Del Norte Track and Field hosted the Humboldt-Del Norte League for their only home meet of the regular season on Wednesday and the Warriors fared well on their home track.
The Del Norte boys took first place in the team standings for the first time this year, outscoring second-place McKinleyville by 12 points with 147 team points.
The Warriors girls finished in second place overall in Crescent City with 148 team points, sandwiched between Fortuna with 170 and Arcata with 138.66 team points.
Although the Del Norte boys finished in first place as a team, the Warriors didn’t have as many individual first-place finishes as they have had in the past. Instead, Del Norte managed to tally points in nearly every event, including multiple athletes that scored in many events, to give them the top team score.
“I’m not going to say that I’m super surprised because we have a lot of really talented guys,” said junior Luke King. “I think part of it had to be the discus because we had four of the top six throwers, so I think that contributed to a lot of points. We also had a lot of throwers place well in the shot put. I think we are just all taking it a little more seriously and getting better as we go throughout the season. It is just paying off.”
Del Norte finished with three first-place finishes for the boys, led by a new personal record for Luke King in the shot put with a throw of 47-08. The throw added more than a foot to his previous personal best throw, and he has added more than three feet to that mark since the start of the season.
“My goal is to hit 50 feet by the end of the year and I have been working towards that progressively,” King said. “I’ve just been looking forward to track since the end of last year. Now we are back into it and starting to do well, so it has been super fun.
“Most of my improvement just comes from how much more seriously I’m taking it, I guess. I think I have a good shot of getting really good at it and maybe going somewhere to throw in college. So my main goal has been to just take it more seriously and really cracking down on the small stuff to get better overall.”
Ethan Price took first place in the high jump with a leap of 5-08, while also coming in second in the triple jump. Bryce Howard won the pole vault with a jump of 11-00.
Although the Warriors boys didn’t win the discus, Del Norte nearly cornered the market on team points in the event with third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth place finishes in the event.
The Del Norte boys have earned a lot of team points from its throwers this season.
“We started off the season with about 20 throwers and now we are down to about 16 good throwers that really want to work hard and compete well,” said Del Norte throwers coach Tom Cochran. “They put in a lot of effort to get to where they are right now, and they are going to get better. We have a few weeks left until the last meet, and they are going to keep getting better. They are doing well and their goals are still out there for them. They are getting PRs every week and just moving up.”
Del Norte also had four of the top seven high jumpers, three of the top six pole vaulters, and two of the top four triple jumpers.
“The field events are doing pretty good, we are holding our own,” Cochran said. “It’s not just the throwers either, you have the pole vault, the long jump, the triple jump and the high jump. Those events are pulling in a lot of points for us also. But the depth of the throwers really helps us — when you get a second, a fourth, a fifth and a sixth place finish we are doing pretty good.”
The Del Norte girls team also had three first-place finishes on Wednesday. Senior Katherine Martinez let the way for the Warriors with wins in the 100-meter hurdles (17.24 seconds) and the 300-meter hurdles (50.94).
Freshman Amy West took first place in the shot put with a new personal best throw of 30-04.50, beating her previous best throw by more than two feet.
“I just woke up in a good mood and I brought that back with me to the track meet,” West said. “I just had the determination to do well.”
It was the first time that West has taken first place in a high school meet.
“It felt really good,” West said. “I have never felt that before in a track meet since this is my first year for track at Del Norte.”
Although Wednesday’s home meet was the first time West has taken first place, it likely won’t be the last. Breaking the 30-foot barrier in shot put is rare for a freshman girl.
“She is now the No. 2 ranked freshman from San Fransisco North,” Cochran said. “That is just unheard of, especially around here — we don’t have that. Thirty feet is very respectable as a freshman. So she is doing really well.”
West said she is just hoping to continue to improve, with a new goal to reach 32 feet by the end of the season.
The Warrior girls also had a pair of runner up finishes on Wednesday. Tianna Thompson finished in second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.71. Claire Taylor finished second in the long jump with a new personal best jump of 15-05.
The Castle Rock track team was also back in action at Wednesday’s meet. The Sharks have just a three athletes, only two of which have competed in official meets yet this year.
“We have a small team this year, and we are trying to accommodate various needs of the participants on the team,” said Castle Rock head coach Jennifer Larson.
Solomon Vega took first place in the freshman-sophomore shot put competition with a new personal best throw of 27-06.
Billy Gambrell is also competing for the Castle Rock track and field team. He is the school’s first unified participant.
“CIF has teamed with the Special Olympics in several different sports. There is now a protocol with the unified participants in how they are allowed to compete and in what events,” Larson said. “So he is allowed to compete in the shot put, the 100-meter dash, and the long jump. He is having a great experience. He is partnered with Soloman, who has been very accommodating with all of the requirements for the unified experience. So that has been fun.”
Gambrell only competed in the shot put on Wednesday, where he also set a new personal record.
Del Norte is scheduled to be back in action today at the Prefontaine Invitational in Coos Bay, Oregon. The Warriors are planning to take seven boys and nine girls to the prestigious meet.
Castle Rock will be back on the track for its last meet of the season on Wednesday at College of the Redwoods for the final Humboldt-Del Norte League meet of the regular season.