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Updated 3:46pm - Apr 15, 2014

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Battle at the Border set for Saturday The 2013 high school wrestling season gets under way Saturday,

Battle at the Border set for Saturday

The 2013 high school wrestling season gets under way Saturday, and all eyes are on Crescent City.

Wrestlers from as many as 16 high schools from Northern California and Southern Oregon will meet up at Del Norte High School for the annual Battle at the Border tournament hosted by the Warriors.

Del Norte fans will have a chance to catch a rare glimpse of the Warriors at home as the team kicks off its season. Weigh-ins start at 8 a.m. and wrestling begins at 10 a.m. The tournament will last nearly all day, with the final round estimated to start around 5-6 p.m.

Del Norte will not wrestle at home again until Jan. 10, when it hosts a dual meet against Arcata. The Warriors will also host McKinleyville in a dual on Jan. 15.

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Reel Deal: Early steelhead a good sign

Read more...Rainstorms earlier this week did not noticeably change the amount of fresh salmon in the Smith River, causing anglers to admit that it’s more or less time to switch over to steelhead fishing for the Smith.

But indications for a strong steelhead season are good, with many half-pounders reported to be in the system after the week’s rain.

Smith River

Tim Reichlin caught one keeper salmon ranging from 25 to 28 pounds on Tuesday. It was not a fresh-from-the-ocean fish, “but it was an eater, not a smoker,” said Don Vecchetti, of Reel Time Guide Service.

The pair caught a couple other spawned-out salmon that they let go, and then spent the rest of the time targeting steelhead.

“Personally I think salmon is about done,” said Vecchetti, adding that he was fully switching over to steelhead. Although they only caught one small adult steelhead, “the half-pounder action was nice and that seems to be a good prelude to the steelhead season.”

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Girls open season with 56-50 win

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Sophomore guard Regin Loftin chases after a loose ball in the first half of Del Norte’s season opening victory. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Del Norte girls basketball team pulled out a 56-50 victory over St. Bernard’s on Wednesday in Thunen Gymnasium in Jeff Cook’s varsity head coaching debut.

“It was ugly, but it was a win,” Cook said. “There is still a lot that we need to go over, there was a lot that we didn’t go over that I realized during the game, but they played through it.”

One of the main things that impressed Cook about his team was the hustle and determination shown by Del Norte throughout the game.

“They are going to play hard,” Cook said. “They did exactly what I wanted and a little bit more since we haven’t had that much time to practice together yet. I am happy with it.”

The Warriors led for nearly the entire game. Junior Grace Bruschi got off to a hot start, scoring seven points in the first quarter and helping Del Norte out to a 14-13 lead. In the second quarter, junior Kayla Costello caught fire, scoring the first seven points of the quarter as the Warriors expanded their lead to 34-24.

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DN has potential

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Sophomore Regin Loftin. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
They are tall, athletic and deep.

The 2013 Del Norte girls basketball team has 11 players on the roster and all of them could have an opportunity to contribute meaningful minutes this season. With a new head coach and several new players, however, there are more questions than answers about the Warriors heading into the season.

Jeff Cook is taking over the varsity from Mike Ernest. Cook has been coaching basketball for the last 10 years, including the last four as the Del Norte boys JV coach. This will be his first varsity head coaching job.

“From what I have heard, it really hasn’t been that successful of a program, so I am coming into this open-minded,” Cook said. “It looks like I have athletic girls. I know all of them from other sports, but I don’t know how they are in basketball because I didn’t get to watch them much last year.”

Last season the girls had their most successful season in a while. They finished with their most wins in four years and a 10-12 overall record. They were 1-7 in the Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5, getting Del Norte’s first league win in two years.

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Back in California

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Former Del Norte volleyball player Ashley Owen, number 9, has settled into a leadership role in her first year at Humboldt State. Photos courtesy of Humboldt State University
Ex-Warrior Ashley Owens has returned to the North Coast and is killing it for the Lumberjacks

2010 Del Norte High graduate Ashley Owen seems to have finally found her college home.

Owen was a three-year letter winner at Del Norte and earned a White Star as a junior and an honorable mention White Star as a senior for the Warriors volleyball team. Del Norte won Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 league titles all three years Owen played varsity.

Since high school, the 6-foot-3 outside hitter played a year of volleyball at American River College in Sacramento. Owen earned second-team all-conference honors as a freshman for the Beavers and caught the eye of Division I Indiana State.

Owen spent a season playing in the Mississippi Valley Conference, appearing in 11 matches with two starts for the Sycamores. She recorded 27 kills on 101 attack attempts to go along with 10 digs and 12 blocks.

“I went to American River because I wanted to play volleyball again,” Owen said. “I got recruited to Indiana State from there and I learned a lot in Indiana, but I just really wanted to be closer to home.” 

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Warriors fall 1 point short in semis

Postseason run ends with 21-20 loss to Fortuna

The kick was low and a little to the right, but Fortuna’s point after attempt on its third touchdown snuck just over the crossbar and inside the right upright to give the Huskies a 21-20 lead. 

“I thought he had missed it,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow told the Fortuna radio broadcast after the game.

That ended up being all Fortuna needed to pull off its 12th straight victory over Del Norte on Friday night in the semifinals of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs.

The No. 11 Warriors surprised the NCS by winning two road playoff games, but the magic finally ran out against Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 rival No. 2 Fortuna.

“We played so hard. I am so proud of this team,” said Del Norte head coach Ray Rook. “They did a monumental job of coming down here and competing like they did against a great Fortuna team.”

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Reel Deal: Early steelhead a good sign

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Nathaniel Patterson, 10, of Redding, holds his first ever steelhead, caught Friday on the Chetco River while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. Courtesy of Wild Rivers Fishing
It’s nice when relatives come visit for the holidays and Del Norte — located in California’s only rainforest — is actually getting loads of sunshine.

Unless, of course, you’re a fishermen.

The unseasonably dry fall has made salmon fishing opportunities in coastal rivers few and far between. 

Chetco River

Steelhead have been on the bite in the Chetco River much earlier than usual, a welcome surprise with salmon fishing being slow.

“When you have early steelhead, that’s the sign of a big run,” said guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.

He was fishing Friday afternoon with 10-year-old Nathaniel Patterson, of Redding, who was visiting grandparents in Crescent City for Thanksgiving when they  treated him to a fishing trip on the Chetco. His boat hooked six steelhead and landed five, including adults, half-pounders and super half-pounders.

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Gordi Bras still on top

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The Warriors’ Lauren Byers, right, surveys the field ahead of her as she chases down a loose ball in front of Kate Wilkinson of Tight Lines. The Warriors won 3-0 to secure third place in the adult women’s soccer league. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
The Gordi Bras have become a fixture at the top of the adult women’s soccer league in Crescent City.

Players say they can’t even remember exactly how many championships they have won in a row. But the 2013 championship was a little bit different.

For one thing, it was the first time the league played outside rather than indoors.

“It is a lot slower-paced,” said Gordi Bras midfielder Kristie Gavin. “You have to slow down a little to move the ball, and talk and communicate more. That was probably the biggest difference for me.”

Another major difference was that this year, the Gordi Bras were the underdogs. The defending champions won just one of six games in the regular season and ended up as the lowest seed in the five-team league.

Once the playoffs arrived, Gordi Bras went right back to their winning ways. 

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HDN Middle School jamboree

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Crescent Elk eighth grader Payten Healy goes strong to the basket against a defender from Zane (Eureka). Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Humboldt and Del Norte middle school teams gather for round robin on Saturday

Middle school girls basketball teams from around Del Norte and Humboldt counties met in Crescent City on Saturday for a round robin-style competition.

Crescent Elk, Redwood, McKinleyville and Zane from Eureka all sent an eighth grade and a seventh grade team to the round robin. Winship in Eureka sent only a seventh grade team and Smith River had just an eighth grade team.

It was a day full of difficult competition for the young players.

The Crescent Elk eighth grade team kick off the tournament against Zane. The Cougars were 12-1 coming into the tournament with their only loss coming at the hands of Zane in a championship game earlier in the season. Crescent Elk had previously beaten Zane in a different tournament championship.

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Warriors continue to win in playoffs

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Warriors junior running back Chad Bell exploded for 5 touchdowns in Del Norte’s 34-7 victory over Healdsburg in the quarterfinals. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Bell scores 5 touchdowns in 36-7 route of Healdsburg

The 11th-seeded Del Norte High football team pulled off another shocker in the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs with a blowout 36-7 victory on the road Saturday night over No. 3 Healdsburg.

“The kids just executed the game plan that the coaching staff put together,” said Del Norte head coach Ray Rook. “Things came together for us and we scored a few touchdowns and our defense played off-the-hook again. It was just a good all-around game.”

After two rounds of the NCS playoffs the Warriors, who few picked to make it out of the first round, seem to be playing their best football of the season. 

“It is a good feeling,” said senior running back and safety Dylan Pease. “We had high expectations coming into the season, and we have had kind of a disappointing regular season, finishing 4-6 with a losing record. I think we are peaking at the right time though, and it is a great feeling. Everyone just kind of knew when to turn it on, so to speak.”

One of the major factors in the Warriors’ surge has been the defense. Del Norte has surrendered just 13 points through the first two rounds. On Saturday, the Greyhounds gained just 199 yards of total offense with only 18 rushing yards.

“We just tackled well and played good, hard-nosed defense,” Rook said. “The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and allowed the linebackers to flow and make tackles. David Sathe and Austin Healy covered really well with Dylan playing behind them, and Healdsburg had no answer for that.”

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