Warriors girls win league title, boys take 5th
Del Norte track and field coach Samuel Escobar outlined two goals for the Warriors’ girls team in preparation for Friday’s Humboldt-Del Norte All-County Meet in Fortuna.
Del Norte freshman Chad Bell won the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and the long jump (19 feet, 4 inches) at the Humboldt-Del Norte All-County Meet in Fortuna on Friday. The Warriors girls won their third straight league title; the Warriors boys finished fifth as a team. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
The first: meeting or exceeding past marks in their events. The second: winning the league title.
Five Del Norte athletes and the girls’ 400-meter relay team combined to take home eight individual championships —known as “White Stars” — and the Warriors’ girls won the team championship, racking up 134 points to Arcata’s 120. It is the third consecutive league title won by Del Norte in girls’ track and field.
“We’re proud of them,” Escobar said. “The big guns produced, and the supporting cast more than supported.”
One of Del Norte’s big guns, senior Kylee Bruder, rode out of Fortuna with three White Stars to her name. Bruder cleared 9 feet even to win the girls’ pole vault and cleared 4–10 to secure the girls’ high jump crown. She also ran a leg of the Warriors’ 400-meter relay, which overcame a couple shaky handoffs to come out on top in 50.9 seconds (hand-timed).
“She did what she needed to do,” Escobar said.
Junior Katelynn Rowe contributed to the 400-meter relay and captured the 400-meter individual title (1:02.2, hand-timed), overcoming an enduring case of shin splints to do so. Senior Jennifer Goacher was the runner-up in the 100 (12.5, hand-timed), following up that race with a personal record and individual win in the 200 (25.6, hand-timed).
“She ran a great turn (in the 200) – she just kills the competition on the turn,” Escobar said.
Goacher also made an appearance in the high jump, clearing 4–8 for fourth-place points. In other meets, she would have participated in the Del Norte 1,600-meter relay, but Escobar made the tactical decision of spreading out his relay team into different individual events.
Freshman Kayla Costello, a White Star winner on the 400 relay, ran the 400 instead of the 1,600 relay and took second (1:03.9) to teammate Rowe. Costello produced major points for the Warriors in the hurdles as the runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles (50.6) and the fourth-place finisher in the 100 hurdles (17.2).
“That (represents) about a 20-point swing,” Escobar said. “That was what won it for us.”
Morgan Laney enjoyed a breakout meet at an opportune moment in McKinleyville. The senior won the shot put with a Del Norte High School-record throw of 39 feet, 6 inches. In the discus throw, Laney chalked up another personal record (103-5) in a third-place finish.
“She threw great marks, and that’s what she needs,” Escobar said. “It’s like a confidence booster. If she’s winning with not the best marks, she’s going to struggle.”
Sophomore Guadalupe Gonzalez turned in a personal-best 800 of 2:31.9, big points for the Warriors in an event where many girls with similar times were entered.
“We told her, ‘It is critical that you come in third,’” Escobar said. “It was definitely gutty on her part. She beat kids that she needed to beat.”
Sophomore Hannah Pickerall secured fifth-place finishes in the 400 (1:05.2) and the high jump (4-8) and joined up with Gonzalez, Crystal Clower and Lauren Trujillo on the 1,600 relay (fourth, 4:37.5). Senior Breanna Wakefield took fourth place in the discus throw (84-0.5) and fifth in the shot put (29-5.5).
Led by double-White Star winner Chad Bell, the Del Norte boys finished in fifth place overall, scoring 36 points. McKinleyville (171 points) narrowly defeated host Fortuna (170), with Arcata (50) and Eureka (44) finishing third and fourth, respectively.
The freshman Bell cleared 5-10 in the high jump and recorded a mark of 19-4 in the long jump for his two event titles. Bell added to his day with a third-place finish in the 100 (11.8) and a fourth-place finish in the 200 (24.0).
“He was a pleasant surprise,” Escobar said. “He’s progressing at a rate faster than anticipated for a freshman. He’s just maintained that level of consistency.”
Adan Rodriguez cleared 11 feet even as the runner-up in the boys’ pole vault. Victor Martinez ran the 110 hurdles in 17.8 (third) and the 300 hurdles in 48.7 (sixth), also recording a clearance of 9–6 in the pole vault (fifth).
Up next for the Warriors is the Redwood Empire meet in Santa Rosa on Friday, a pre-qualifier for the North Coast Sectional Meet of Champions.
“The kids are excited,” Escobar said. “Our expectations are high, but if (the kids) don’t move on, we’re not going to be disappointed.”
Humboldt-Del Norte All-County Champions
Del Norte girls (134 points; third consecutive league title
Kylee Bruder (high jump – 4-10; pole vault – 9-0; 400-meter relay)
Chad Bell (high jump – 5-10; long jump – 19-4)
Jennifer Goacher (200 – 25.6; 400-meter relay)
Katelynn Rowe (400 – 1:02.2; 400-meter relay)
Morgan Laney (shot put – 39-6, school record)