Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Bell, Laney and Bruder shine for Warriors Friday

At the Humboldt-Del Norte Pre-County meet in McKinleyville on Friday, the goal was two-pronged: 

Finish among the top eight in your event and advance to the HDN All-County Meet next week in Fortuna, or finish in the top six and qualify for the Redwood Empire meet in Santa Rosa, a preliminary step toward the California Interscholastic Federation state track meet.

Ten Del Norte track and field athletes turned in top-six finishes in at least one event Friday, with another four athletes recording top-eight finishes. The Warriors' girls' 400-meter and 1,600-meter relays and the boys' 400-meter relay also qualified for both meets.

"It turned out to be a great meet," Del Norte coach Samuel Escobar

said. "There were some great performances on the boys' side. For the

girls, (it was a chance) to see how they'd do against Arcata for the

league championship."

So far, so good for the girls. The Warriors accumulated 137 points,

12 more than runner-up Arcata. Fortuna (75 points), Eureka (74) and

McKinleyville (64) recorded top-five team finishes.

The Del Norte boys scored 37.5 points, enough for fifth place at the

Pre-County meet. Fortuna was crowned team champion with 149 points,

followed by McKinleyville (135.83 points), Arcata (80) and Eureka (61).

Freshman Chad Bell punched tickets in four different individual

events, the most for any Warrior boy. Bell won the long jump with a

personal-best leap of 19 feet, 8.5 inches and finished fourth in the

100-meter dash (12.06 seconds), the 200-meter dash (a personal-best

24.82 seconds) and the high jump (clearing 5 feet, 8 inches).

"Chad manned up in the (100) and the (200)," Escobar said. "I was

surprised at how quick he was."

Adan Rodriguez cleared 10 feet even in the pole vault, racking up

third-place points for Del Norte, and Victor Martinez took third place

in the 110-meter hurdles (18.72) and eighth place in the 300-meter

hurdles (50.69).

Freshman Samuel Aragones also "manned up," in Escobar's words, taking

fifth place in the long jump (18-1.75) and seventh place in the triple

jump (35-8).

For the Del Norte girls, Morgan Laney (shot put, discus) and Kylee

Bruder (high jump, pole vault) recorded wins in two individual events.

Laney threw for a personal record in the discus (100-8) and maintained a

consistent mark of 37-10.5 in the shot put.

"She stepped up (in the discus)," Escobar said. "For us, we hope that

happens next week."

Jennifer Goacher won the 200 (27.03), took runner-up honors in the

100 (13.15) and secured a third-place finish in the high jump (4-8) - an

off-event for the senior standout.

"Jenny had a horrible start in the (100)," said Escobar. "She was

pissed. She more than made up for it in the 200."

Katelynn Rowe teamed up with Goacher, Bruder and Kayla Costello to

win a come-from-behind race in the 400-meter relay (51.25) and then won

400 (1:02.07), overcoming a bout of shin splints. Costello was Rowe's

runner-up in the 400 (1:04.38); Hannah Pickerall, Guadalupe Gonzalez and

Ali Joy also picked up points by finishing sixth, seventh and eighth,


"The 400 was a crucial race," Escobar said, "for going head-to-head

with Arcata." Arcata enjoyed a 3-4-5 finish in that race.

Pickerall (high jump, third), Gonzalez (800m, fifth) and Joy (long

jump, sixth) each hit a Redwood Empire qualifying position in another

event. Rowe (second at 100 hurdles, third at 300 hurdles) and Costello

(third at 100 hurdles, fourth at 300 hurdles) continued their strong

season in the two hurdles races.

In addition to Laney, senior Breanna Wakefield and sophomore Kira

Standring had strong performances in the throws. Wakefield finished

third in the shot put and fifth in the discus throw; Standring was

seventh in the discus throw and eighth in the shot put.

To Escobar, one of the highlights of the day was the combined effort

of senior Lauren Trujillo and freshman Crystal Clower. Both were asked

to fill in in the 100 hurdles with a week of practice to learn the

event. Trujillo qualified for the All-County Meet with an eighth-place


Both Clower and Trujillo then joined up in the 1,600 relay to help

secure an advancement for Del Norte. The Warriors' relay team finished

in fourth place (4:49.75).

"We were proud of them," Escobar said.

Pressed into action, they survived.

And Del Norte advances.

Reach Robert Husseman at