Long-distance races prove Oly’s strong suit. Trojan boys outlast competition at subs

Oly’s John Wojtech couldn’t quite catch Peninsula’s Keegan Hall in the 800-meter race Saturday, taking third to Hall’s second.

Oly’s John Wojtech couldn’t quite catch Peninsula’s Keegan Hall in the 800-meter race Saturday, taking third to Hall’s second.

BELFAIR — The 3A/2A subdistrict track and field competition couldn’t have gone much better for Olympic, especially in the long distance running events.

Winning the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races on the boys side, and the 800 on the girls side, Oly runners stood on the podium’s top pedestal seven times in all.

“We had a great meet,” coach Greg Chapman said. “We qualified a lot of kids (for districts).”

The busiest of the long-distance bunch, John Wojtech took home three top-three finishes, winning the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 34.51 seconds while placing second in the 3,200 at 9:50.30 and third in the 800 at 2:06.60.

Brent Groulik notched first in the 800 (2:01.66) and second in the 400 (52.59), while Nic Porter won the 3,200 (9:44.33).

“They all had a game plan,” Chapman said of the long-distance men, “and the exciting part was that they executed those plans.”

Leaving the Trojan stamp on the 1,600, Oly reeled in four of the event’s top five times as Chris Borg of Peninsula (third) was the only non-Oly runner to place in the Top 5.

“That 1,600 was just loaded,” Chapman said. “That’s the kind of event you write about in your diary.”

Brenden Schruhl, Porter and Johnathon Bergman joined winner Wojtech to round out the Top 5.

“Everybody’s time has been dropping dramatically,” Chapman added of the 1,600 runners. “Hopefully we didn’t peak Saturday.”

Travis Quinn won the 110 high hurdles and 300 intermediate hurdles, giving Oly two more first-place finishes. Oly’s Harley Dakis was second to Quinn in the 300.

Burner Tao Smith earned second in both the 100 and 200, finishing just behind Bremerton’s Alex Griffin. The boys also captured the 1,600 relay, running a 3:35.84, edging Bremerton and Peninsula.

In girls action, Brianna Wells was the lone first-place finisher, taking the 800 at 2:28.94, more than 20 seconds faster than her 2:49.23 at the Olympic League Championships last weekend.

“It was a gutsy performance from her,” Chapman said. “She ran a smart, tactical race.”

Wells will join a slew of boys this weekend at the West Central District 4A/3A meet, scheduled to begin Friday and continue through Saturday at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma.

“We’re past the best of the best, we’re into heavy duty stuff now,” Chapman said of the looming districts. “Everybody, mentally, is excited.”

With seven bids to the state championships on the line in each event, Chapman said he believes the squad is in good shape to contend.

“We haven’t beat our athletes up (and) we are feeling fresh,” he said. “We have to keep everybody focused and healthy.”