Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

If Del Norte High head track and field coach Samuel Escobar has his way, the Warriors will survive and advance from today's Humboldt-Del Norte League Qualifier meet, held at Del Norte High School.

"We want kids to be safe in terms of their relay exchanges and safe in terms of not scratching on their jumps or their attempts in the field events," Escobar said. "Any type of disqualification just keeps them from going forward."

What lies ahead: Berths to the Humboldt-Del Norte League Championships - the White Star meet - on May 10 at Fortuna High School for the top eight placers in each event. The top six placers will be eligible to compete at the Redwood Empire Area Track and Field Championships, to be held at Santa Rosa High School on May 18.

The Qualifier meet will test the mettle of Del Norte's many first-year track and field athletes who are unaccustomed to running, jumping and throwing with such large stakes in play.

Junior David Sathe, a wide receiver and cornerback on the Del Norte football team, joined the track team this season for extra conditioning work and found a home in the 800 meters.

"It's a lot harder than you think," Sathe said. "It helps because I can actually run pretty good distances. I can accelerate and decelerate when I need to."

Sathe bettered his 800 times in four consecutive races earlier this season and has shaved 30 seconds off his time from the beginning of the season. His personal-best of 2:09.53 places him seventh in the HDN League, on the cusp of White Star meet and Redwood Empire meet berths.

Sathe has picked up valuable information from what seems at its face to be an unlikely source: His competitors in the middle distances.

"They know I'm a first-year guy," Sathe said. "They've given me tips along the way."

Tips he may be able to use to beat the competition.

Reach Robert Husseman at