The Del Norte track and field team turned in some of its best times and distances of the season on Saturday at the Prefontaine Invitational at Marshfield High School. The Warriors took a total of 23 athletes to Coos Bay, Oregon, and came home with a total of 22 new personal best marks to go along with five more season best marks at the meet.

“It is one of the first days that we haven’t had rain at a meet,” said Del Norte head coach Jason Zeigler. “It wasn’t a beautiful day, but the weather was alright. The track was really nice though. When you get into an event with that much energy, it is easy to build your energy off that. The excitement in the air at one of those invitationals is just amazing. The stands are full of kids and parents. All of the kids are upbeat, having fun, and it is just a blast for the kids.”

The Prefontaine Invitational was the largest meet so far this season for Del Norte, with a total of 33 schools in attendance. The Warriors girls scored a total of 45.83 team points to take sixth place out of 22 teams, while the Del Norte boys scored 29.5 points — good four eighth place out of 27 teams.

“There was a lot of people there,” said senior Katherine Martinez. “There were a lot of heats and a lot of schools. I was really surprised to see a team from Southern California there — that was kind of cool. I met a lot of good athletes up there.”

Martinez had perhaps the best day of any of the Warriors at Marshfield High School. Martinez took second place overall in all three of her events, while also setting or matching her personal best marks in all three. Martinez’s time of 50.20 seconds in the 300 meter hurdles was a full second faster than her previous best time in the event. She also matched her previous PR with a time of 17.05 in the 100 meter hurdles and clearing 10-foot-6 in the pole vault.

“That was kind of the first meet that I got to actually do,” she said. “All the other meets have been either raining or canceled, and I had just gotten back from two weeks of no practice before the McKinleyville meet. Matching my PRs and PRing in that meet felt good. Now all I have from now on is to go up. I’ve already met my best from last year, so now I can start climbing the ladder.”

The Del Norte boys team had a particularly good day with a total of 15 new personal records throughout the competition.

Luke King added an extra 7 inches onto his best shot put throw with a 44-4 in Coos Bay to take fifth place overall. King also had his best throw in the discus by 2½ feet with a distance of 103-6 to take 20th place.

King said invitational track meets have always been some of his favorite meets of the season.

“I really like it a lot because they take the top players from every team, so you see a lot of good competition there,” he said. “The invitationals are always a lot more fun overall because they are usually at a bigger and nicer track. I feel like the bigger places that I go, the better I throw. You just feel good and throw better.

“It is just a certain feeling you get when you’re at these meets. It’s just like, ‘Wow, I’m really here. I’m going to give it everything that I’ve got.’”

Ethan Price also had his best day yet of track, setting a personal best mark in all three of the events that he competed in. Price finished third in the high jump by clearing 5-foot-10, he took eighth place in the long jump with a distance of 38-07, and he also PRed in the javelin in his first time competing in the event.

Samuel Cowan also PRed in both of his events for the Warrior boys in both the 100 meter dash and the long jump.

Aaron Young had the highest places of the day for the Del Norte boys, taking fourth place in the 110 meter hurdles, fifth place in the 300 meter hurdles, and sixth place in the triple jump. Young’s only PR of the day came in the triple jump with a distance of 38-11.

Vova Sherman also managed to score some team points for Del Norte, placing sixth in both the 200 and 400 meter runs. Sherman’s time of 52.76 in the 400 was the best that he has ever run.

The Del Norte girls’ top performers other than Martinez were Kaleya Sanchez and Carolyn Cochran.

Sanchez ended up in second place in the triple jump with her best distance of the year — 33-04. Sanchez also set a new season record in the long jump with a mark of 15-07. Sanchez finished in fourth place in the high jump for the Warriors, and also PRed in the shot put with a throw of 29 feet in just her second time competing in the event.

Cochran was the Warriors’ third runner up at the Prefontaine meet. Cochran had her best throw of the season in the discus, where she ended up with a 103-02. Cochran’s best throw ever was a 106-09, which she achieved at the Prefontaine Invitational last year.

The Del Norte track and field team will now have a little bit of time off before its next meet, scheduled for April 25 in McKinleyville, for the last Humboldt-Del Norte meet of the regular season.

Martinez said the extra time between meets will hopefully allow the Warriors to push themselves a little more than usual before their next competition.

“We can just really go hard,” Martinez said. “You don’t want to be sore before a meet, so you are kind of taking two days off. With a long break I’m just going to try to build my endurance up, work on my form, and work on being consistent with my run up in pole vault.”

The extra practice time will also be a good chance for the Warriors to focus on their technique with postseason track meets coming up quickly.

“I get videos of my performances when I throw, so I am going to examine those a lot and just focus on the things I need to work on and just really crack down on them,” King said. “The little things that you work on just add the extra feet.”

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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