Neither the boys nor girls Del Norte track and field teams had enough depth to compete for team championships on Saturday at the Humboldt-Del Norte County Finals in Crescent City as the Del Norte girls finished in third place in the team tally, while the Warrior boys came in fourth.
Del Norte still had a handful of standout performances throughout the meet, however, highlighted by four athletes winning White Stars by taking first place in their event. The Warriors also saw 23 events finish in the top four at the White Star meet to grab an automatic qualifying spot in the North Coast Section Redwood Empire meet this weekend.
The Warriors also turned in a total of 17 personal records throughout the meet on Saturday.
The Del Norte boys finished the day with three White Star winners with Bryce Howard winning the pole vault, Luke King taking first in the shot put, and Ethan Price winning the high jump.
Caroline Hamm, who took first place in the discus, was the only White Star winner for the Warrior girls.
Howard’s jump of 12-feet tied his best jump of the season in the pole vault and allowed the senior to capture his second straight White Star in the event. His personal record of 12-07 was achieved at the NCS Meet of Champions last year.
King has taken first place in the shot put in every meet this season, with the exception of the Prefontaine Rotary Invitational. Although the junior was a heavy favorite to win the White Star, he also managed to beat his own pervious best throw by 10 inches to set a new PR of 48-06 in the event.
“I came in feeling pretty good. I’m not trying to sound arrogant, or whatever, but when I come to these meets I try to beat myself.,” King said. “That is the main goal — just to better myself. So I came in hoping to get around 48 or 49 feet and I came in at 48-06, which I am happy with. I’m just getting closer to my goal of 50 by the end of the year.”
King’s first place finish in the final league meet of the season earned him his second straight White Star in the event.
“It means a lot. I strive to be the best, so to win the White Star means a lot to me, just knowing that I’m the best one out there,” King said. “It is just kind of a payoff for all the hard work that I put in throughout the year.”
King’s PR of 48-06 also pushed him up into the top 10 rankings for the entire North Coast Section, where he currently has the ninth best throw so far this season. King has already qualified to advance to the Redwood Empire meet for the second year in a row.
“I’m pretty excited to go back,” King said. “I was pretty let down with myself after last year’s performance so I am hoping to go back, kind of redeem myself, and go to Berkeley this year. It would be my first time going to Berkely, if I make it there, so that is my main goal.”
As the ninth ranked shot put thrower in the NCS, if King can match his PR moving forward he would be in good position to qualify for the NCS Meet of Champions at Berkely.
Price had one of the best days overall of any of Del Norte’s athletes on Saturday. The Warrior senior matched his personal record in the high jump by clearing 6-0.
“I feel like I did really good today. I don’t know why, but this year I had a funk and I couldn’t clear 6-foot,” Price said. “But today I had to.”
Price had taken first place in the high jump in every league meet this season, with the winning jump in all of the regular season meets coming in at 5-08. Although Price went an extra four inches higher at the White Star meet it was just barely enough to edge out Fortuna’s Nathan Arrasmith, who also cleared 6-foot. Price managed to pull out the win by clearing 6-foot in fewer attempts.
“He forced me to have to actually go jump if I wanted to stay alive,” Price said. “So it motivated me to preform better.”
Price came close to clearing 6-02 in the competition on Saturday, and said he is confident he can reach that mark in the next meet to set a new PR.
In addition winning the high jump, Price also took second place in the discus with a throw of 123-03.5, which beat his previous PR by more than 9 feet.
“Coach (Tom) Cochran has really been helping me out a lot one-on-one, just making sure that my left leg is stiff,” Price said. “Usually I like to throw it like a football — which is not a good thing. I roll my shoulders over the top. He kind of got on me about it, showed me some videos during practice and showed me how to get better at it. Today it kind of came into perspective that I need to throw better if I want to stay alive.”
Price also finished in second place in the triple jump, where he came within half an inch of his season record with a jump of 39-05. Price’s PR in the triple jump is 40-05, and he said he was hoping to clear 40-foot. But he was OK with his performance in the White Star Meet.
“I’m excited about it, I did pretty well,” Price said. “It is a little difficult for me right now because I have shin splints, but that’s not an excuse.”
Price said he got a few helpful pointers from McKinleyville coach Jalen Lewis, which should help him out this weekend at the Redwood Empire Meet.
Hamm has been one of the top throwers in the league in the discus this season, taking first place twice and second place twice during the regular season. In the White Star Meet Hamm’s throw of 103-05 put her in first place by nearly 15 feet.
“I went into the meet feeling pretty good. I PRed in the shot put, so I was kind of coming off of that. It just felt different than other meets — I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” Hamm said. “I just did a good job of calming myself more than I have before, and I just went off of each throw.”
It was Hamm’s first White Star after she finished in third place as a freshman last year.
“As an underclassmen — a sophomore — to get one is pretty cool,” Hamm said. “It will be fun to see in the future what I can do next — what is my next goal?”
Hamm said one of the best parts of the day was competing in both the shot put and the discus in a finals field packed with Warrior teammates. Del Norte throwers made up five of the nine finalists in the shot put and four of the finalists in the discus.
“It was really cool to have all of us work together throughout the season and make it to our final end goal for our league season,” Hamm said. “Everyone is just super supportive of each other. It isn’t like any other sport. We are like a family.”
Caleh King also had an impressive day for the Warriors in the throwing events. The freshman set new PRs in both the discus and the shot put on Saturday while qualifying for the Redwood Empire meet in both events.
King threw 30-10 in the shot put, becoming the second Del Norte freshman girl to clear the 30-foot milestone so far this season. Amy West threw 30-04.5 back on April 10, but suffered a season ending injury shortly thereafter.
In the discus King also threw a PR of 81-08 to grab fourth place for the final automatic qualifying spot to Redwood Empire.
Senior Katherine Martinez was also able to advance to the Redwood Empire meet in all four of her events. Martinez took second place in the pole vault and the 100 meter hurdles, and came in fourth in the 300 meter hurdles.
Martinez was also part of the 4x100 meter relay team that moved on to Redwood Empire with a fourth place finish. Martinez was joined by Tianna Thompson, Aliyah Capon, and Alyssa McCovey on the Warrior’s relay team.
Thompson also qualified to move on to the NCS area meet with a second place finish in the 200 meter dash, and a third place finish in the 100. Thompson’s time of 13.34 seconds in the 100 was a new PR for the freshman sprinter.
Del Norte had three more girls qualify for the Redwood Empire meet with Maykalya Jackson taking fourth in both the triple jump and high jump, Claire Taylor finishing third in the long jump, and Teresa Martinez finishing fourth in pole vault.
The Warriors had a pair of senior boys qualify to move on in the 100 meter dash with Vova Sherman finishing third with a season-best time of 11.72 seconds. Sam Cowan’s time of 11.73 was a personal record, and put him in fourth place overall.
Sherman and Cowan teamed up with Emmanuel Nunez and Howard to take fourth place in the boys 4x100 meter relay. Nunez, Sherman and Howard also teamed up with Miguel Leon for a fourth place finish in the 4x400 meter realy.
Timothy Thompson will join Price in the discus at Redwood Empire after the junior took fourth place with his best throw of the season at 117-03.
The NCS Redwood Empire Meet is scheduled to take place on Saturday at Maria Carrillo High School in Santa Rosa. The top seven finishers in each event will move on to the NCS Meet of Champions, scheduled for May 17-18 at the University of California, Berkeley.
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .