South Kitsap senior Monica Smith finished eighth in the pole vault at 9 feet

South Kitsap senior Monica Smith finished eighth in the pole vault at 9 feet

TRACK | South Kitsap’s Laupola caps off memorable week in Shelton

Senior won the javelin, which is the event she will compete in at Western Washington University

SHELTON — It marked the culmination of a good week for South Kitsap senior Shannon Laupola.

After signing to compete next season at Western Washington University, Laupola won the javelin with a throw of 125 feet, 7 inches, during the 55th Shelton Invitational on May 2 at Highclimber Stadium.

“It felt good to pop that one,” said Laupola, whose personal-best mark was 129-08 at last year’s Class 4A district meet. “Last time I [threw 125] was the second meet of the season and I haven’t been able to bring it back up. It boosted my confidence a lot.”

Athletes sometimes struggle on short rest. But Laupola feels she benefited from competing May 1 at Yelm in a 4A Narrows League meet.

“I thought it was a good warm-up meet,” Laupola said. “It was the same concept with a grass field, so I felt prepared.”

Laupola, who participated in three sports in each of the last two years with the Wolves, had a different offseason this time. She joined several of her teammates who participated in the University of Washington’s track clinics, which occurred during Wednesday nights from November to February. Laupola received instruction from UW assistant coach T.J. Crater there.

“It was a good experience for all of us,” Laupola said. “I think it gave us a little bit of a head start for track season.”

She participated in basketball during her first two years at South, but did not play that sport during the winter because she sprained her right ankle late in volleyball season. Laupola said the ankle feels good now.

Another adjective — great — would describe her feelings toward her college selection. Laupola said she signed April 29 with Western Washington University, where she plans to major in business and throw the javelin.

“The coaches reached out to me and offered me to come up and look at the campus,” said Laupola, adding that she has received several expressions of interest from other coaches during the last year, but nothing that appealed to her. “I fell in love with it.”

But before she heads to Western, Laupola has a simple goal: to better her performance last year at state, where she finished 11th at 110-06. Co-coach Paul Zimmer feels Laupola is capable of plenty.

“I think there’s still more in her,” he said. “We’re not quite there to peak.”

Laupola was the Wolves’ top placer in the field events. After winning both the discus and shot put during the previous two weeks at invitationals in Snohomish and Bellevue, sophomore Nolan Van Amen finished second in each at Shelton. North Beach’s Caleb Bridge (169-06) outlasted Van Amen (163-10) in the discus. Meanwhile, Eatonville’s Justin Kaelin (58-08) won the shot put against Van Amen (55-02).

“It’s just a matter of going up against a couple of seniors,” Zimmer said. “This is the first time here at Shelton that he’s been really pushed. It was good for him to feel that little pressure that he doesn’t get every week.”

Senior Cole Sunkel also finished second at an invitational for the third consecutive week. He placed second in the javelin at 181-0 behind Central Kitsap’s Hudson Keffer (183-09). Again, Zimmer stressed that placement was a byproduct of the competition.

“The CK thrower — the guy is a stud,” he said.

South had two first-place finishes on the boys side. Senior Mason Villarma won the mile in 4 minutes, 19.36 seconds.

Villarma then teamed with Albert MacArthur, Troy Delgado and Izaijha Byrd to win the 1,600 relay in 3:25.99. That was a significant improvement from their 3:31.13 time in Bellevue, where Byrd was not able to compete in that event.

“He was just a little tight up in the groin area,” Zimmer said. “We were just being really cautious with him.”

That does not mean the team was at full strength even with Byrd back. Delgado, who normally runs the first leg, ran the second in 53 seconds. Zimmer said that is about 3 seconds slower than usual.

“Troy wasn’t feeling too well before, so we flipped the order a bit,” said Zimmer, who usually follows Delgado with MacArthur. “We faced a little adversity and the guys handled it really well.”

MacArthur also had success in an individual event. The junior finished second in the long jump at 21-07 after Olympic’s Keshun McGee (21-07 1/4) edged him during the final leap. Despite that, Zimmer felt it was a good experience for MacArthur.

“I think it was a good confidence booster for him,” he said.

Those performances helped the Wolves win the boys team title with 70 points. Pasco was second with 43. South’s girls team finished 17th with 17 points. Federal Way placed first with 55.5

Zimmer lauded several other performances, including the girls 1,600 relay. That quartet finished in seventh in 4:18.26, which Zimmer said was 5 seconds better than their previous best. He also liked that Shelton offered events specifically to freshmen and sophomores, which gave his youthful athletes some experience.

“They’re always kind of at the bottom half of the meet,” Zimmer said. “It’s good for them to get a little bit of exposure.”

While Shelton was the final invitational of the season for the Wolves, they will return to Highclimber Stadium for the Class 4A Narrows League meet, which runs May 14-16. Zimmer noted that several of his athletes commented on the differences between Shelton and other locations where they have competed. He said those ranged from the black track, which is faster than some places, to the wood boards used for jumps.

“There’s some nuances,” Zimmer said. “The kids are used to having routines, so it’s good to get those shakes out. Now we can adapt.”

More in Sports

The North Kitsap passing game struggled Thursday, but quarterback Colton Bower rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s 32-0 win over Bainbridge. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Weather forces NK to use ground game in 32-0 win over BI

If North Kitsap hopes to go far in the state high school… Continue reading

Bainbridge quarterback Jack Grant, left, hands off to Garrett Goade as Port Angeles defender Jeremiah Hall closes in on Friday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Football Roundup: Week 7

Port Angeles 27, Bainbridge 7 The Spartans had their opportunities, but the… Continue reading

Colton Bower passed for 363 yards and six touchdowns in North Kitsap’s 56-21 win over Bremerton. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bower throws 6 TD passes, runs for 100 yards in romp

Friday night brought together a North Kitsap team that loves to air… Continue reading

Bainbridge senior Eden Michael took home a second-place finish in the final regular season cross country league meet at Battle Point Park. Michael’s performance helped lead Bainbridge to a team victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group photos)
Bainbridge girls win final league meet

NK girls, Kingston boys each run to 2nd place

Bainbridge senior Maddy Brown looks to pry the ball loose from a Sequim player during her team’s 1-0 win Thursday night. Mark Krulish/Bainbridge Island Review photos
Bainbridge maintains top spot with 1-0 win over Sequim

Keeping the positive momentum going was the order of the day for… Continue reading

Bainbridge sophomore Kathryn Houseman swims to victory in the 500-yard freestyle in Tuesday’s tri-meet against North Kitsap and Kingston. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BHS swimmers dominating on road to state

With a reloaded roster full of experienced underclassmen, the Bainbridge girls swim… Continue reading

Finn Miller plays defense against his Mercer Island counterpart, Finn Friedland (7), in Monday night’s water polo match agains the Islanders. Bainbridge won 17-8. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BHS water polo beats Mercer Island to remain undefeated

In the 50-year history of boys high school water polo in Washington… Continue reading

North Kitsap improved to 4-0 on the season with a 42-7 win over Olympic on Friday. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Football roundup: Week 5

North Kitsap 42, Olympic 7 The Trojans hung tough for a while,… Continue reading

Colton Bower
Big passing plays spark N. Kitsap over Olympic

The Vikings didn’t get off to their fastest start on Homecoming night,… Continue reading

Allie Wildsmith of Bainbridge blasts a shot through the North Kitsap defense during her team’s five-set win on Thursday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Wildsmith leads Bainbridge to wild finish in win over N. Kitsap

Every time Bainbridge needed to help turn the momentum of the match,… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Community comes together over COVID cancellations

We’re a few weeks into the Fall 2021 prep season, and although… Continue reading