Befitting the beginning of the season, with a group of athletes new to their events, the Del Norte High track and field teams took it slow for their opening meet.
First little step: showing up to the meet. Warriors head coach Samuel Escobar had a participation list of 54 kids slated for Tuesday’s Brookings-Harbor Icebreaker meet in Brookings.
“Usually, we’ll have (some) amount of kids slated to go and at the last minute something comes up,” Escobar said. “All 54 of our kids showed up. That says something about the kids on the team.”
Next step: getting those 54 kids to compete free of expectation and worry.
“A lot of the kids, because they are freshmen and sophomores, were fearful and anxious about participating in events they were not used to,” Escobar said. “With us coaxing them into doing something out of their comfort zone, they overcame a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety. They’re learning how the track meet progresses, the sequence of events.”
From there, natural athleticism and ability took over.
The Warriors swept the boys’ and girls’ team titles and boasted individual or relay champions in 13 events at the Icebreaker.
The Del Norte boys team topped second-place Brookings-Harbor by 22 points, 135 to 113, in the team standings. Coquille (Ore.) (56 points) and Pacific (Port Orford, Ore.) (47) finished third and fourth, respectively.
The Del Norte girls ran away from Brookings-Harbor, scoring 173.5 points to the Bruins’ 105. Coquille (32 points) and Pacific (28) finished third and fourth, respectively.
“They all competed and did perform well,” Escobar said. “Nice baseline information was given to the kids — this is where they are now and where they can be at the end of the season.”
Senior Katelynn Rowe, sophomore Katelyn Costello and freshman Rachel Rowe — Katelynn’s sister — each won three events on the day.
Rowe won the 100-meter hurdles in 17.31 seconds, ahead of Costello (second, 17.55), junior Kaitlyn Clemann (third, 19.45) and sophomore Alexis Acosta (fifth, 22.18). Costello took the 300 hurdles in 49.11, six-hundredths of a second ahead of Rowe; freshman Rachel Rowe (53.76), freshman Maddie Critz (56.01) and sophomore Whitney Reitz (59.02) finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Costello and Katelynn Rowe teamed up with Critz and Rachel Rowe on Del Norte’s first-place 4x100 relay team (52.72) and also won the 4x400 relay (4:19.28) with Clemann and Rachel Rowe.
Rowe won the 100 in 13.68 seconds, ahead of fellow freshmen Critz (second, 14.08) and Shauna Naffah (fifth, 15.25) and sophomore Katelyn Eninger (fourth, 14.98).
“They pushed each other,” Escobar said of Costello and Katelynn Rowe. “Both looked good going over hurdles. Great technique, nice form. Where they are now in comparison to where they were a year ago is huge.”
Junior Guadalupe Gonzalez swept the 800 (2:43.49) and the 1,500 (2:55.57) at the Icebreaker, with Warriors freshman Karlie Scott finishing fourth in both races.
Clemann and freshman Joely Tynes tied for first place in the high jump (4 feet, 6 inches), and Tynes also earned a win in the triple jump (29-9). Clemann was the triple jump runner-up (27-0).
Reitz won the pole vault with a clearance of 6-6, with fellow sophomore Kelsi Hale-Kocinski in second place (5-6).
Kira Standring racked up two third-place finishes for the Warriors in the javelin (58-5) and discus (81-9), and Del Norte sophomore Bella Sandoval finished third in the shot put (27-3), just ahead of teammates Chuski Scott (fourth, 26-2) and Standring (fifth, 25-4). Eninger finished third in the high jump (4-2), and Naffah was the runner-up in the 200 (32.34). In the 3,000, Scott (14:26.07), Sabrina Bustamante (14:34.31) and Samantha Henkell (14:37.87) combined on a 2-3-4 finish.
Chad Bell was the lone Del Norte boy with two event wins, claiming the long jump (18-8) and high jump (5-8). Bell also finished second in the 100 (11.74) and 200 (24.32).
“He’s only gonna get better as year progresses,” Escobar said.
The Warriors had a strong showing in the middle distances. Freshman Jesus Lara won the 1,500 in 4:46.63, with teammates Victor De Los Santos (fourth, 4:52.83) and Napooi Shorty (fifth, 4:54.53) close behind. Del Norte enjoyed a 2-3-4-5 finish in the 800 with junior David Sathe (2:21.29), Shorty (2:21.55), Lara (2:21.55) and De Los Santos (2:26.29).
The Warriors benefited from second-place finishes by Omar Leal in the 3,000 (10:46.28), Dalton Alexandre in the 110 high hurdles (17.49), De Los Santos in the 300 hurdles (50.61), Shawn DeArman in the high jump (5-4), and Adan Rodriguez in the pole vault (10-6).
In the long jump, Del Norte’s Samuel Aragones (33-3.75), Daniel Standring (31-0.5), Glenn Duncan (30-8.25) and Steven Vance (30-3) finished second through fifth, respectively. Standring also finished third in the 400 (1:03.58).
Up next for the Warriors is the Panther Relays in McKinleyville on Saturday. In addition to traditional events, the Relays features sprint, distance and medley relays that are not run in championship competition.
“We put them in events they’re not used to,” Escobar said. “It’s really fun.”