Knights send few to state

Monica Anderson takes her athletic training so seriously, her older sister Angela recently complained she loves pole vaulting more than she loves her.

Anderson, a senior at Bremerton High, advanced to the 4A state championships as a pole vaulter this weekend in Pasco after winning the Narrows League pole vault title on May 8 in Bremerton. She also finished third at the West Central District meet May 15 in Tacoma.

Her success sounds like an athlete whose honed her skills for many year, but Anderson just started the sport last year, training with her dad, John, at Bremerton High.

She is one of only four athletes at the school who are participating in the state tournament this weekend for spring sports.

“She is probably the hardest working athlete I’ve ever had,” Knights’ track coach Lloyd Pugh said. “She runs and she does everything she needs to do without complaining. I couldn’t ask for a finer young lady.”

Anderson sets up the pole vault apparatus with her dad on every day the Knights don’t have a meet after school, practicing all aspects of the sport.

“She sticks with it,” John Anderson said. “I don’t think she’s had one practice where things have gone right for her.”

Anderson started the year vaulting 9 foot, 6 inches in the air, but got 11 feet at the Pasco Invitational a few weeks before the season ended.

“Her heights went down after that,” John Anderson said. “A week before the league meet she got last place.”

Anderson is impressed with his daughter’s resolve to come back and make such a strong showing at the league and district tournament.

Unfortunately, Anderson doesn’t consider her state medaling chances too great.

“I want to get 12 feet,” said Anderson, adding that some state vaulters can leap 12 feet, 6 inches.

One of the reasons Anderson is tough and determined probably is because of fighting over a single bathroom in their parents house among her 10 brothers and sisters.

“It’s fun,” she said, referring to living in such a large family. “There’s always someone to play with.”

Her average routine, which is performed a couple times per week, consists of practice at 3 p.m., pole-vault work at 4 p.m. and weight lifting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s a worthwhile effort for Anderson.

• Besides Anderson, teammate Lih Kuhlman has advanced to state in the two-mile race.

“She ran 11 minutes 26 seconds (at district’s),” said Pugh. “If she can get 11 minutes 15 seconds or better that’s what it will take to win a spot. She’s pretty fit.”

The other two Bremerton athletes headed to state are Joel Trudel and Iliana Petrova, the No. 1-ranked boys and girls tennis players for the Knights.

Their tennis tournament is held at University and Central Valley High Schools in Spokane.

To prepare for the tournament, which likely will be played outside, Trudel and Petrova practiced on the outdoor courts Monday and Tuesday at the Bremerton Tennis and Athletic Club.

Trudel took second place in districts after losing to Decatur’s Joe Rice in the finals, 6-4, 6-0.

“I didn’t play very good,” Trudel said.

Even though Trudel wasn’t satisfied with his finals performance, he smashed the defending Class 4A state champion from Hudson Bay, Spencer Mendoza, 6-2, 6-3, in the semifinals.

“It was great for him to beat Spencer,” Bremerton coach Ursula Huhta said. “I think that was something that he looked forward to doing.”

Trudel is riding high into his first state match after the Mendoza match.

He called it the best he had played in months.

Trudel played his first match yesterday at 8:30 a.m. against Juan Montaivo of Central Valley in Spokane.

To win state, Trudel must win four matches during the two days of the tournament.

For Petrova — a senior headed to North Central Texas Junior College in late August on a full-ride athletic scholarship — her first round of competition came in the form of Anna Gullickson of Lewis and Clark high school.

If Petrova won her first two matches on Friday, she would face South Kitsap’s Stephanie Davison today at 8:30 a.m.

If Petrova or Trudel lose, they still can work their way through the consolation bracket to a third-place finish.

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