Warriors run away with girls team title in Panther Relays, boys take 3rd at team's first meet

The Del Norte track and field teams saw their first interscholastic competition of the year on Saturday with a trip to the Panther Relays.

The girls team dominated the ten-team meet, taking first place with a team score of 100 points. Second place Arcata and third place Eureka combined for just 106 team points.

"We aren't surprised by the girls at all, just pleased with their performance," said Del Norte head coach Samuel Escobar. "Of course, that gets them excited for the whole season. They are stoked now."

There were eight teams competing in the boys competition and the Warriors came in third. Del Norte's score of 68 put them five behind Arcata and 30 behind team-champion McKinleyville.

"We were pleasantly surprised with our boys," Escobar said. "They were consistently solid throughout the day. They didn't win any specific events, but they maintained good performances throughout the day."

The Del Norte girls were led by a powerful relay quartet of Maddie Critz, Rachel Rowe, Maddison Smedley and Kayla Costello.

Together, those four finished first in the 4x100 meter relay, the 4x200 meter relay and the Swedish relay.

"Last year, a similar group of kids beat them in everything," Escobar said. "They came in second. But this year, the closest competitor wasn't within half a second of them in any single race. That is a huge difference from where they were last year to now, and also where they are this year in the league."

Costello and Critz also ran in the shuttle hurdle relay, which also took first place. They edged out teammates Jordan Babich and Emily Holt,who took second place in the event.

The girls also got second place finishes from Rowe in the high jump and Samantha Gonzales in the high jump. Grace Bruschi finished third in the shotput.

The Del Norte girls also finished third in the 4x110 yard relay and fourth in the 4x800 and the distance medley.

"All these kids provide valuable points at the end of the season," Escobar said. "We will have girls that are studs and competing for league championships, but you need the third, fourth and fifth place finishes to win as a team."

The boys track team showed a lot of improvement from last year at their first meet.

"Our times were a lot better than they were last year, even at the end of the year," Escobar said. "There is a lot of room for improvement because it is early in the season, but it says that we have some solid performers that are going to help out the team a lot throughout the year."

Escobar used the 4x100 meter relay team of Cameron Cain, David Sathe, Anthony Jackson and Chad Bell as an example of that improvement. The relay finished third overall, with a time of 46.23 seconds - 0.89 seconds faster than they ran at the H-DN league finals last year.

The Warriors will be back on the track today at the Brookings-Harbor Icebreaker.

"What is nice about Brookings, is that they are all individual races, with the exception of the relay teams," Escobar said. "Now we will get to see how they do on their own."