By WESLEY REMMER
Spring, discuses, javelins, high-jumpers and hurdlers all are in the air at King’s West School as the 2008 track and field season began.
The Warriors kick the season off today at the Kitsap County Classic in Bremerton. Excitement is at fever pitch for all Warrior athletes — both new competitors and returning stars.
“We are looking forward to the weekend competition,” coach and King’s West athletic director Dan Dittmer said prior to the event. “Finally something other than practice.”
The Warriors will field a 54-member team, many of which, Dittmer said, are first-year competitors and still searching for their niche on the team.
“One of the big things I’ve been doing is moving kids around,” Dittmer said. “Letting the kids discover what they like and what they’re good at.”
Dittmer said despite battling weather and conflicting schedules, which have made it nearly impossible to get the entire team together at one time, his athletes are ready for the season.
And the Kitsap County Classic was the first opportunity for many of Dittmer’s athletes to showcase their abilities.
“For many of our kids, it will be their first track meet and that alone makes it exciting,” Dittmer said before the meet.
“He’s been encouraging, teaching us different things,” said junior Brett Anderson, whose goal for the season is to break his own personal records.
“He pays attention to the little things,” Anderson added of Dittmer’s coaching style.
And while Anderson and other KW tracksters will seek to improve personal-best times, team leaders Irene Moore and Lakeisha Nilles, among others, are expected to compete for state medals.
Moore finished fifth in the 300-meter hurdles at the state competition last year with a time of 47.8 seconds and also joined the fifth-place 100-relay team en route to a school-record time of 52.42.
Nilles, now a senior, captured the state 2B championship in the javelin last year and appears ready to compete for another crown this year.
“I look for Lakeisha to have another great year,” Dittmer said. “The javelin is a strange event with many factors that can influence a throw. We are praying for a healthy season and another chance to stand on the podium in Cheney.”
Nilles’ winning javelin throw last year was 125-feet, 10-inches.
Dittmer said most of the athletes returning from last year’s squad have stepped up during spring practices, offering leadership to the younger players.
“I could go on and on,” Dittmer said of his athletes’ gamesmanship. “I’ve been impressed with their desire.”
Win or lose, Dittmer wants to see hard work.
“The standard expectation I have is to do your best,” he said.
Today’s meet is an all-day-long event, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and run through mid-evening at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
Bremerton, Central Kitsap, North Kitsap, South Kitsap, Olympic, Bainbridge, Kinston and Klahowya will join King’s West in competition.