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Stepping out of the shadows
To become the first Narrows League champion in recent memory for the Bremerton track squad, sophomore Jacki Hill had to be fast.
Hill doesnt show any signs of slowing down soon. The fourth-place finisher in the 200-meter dash last year has yet to peak this season in that event while sneaking up on everyone to win the 400 crown for the Narrows League.
Taking fourth in the 200 was a tremendous accomplishment for a ninth-grader, said Knights coach Lloyd Pugh. Thats just the way she is, she rises to the occasion.
Hill is a little disappointed that she hasnt bested her 200 time from a year ago but shes running more events than last year and the 100, 200, 400 and 4 x 100 relay are packed pretty tight together.
I think Im getting decent (200) times for being tired, she said. My 100 and 400 times are improving.
She has a friendly rivalry with Chanel James of Wilson High School, who she beat in the state final of the 200 last year, but is yet to edge her this season.
Chanel pushes me, Hill said. Anyone whos ahead of me pushes me.
Hill is also pushing to get the Knights 4 x 100 to the next level.
I want to PR in everything (in the postseason) and take the relay to state, she said of her goals.
Joining Hill on the relay are Alyssa Michaels on the first leg, Christina Lawrence on the second and Patricia Lewis and Angela Anderson alternating on the third portion while she anchors.
I call them my sisters, Hill said. Theyre fun. They all try their hardest. I think were doing pretty good. Theres a lot of changes (in the lineup) all the time but its fun and I get pumped up for it.
Hill has always had to try her hardest to keep up in an athletic family. She has four brothers, two older, two younger, and a dad whos way into sports.
So she keeps busy throughout the school year. She suited up and played a great number of minutes for the Knights junior varsity basketball team at point guard in the winter and helped a resurgent Bremerton soccer side become competitive again in the fall, with head coach Lance McCoy earning league coach of the year honors for the Lady Knights dramatic improvement. It is soccer, Hill said, that is her favorite sport.
(Other sports) help with quickness so I stay in shape all year long, she said. I really like soccer and Ive played for years.
Hill has been blazing around the track for a few years now, too. The sophomore ran in junior high and was a strong competitor in the 400 at that level. As a freshman at Bremerton High School, she wasnt exposed to the longer sprint right away.
She got a taste of the 400 in a minor meet last year, Pugh said. I always felt she could run the 400 real well, but I was not eager to pressure her into that last year.
Earning the league crown in the race this season was a thrill for both Hill and her coach.
Its wonderful to get a league championship. I think the team looks to her and identifies with her success, Pugh said. Its nice for me because I like to see the kids have success. Maybe its a verification of coaching, too. It shows maybe we are doing something right.
Pugh said Hill brings a great attitude to the track every day and keeps things loose at practice.
If she stays healthy, she can be successful in her high school career, he said. Not that she hasnt been already. Shes just a sophomore and shes already done a lot.