Community Sports

Sports Beat | GH boys, Peninsula girls score track and field wins

Posted on March 28th, 2024 By:

Track and field season is upon us and athletes from both local schools will vie for league, district and state championships in May. The Tides, Seahawks and Central Kitsap Cougars met for a three-team meet on March 22 at Gig Harbor.

The Gig Harbor boys team, coached by Kevin Eager, dominated the sprinting portion of the meet and won with a score of 77.5. Peninsula accumulated 45 points and Central Kitsap trailed with 38.5 points.

On the girls side, coach Dylan Hall’s Seahawks dominated the field events to defeat a Tides team that doesn’t lose South Sound Conference meets very often. The Peninsula girls accumulated 83.5 points to the Tides’ 73.5 and the Cougars’ 38.5.

Peninsula makes a jump

The girls meet featured a fantastic race between state standouts in the 800 meters, which is two full laps around the Gig Harbor track. Tides sophomore Lejla Carlsson and Seahawks junior Elektra Higgins were stride for stride coming towards the finish line. Carlsson crossed first to earn a thrilling victory by just o.32 seconds, 2:17.49 for Carlsson and 2:17.81 for Higgins. Gig Harbor junior Taylor Sletner was a close third at 2:19.43.

The biggest story for the Peninsula girls team has been their jumpers. The Seahawks have five of the top 10 high jump marks in the SSC, including the top two from Emma Young and Anne Shipp.

Peninsula has six of the top 10 marks in the SSC in the long jump, including the top leap by Emma Krueger. Peninsula also has four of the top 10 triple jumps in the SSC, including the league’s best by Young.

Peninsula jumping coach Jack Harry may deserve to jump up the pay scale as his competitors supplied the points that ultimately decided the meet in their favor against the Tides and Cougars.

GH boys dominate sprints

On the boys side, the Tides have speed to burn. They turned in the top seven times in both the 100 and 200 meters in last week’s meet. And that was without the services of Ben Stevens, the defending league champion in both events, who was a scratch for this meet. Senior speedster Ayden Fink ran a 11.26 in the 100 meters and was chased by sophomore DJ Darling’s 11.38 and Matthew Ehler’s 11.81.

Fink won the 200 meters with a 22.51 to Ehlers’ 23.61, while Ryland Geldermann posted a 24.14 for third place.

Other event winners on the boys side:

• Gig Harbor’s Jonathan Miles won the 400 in 52.03

• The Tides’ Preston Fradet won the 800 in 1:58.97, just .08 quicker than Miles.

• Freshman Jack Greer of Gig Harbor won the 3,200 meters and the Seahawks swept the top spots in the 1,600 meters: Cooper Leavengood was first in 4:45, Joshua Cashion second in 4:45.30 and Gavin Hendrickson third in 4:55.84.

Peninsula senior Lola Sweet won the 1,600 meter race during a recent meet against Gig Harbor and Central Kitsap. Photo courtesy Peninsula High track and field.

Girls rack up multiple wins

In the girls meet, Gig Harbor sophomore Karin Heikkila won the 100 meter dash, 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles.

Peninsula’s Suri Sardinia won the shot put with a toss of 26 feet, 8.5 inches and the discus with a throw of 100 feet, four inches. Lydia Ward, the Tides’ reigning javelin bronze medalist at state in 2023, won her event with an explosive throw of 108 feet, four.

Gig Harbor and Peninsula will battle it out head to head during a dual meet set for 3:30 p.m. April 4 at GHHS.

Tides golf team is ‘fire’

The Gig Harbor boys golf team looked like state championship contenders during a 5-0 throttling of Central Kitsap at Madrona Links on March 27.

Theo Snyder, Gig Harbor’s top-seeded golfer, was two strokes under par as he approached the tee box on the 182-yard sixth hole. The elevated green is protected by a deep bunker on the left, with trees and a grass bunker on the right.

The hole requires a straight tee shot and Snyder’s beauty landed short of the green by 10 feet. He casually pulled out his 60 degree wedge and hit a one-hop flop shot that bounced once and dropped in the hole from 35 feet out for a birdie. A stunned Central Kitsap competitor said “this guy is absolute fire” as Snyder pulled the ball out of the cup.

Snyder, who starred at a Pebble Beach pro am this summer and qualified for PGA Junior National events, was fire all day. He finished with a two-under 34 on the Madrona Links’ tight front nine to take overall honors.

Chet West of Gig Harbor led his team to a fourth-place finish at state last year. Photo by Dennis Browne.

His playing partner, senior Chet West, can go low, too. He was second at the Class 3A state meet after day one last year and led his team to a fourth-place state finish.

West fired a 37 against the Cougars on a soggy day using a pre-shot routine that is as impressive as his golf shots. He is a mechanical player who takes multiple practice swings, always checks the wind by throwing grass in the air and displays a focused approach to every shot. In Snyder and West, head coach Shane Henderson may have the state’s best one-two punch.

“We have the capability to win a state title for sure,” West said. “Our top five is just perfect right now and I feel like we have a solid chance to do it.”

West said of Snyder: “Oh, he’s a rock star. He is so robotic, I love playing with him. Last year we battled it out and I kind of won but he’s been playing all summer and he’s the better golfer now.”

But when reminded that he is also a favorite for an individual state title the competitive West smiled and said, “I’m gonna try my best … I really like Theo but I’m not conceding anything, no sir.”

Junior and third-seeded Liam Dalbec fired a 38. How good is Dalbec? In his last match he laid down a 33 with an eagle against Yelm. Fourth-seeded Davis Dansie, a smooth junior with plenty of power, shot a 40 versus Central Kitsap while Parker Bare, the fifth seed, shot a four-over 39, for a total of 188 versus the Cougars.

The Tides’ next big test will be against Bellarmine Prep. The Lions have won 10 boys state team titles. That match will be played at 3 p.m. April 8 at Fircrest Country Club in Tacoma and should be a dandy.

Top Seahawks singles player remains unbeaten

Peninsula’s No. 1 tennis singles player, McKenna Baurichter, remained undefeated on the season despite her team’s 3-2 loss to Yelm on March 26.

Baurichter defeated her Tornadoes opponent, 6-4, 6-2. The No. 3 doubles team of senior Audrey Bauml and junior McKinley Stalker provided the Seahawks’ other victory with a 7-5, 7-6 win.

McKenna Baurichter remained unbeaten on the season after defeating a Yelm player. Photo by Bryce Carithers.

Baurichter combined a steady serve and even ground strokes to win her match in blustery conditions. The sophomore got to almost every ball and returned them until her opponent became impatient and committed unforced errors.

Several rallies lasted over 25 combined strikes, with the patient Baurichter winning most of them. She peppered the back line with deep shots that kept her opponent off the net and frustrated through out the match.

Lindsay Kilcup returns a serve for Peninsula’s No. 1 doubles team. Photo by Bryce Carithers.

The Seahawks certainly have one of the most inspirational players that I have ever watched in senior Lindsay Kilcup, who plays tennis with a prosthetic right hand. Kilcup, born missing part of her hand, overcame the handicap to become a fine player on Peninsula’s No. 1 doubles team.

Serving in tennis is difficult enough to turn many talented athletes away from the sport for good but Kilcup does it with one hand with power and proper placement. She hits her ground strokes with pace and is very effective at the net, where she ended many rallies by using her quick feet and aggression to poach across the middle and hit cross-court winners.

Kilcup pairs with the energetic Margaux Mayer to form one of the top doubles teams in the area.

“Lindsay is amazing,” Peninsula assistant coach Britt Mayer said. “She’s extremely athletic, super positive, always a ray of sunshine and loved by all. We’re so lucky to have her.”

The Seahawks play at Gig Harbor at 3:30 p.m. April 3 for a match that will feature Baurichter versus Gig Harbor ace Lauren Pitt.

Soccer teams lurking in league race

The Gig Harbor boys soccer team (2-2 overall and South Sound Conference) lost to Timberline 2-0 on March 26 at Roy Anderson Field. The Tides had more shots on goal and controlled the ball for much of the game, with several near misses at the net.

Timberline remained in first place in the South Sound Conference with a 4-0 league record. Gig Harbor likely cannot afford another league loss if the Tides hope to retain the SSC title they won in 2023.

Jack Learned leads the Tides in scoring with nine goals and four assists, followed by Tyler Dull (five goals and five assists) and Caleb Gilbert (four goals and four assists).

Peninsula (2-3, 2-2 SSC) is also in the thick of the SSC race after their recent wins over Capital (3-2) and Yelm (1-0). The Seahawks are adjusting to new coach Chia Neil, who was hired after Ozer Kocdemir departed at the end of last season.

The Seahawks host River Ridge at 7 p.m. March 28 before traveling to Lacey for a big matchup against Timberline on April 2. The Seahawks and Tides face off at 7 p.m. April 4.

Gig Harbor sophomore Henry Blake against Timberline. Photo by Bryce Carithers.

PHS prevails in lacrosse

Peninsula won the boys lacrosse rivalry match against Gig Harbor, 10-7, on March 22.

Seahawk leading scorer Robby Akulchin scored six goals while Peninsula got a fine game from goalie Tyler Givot, who had 12 saves. Akulchin currently leads the Puget-Pierce 3A league with 12 goals.