Most Del Norters that are fairly new to our area probably associate the name Hemmingsen with the construction business or maybe with local politics. Old Warrior fans look at the name in a totally different light.
Gerry Hemmingsen, while he is in the construction business and is a member of the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, is better remembered by old Warrior fans for his exploits in blue and gold athletics. Gerry graduated with the class of 1970. While a Warrior he excelled in both football and wrestling. He played football under coach Dale Thomas and wrestled for coach Ron Kunstal.
I had the privilege of talking to both of Gerry’s coaches. Coach Thomas’ last comment to me was “I could talk all day about Gerry. He was one of those real special young men.”
Ron Kunstal had some fun stories about this young man’s wrestling career. He said as a freshman and sophomore Gerry was in the gymnastics program and became a very good gymnast. Gerry was a big, strong, well-built individual that wrestled at 194 pounds and had a very different warm-up routine. He would do front and back flips and other gymnastic stunts.
His warm-up performances intimidated opponents to the point that their coaches would have to push them onto the mat. Ron said Gerry was like a man among boys and had such great character that he was just fun to have on the team.
In football Gerry was moved to the varsity as a sophomore. He was an outstanding running back right from the start but suffered a knee injury against Fortuna during his sophomore year.
He returned during his junior and senior years and established the career rushing record for the Warriors. Coach Thomas said Gerry had good speed but did not like to run around an opponent, he much preferred to run over them. On the field he was a tough young man, but off the field he was the kind of person that would make any father and mother proud. Next week I will cover Gerry’s post-graduate career. He is a multi-talented individual.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.