BREMERTON — While the Viking tracksters’ trip to the Bremerton Relays wasn’t a lucrative venture on the score sheet, Saturday’s blustery weather made it a worthwhile, tough-as-nails experience.
The sport is largely about learning how to control one’s performance, focusing on form, despite distractions in the environment. On Saturday, athletes were trying to shut out commotion from the rain, wind and cold.
“The weather was extremely difficult to throw in,” NK sophomore thrower Kelle Taplin said. “I don’t think anyone had their best performance.”
In the throwing rinks — though Jade Niemeyer hurled a front-running toss in the shot put — not many Vikings turned personal bests. But in the pole vault pit, Aaron Bilbao had a different story.
“He got his personal best in those conditions,” NK vaulting coach Bruce Swanson said in amazement after describing how the day’s precipitation had created a hassle for vaulters’ grips.
Despite the elements, Bilbao cleared 12-0 and missed 12-6 by inches on his final attempt. With the season being only four meets old, that’s an impressive place for an Viking vaulter to be, said Swanson — who has been coaching track at North since 1969.
“(In my 28 years) you can count on one hand the number of people who have been at 12-6,” Swanson said.
Bilbao said his sights are set at the 15-foot mark, which would put him in the running at the state level. And it’s a mark he believes he can get with focus on the final upper body kick of his ascension.
“That last phase where you bend in, pull up and get that extra five feet over the bar,” Bilbao said.
As a team, the Vikings are figuratively in that same position right now as practice work makes a turn from strength and conditioning building to more form-oriented focus.
“We’ve got five good days to throw hard and work technique,” Makaiwi said Monday.
Mak is the leader of a throwing cadre who is in a way anchoring both the
Viking boys and girls teams this year. At Bremerton Saturday, some of the highest placing of the day for NK came from the different rinks.
The meet format was such that scores from each team’s top three athletes were totaled, then places were given to top teams in each field event. On the track it was all relays.
In the boys’ field, North took second place in both the shot and discus. Spenser Haley, Alex Van Deen and Devin Gottschalk made up the top three NK scores for shot, while Haley, Gottschalk and Cameron White combined for the disc.
Haley had the biggest numbers of the day with a 44-0 shot and 137-09 disc.
The NK girls’ took second in shot with Niemeyer’s 34-6 mark and two good throws from Michelle Lloyd and Stacy Nold.
Lloyd and Taplin also put up solid numbers in the javelin with 90-3 and 74-4 respectively.
Elsewhere in the Lady Viking field, KC Fossum and Lindsay Kocker each leaped over 30-0 in the triple jump — 30-9.25 and 30-4 respectively. Combined with Niemeyer in the event, NK totaled more than 87-feet but came up short to Todd Beamer which totaled 88-03.5.
Beamer, Olympia, South Kitsap and Camas were the big-winning schools on the afternoon. South Kitsap boys topped the field with 75 points, while Olympia championed the girls with 110. Camas came second in each division as the Papermaker boys scored 67 and the girls totaled 78.5.
North’s boys finished sixth with 47 points while the Lady Vikings came in tied for 10th with Port Townsend .
Despite scores and times, Makaiwi said an early season meet with weather like Saturday’s should provide dividends in team building.
“Of course the bonding, I mean we’re all out there freezing together,” she said, adding, “You never know what it’s going to be like at state.”
The Vikings are thinking warm as they get ready to host their second meet of the year. Saturday North welcomes Gig Harbor, Foss and Stadium for a quad meet at the NKHS stadium.
NK top marks at the Bremerton Relays
300 Hurdles — Dylan Peterson – 47.18 seconds
4x400M — Relay Team — 3:37.96 (2nd)
Shot Put — Spenser Haley — 44-0
Discus — Haley — 137-09
Javelin — Chris Kuchman — 137-01
Pole Vault — Aaron Bilbao — 12-0
Long Jump — Michael Ferrell — 18-08
Triple Jump — Jullian McCleary — 36-10.25
Shot Put — Jade Niemeyer — 34-06
Discus — Anika Krambreger — 77-00
Javelin — Michelle Lloyd — 90-03
Triple Jump — KC Fossum — 30-09.25
Triple Jump — Lindsay Kocker — 30’04