Sports

Trio leads Knights track to sub-districts.

There’s a new kid on the Bremerton track and field block — and he and a few of his buddies are beginning to bully the competition.

First-year track and field athlete Jarell Flora, who also is a member of the BHS boys basketball team, appears to be hitting his stride at just the right time along with teammates Kyle Kennedy and Stephanie Himmelsbach.

Most recently, Flora, a junior, captured individual championships in both the 200- and 400-meter races at the Olympic League track and field championships at North Mason High School to advance to tomorrow’s sub-district meet in Port Angeles. He also anchored the boys 4X100 relay to a modest seventh-place finish at the same meet.

“He has a good work ethic,” coach Lloyd Pugh said of Flora, who is listed at 6-foot-1. “It seems he has the ability to rise to the occasion.”

Flora rose to the occasion in a big way at the league meet to edge Darrious Walker of Olympic in the 200, using a last-millisecond lean to prevail with a time of 22.94 seconds to Walker’s 22.95. For Flora, the 22.94 was a personal record or “PR.”

“We always had a rivalry,” Flora said of Walker during a rain-soaked practice Tuesday. “He had a really good kick at the end and I just wanted to get a good lean because I’m a little bit taller than him.”

Flora’s win in the 200 means he is a frontrunner to win not only that event at sub-districts, but also the 400. He took the 400 at league’s in 50.82, more than two seconds faster than runner-up Tolen McGregor of North Kitsap (52.84).

Asked whether he could repeat that performance at sub-districts, Flora appeared humble yet confident.

“I hope so,” he said, grinning. “I think I can do it.”

Flora’s chances are good because he’ll face much of the same competition he did at league’s, including Walker. Between league’s and sub-districts, Flora said his plan is simply to stay focused and continue to improve.

“Just to work hard and to practice, just to be strong mentally and physically,” he said. “That’s my goal; to be top two at districts.”

Teammate Stephanie Himmelsbach, who competed in four events at the league meet and placed third or better in three, also figures to make a splash at sub-districts. The senior took second in the 300 hurdles (48.23, a PR), third in the 100 hurdles (16.71) and second in the javelin, an event she picked up at the beginning of the season, with a 102-foot toss.

“I’m really happy,” she said, looking ahead to sub-districts. “Unless I have a bad day or fall or something, then we’ll be OK.”

Both Himmelsbach and Pugh said there’s a chance Himmelsbach won’t compete in the high jump, her fourth event, at sub-districts because the turnaround between the 300 and that event might be too fast. She finished seventh in the high jump at league’s, but had little time to recover from the 300 because the events were grouped so close together.

“In the high jump, I was really tired from my 300 run so I didn’t do as well as I should have. I went up to it for the approach and my leg just gave out and I kind of fell on the bar,” she said. “If you don’t have enough recap time to do it, then a lot of times you’re out of the zone and not ready for it.”

“She’s spread pretty thin right now,” Pugh added.

She admits the 300 hurdles is her least favorite event, but also her best. She also hopes to build upon her successes in the javelin, which she is now throwing more than 100 feet with consistency despite being somewhat undersized for an event that caters to size and strength.

“It’s been good,” she said of the javelin. “I’ve been making progress and that has led me to top two in league.”

Himmelsbach’s male counterpart, sophomore Kyle Kennedy, is in position to make a return trip to state in the javelin. He won the event at league’s rather handily with a 182-08, more than 10 feet better than second-place Daniel Baker of North Mason (171-01). The 182-08 was a PR for Kennedy, who also plays football.

“He has a very good chance of winning (sub-districts),” Pugh said.

The sub-district meet begins at noon. It is a one-day event.

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