do that, including top male runners such as Jim Robson and Michael Chuol: “I expect them to be in the top 10, if not the top five,” she said, adding that several other boys’ runners, such as Vanya Fox, also have good chances of moving on. Several girls also have a chance to extend their season, Smith said, including sophomore Robyn Embrey, who placed an impressive second at last week’s competition against Foss and Olympia.
Embrey has her sights set high.
“It’d be nice to be able to go to districts,” Embrey said. “And if I can, It’d be great to go to state.”
At the league competition today, the top eight teams will also move on to district competition. The NK teams would have to perform exceptionally (“It’s a tough league,” Smith said), but the girls, Smith believes, have a shot at it.
Smith is encouraged by the team’s improvement, which has been steady all year.
The team has also been doing especially well lately.
Against Foss and Olympic, North Kitsap’s Jim Robson and Michael Chuol finished first and second respectively (results on page 10), with Vanya Fox close behind at 10th.
On the girls’ side, Robyn Embrey placed second overall, with Divina Ormsby and Amy Gibbs taking sixth and seventh.
At the Fort Worden Invite, the Vikings also did well, with Robson and Chuol again placing first and second.