'Clearly getting better'

Written by Michael Zogg, The Triplicate January 16, 2014 12:26 pm

Del Norte freshman Willie Gensaw, pictured above at the Battle at the Boarder at Del Norte High School, won his first-ever high school championship on Saturday at 106 pouds in Eureka.
Del Norte freshman Willie Gensaw, pictured above at the Battle at the Boarder at Del Norte High School, won his first-ever high school championship on Saturday at 106 pouds in Eureka. Triplicate file photo
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The walls of the Thunen Gymnasium are about to become a little bit more grey.

Del Norte high school recently received word that its athletic teams earned not one, but two North Coast Section Scholastic Championship Team Awards this fall from the California Interscholastic Federation.

Both the football team and volleyball team received the award, which is presented to the top three NCS varsity teams in every sport, in each division. Recipients must also have a composite GPA of 3.0 or above.

The football team proved its athletic prowess with a surprise run to the NCS Division 4 semifinal game. Del Norte head football coach Ray Rook was just as excited to see their academic accomplishment recognized.

“It’s kind of like winning a championship for the teachers,” he said.

“I think it is stressed schoolwide, within every department and with every teacher,” Del Norte athletic director Bob Hadfield said. “Part of the challenge of being an athlete is that you have to maintain a certain GPA in order to continue to be in athletics. So when you can receive a banner for scholastic achievement throughout the entire team, that is really impressive. It is stressed daily in the practices and by each coach.”

Volleyball coach Pablo Lorenzi said that it was a team goal this season to earn the award.

“We are pretty proud of them,” Lorenzi said. “We didn’t accomplish everything that we wanted to, but we came really close to doing everything that we wanted to do. We got a part of the league championship, we placed well at every single tournament that we placed in, which was a really big step for us, and then the scholastic award really tops it off. These girls really did have a great year.”

Each member of both the football and the volleyball teams will receive a certificate and the school has been awarded two more grey pennants to put on the walls.

Thunen Gym already has 26 Scholastic Championships displayed in the gymnasium. The 2013 pennant will be the fourth for the football program, which previously won three years in a row, from 2005-07. The volleyball team has five, also all in a row from 2001-05.

Lorenzi believes that it is a particularly impressive accomplishment for Del Norte kids.

“With where we are located, it is extremely difficult for any sport to achieve what they have achieved,” Lorenzi said.

All of Del Norte’s athletic teams have to travel long distances to play games. Lorenzi pointed out his volleyball team had it particularly rough this fall.

“This year, the volleyball team put almost 4,000 miles in as far as travel is concerned,” Lorenzi said. “We play on Tuesday and Thursdays during the week and we are out late on those nights. Then we go to tournaments on the weekend and are gone Friday through Saturday. It just speaks to the character of these girls.They basically set a goal and went out and achieved it.”

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