By Ray Hamill — You know you’re doing something right when you’re setting a new standard for Arcata distance running.
On Wednesday, Arcata exchange student Thea Norlund set a school record in the 1,600 meters at the second H-DNL meet of the spring, timing a 5:11.74 to place first.
Norlund led the way on a dominating group of Arcata distance runners, with the team taking the top five places in each of the 800m, the 1,600m and the 3,200m.
And that was good enough to earn the Tigers top spot in the team competition with 168.5 points, with Del Norte (157) and Fortuna (109) rounding out the top three.
On the boys side, Eureka scored 142.5 points for first, with McKinleyville (134) in second and Del Norte (125.5) in third.
Arcata’s fab five
Freshman twins Mathilde and Anneli Macdonald took the top two spots, respectively, in the 800m, ahead of older sister Michaela in third, followed by teammates Emma Fechner and Claire Monge.
The three sisters and Monge followed Norlund home in the 1,600m, while Anneli Macdonald was first across the line in the 3,200m, once again leading a top-five Arcata charge.
“Our distance runners are amazing,” Arcata head coach James Washington said.
The Tigers were even missing arguably their best runner, Riley Martel-Phillips, who did not compete in Wednesday’s distance events.
Norlund picked up some of the slack.
“She ran really well in the mile,” Washington said of the record breaker, who won the race by an incredible 39 seconds. “She’s a hard worker, super hard, and she’s so efficient. It’s good when you have people like that on your team.”
She wasn’t the only standout performer of the day.
In the sprints, Eureka’s Tiana Rodgers took first in both the 100 and 200m, setting a new PR in the latter with a time of 27.72 seconds.
Del Norte’s Tianna Thompson was second in both events.
Fortuna junior Lexy Roberts placed first in the 400m with a season-best time of 1:04.05, with Eureka’s Ayana Watson placing second.
Another Del Norte standout Katherine Martinez placed first in two events, the 300m hurdles and the pole vault, jumping 10-06 in the latter, the same mark as Fortuna’s Camrin Dolcini in second.
That should be a rivalry worth keeping tabs on this spring.
Fortuna’s Katie Hurst placed first in both the high jump (4-10) and triple jump (34-11), while Del Norte sophomore Sierra Moayedi was first in the 110m hurdles (18.22).
Another sophomore, South Fork’s Jaylenne Harris, set a PR in the shot put with a toss of 29-07.5 for first place, while Del Norte’s Caroline Hamm was first in the discus with a 107-08, also a PR, and junior teammate Claire Taylor won the long jump with a PR of 15-04.
The Arcata girls also won both relay events.
While Washington knows his team is far superior in the running events, he feels he also has some talent at his disposal elsewhere, including Kaley Johnson, whom he is expecting big things out of in the triple jump this season
Likewise with sprinter Kayla Jay, who sat out some of her regular races on Wednesday.
“I really do think we have a chance to compete for league,” Washington said.
In the boys competition on Wednesday, Del Norte’s Ethan Price won both the triple jump and high jump, with Arcata’s Jasen McGoldrick season in both events.
Price had a season-best 38-07 in the triple jump.
His teammate Luke King continued to dominate in the shot put, placing first with a 41-06, ahead of McKinleyville’s Sage Watrous De Salinas in second, while Hoopa Valley’s Aiden Mendes took first in the discus (116-03).
Eureka’s Hunter Ethridge placed first in the long jump (17-11.50), while Del Norte’s Bryce Howard first in the pole vault (11-06).
McKinleyville’s Nathan Witte was a two-time winner, taking both hurdle events.
The sophomore standout set a PR in each, with a 16.17 seconds in the 110m and a 42.24 in the 300m.
Arcata’s Aidan Hasselquist was second in both.
McKinleyville’s Adam Vera placed first in the 3,200m (10:42.15), while Eureka’s Ian Bennett was first in the 1,600m (4:45.99).
Mack also enjoyed plenty of success in the 800m, taking the top three spots, led by West Wood, who set a PR with a 2:13.81, while teammate Owen Lien beat Ethridge for first place in the 400m.
In the 100m, Mack’s Stephen Watrous edged out Hoopa’s William Reynolds for first with a season best time of 11.82 seconds, while Reynolds took first in the 200m (24.05), holding off McKinleyville’s Ryan Dolan.
The next league meet will be held at Del Norte on Wednesday.