Plenty of early-season excitement at Panther Relays


Ray Hamill/ – McKinleyville hosted the annual Panther Relays on Saturday, with many of the H-DNL schools on hand.

McKinleyville’s Adam Vera and Fortuna’s Collin Stockwell renewed their rivalry at the Panther Relays on Saturday.

The early-season meet was held at McKinleyville High, with many of the local standouts making an early statement of intent.

Including both Vera and Stockwell, who battled neck and neck for the H-DNL crown in crown country in the fall, and were the top two finishers in the 3,200 meters on Saturday.

Vera, a senior, took the win in a time of 10 minutes, 18.06 seconds, with Stockwell, a sophomore, second in a time of 10:25.80, a personal best.

McKinleyville’s Max Combs and Eryk Montgomery rounded out the top four, showcasing the Panthers depth in the event.

The McKinleyville boys won the team event with 221 points, comfortably ahead of Eureka, which was second with 185.5.

The Panthers dominated the relays, taking first in five of the six events, including the combo of Stephen Watrous, Owen Lien, Nathan Witte and Ryan Dolan, who won three of them, the 4×100, 4×200 and Swedish 100-200-300-400.

Eureka’s Ian Bennett, Dimitri Stefanakis, Will Barbee and Everardo Garcia-Zepeda combined to take first in the 4×800.

Del Norte’s Luke King won the shot put with a throw of 45-01, almost seven feet better than second-placed Sage Watrous De Salinas of McKinleyville.

Watrous De Salinas, however, took first in the discus with a throw of 122-04, while Eureka’s Nathaniel Spears won the long jump with a jump of 19-03.75, with Del Norte’s Ethan Price second.

Price fared better in the high jump, placing first with a 5-10 mark, two inches better than Arcata’s Jasen McGoldrick in second.

Del Norte was third in the team event with 159 points, with Fortuna (123.5) and Arcata (78) rounding out the top five.

Close battle for the girls

In the girls competition, Arcata edged out Fortuna by just four points (187-183) for the team win, with Eureka not too far back in third with 163.

Arcata took the top three places in the 3,200m, with junior Michaela Macdonald (12:43.34) edging out freshman teammate Anneli Macdonald (12:43.36) by just two one-hundredths of a second.

Claire Monge was third.

Arcata also won three of the six relay events, with Fortuna winning two and Eureka one.

Camrin Dolcini, who this week signed a letter of intent to compete in track and field for Chico State next year, was on both of Fortuna’s winning relay teams, as well as placing first in the long jump with a personal best mark of 16-09.50.

Del Norte’s Claire Taylor was second with a jump of 15-00.50.

Fortuna’s Katie Hurst got her senior campaign off to a winning start in the high jump (5-05), with sophomore teammate Saige Grundman (4-06) in second.

Del Norte took the top two spots in the discus, with Caroline Hamm placing first with a throw of 94-11, and Emily Cupp tossing a PR of 78-09.50 for second.

Fortuna took the top two spots in the shot put, with Kelli Ford (29-03.50) first and Alaya Abeyta (26-03.50) second.

Del Norte (119 points) and McKinleyville (87) rounded out the top five in the team competition.

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