Eight Warriors compete at elite track meet in Grants Pass with mixed results

The select members of the Del Norte track and field team that made the trip to Grants Pass for the 65th annual Grants Pass Rotary Invitational on Saturday experienced mixed results.

"Usually we anticipate warm weather in Grants Pass this time of year, but it was actually pretty cloudy and windy," said Del Norte head coach Samuel Escobar. "There were some headwinds and swirling winds that created a little havoc."

The Warriors had eight runners qualify for the meet and all eight made the trip, but sophomore Rachel Rowe was unable to compete due to injury.

Chad Bell, Kayla Costello and Kaitlyn Clemann were the only Warriors competing in the varsity division.

Costello had a strong day with a personal best long jump of 15'8.75, good for fifth place. She also ran a season best time of 47.17 in the 300 meter hurdles for a third-place finish. Costello also finished ninth in both the 100 meter hurdles and the pole vault.

"She was disappointed in the pole vault, but she did run a season-best 300 meter hurdle time," Escobar said. "She ran competitively with the other two girls that were much faster and better than she was, but she was right with them."

Clemann finished 15th in the 100 meter hurdles.

Bell competed in the javelin and long jump. In the javelin Bell threw 165-01 feet, within three feet of his personal best, to finish fifth overall. In the long jump, Bell scratched on all but one jump and ended with his shortest jump of the season by 4 feet.

The rest of the Warriors in attendance were underclassmen, competing in the fresh/soph division.

Taking Rowe's place on the fresh/soph 4x100 meter relay team was sophomore Regin Loftin, normally a first basemen on the softball team. It was Loftin's first time competing in track since she was in eighth grade at Redwood.

"We worked on handoffs and stuff," Escobar said. "It was good that she was willing to do it. We used her because she is a good athlete and we wanted to introduce her to track. She did well anchoring our 4x100."

Maddie Critz, Maddison Smedley, Shauna Naffah and Loftin finished in third place in the fresh/soph race with a time of 53.63 seconds.

Critz also ran the fresh/soph 100 meters, where she finished fourth in 13.49 seconds and the fresh/soph 100 meter hurdles, where she took fifth with a personal best time of 17.46 seconds. Critz had to back out of the 200 meter run, however, due to a nagging injury.

Naffah also competed in the long jump, finishing sixth.

Sophomore Saige Swan competed in the fresh/soph shot put and discus. Swan finished third in the shot put with his second-best throw of the year, 38'10.5 feet.

"We are definitely pleased that we are having him peak at the right time - right before the league championship," Escobar.

In the discus, Swan was eighth with a throw of 97'07 feet.

The Del Norte track and field team will be back to full force on Friday when the Warriors head to Fortuna for the Humboldt-Del Norte County Prelims. The top eight finishers at the prelims will qualify for the HDN Finals. The top six finishers will get a chance to run at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire meet.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.